The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140458   Message #3230050
Posted By: Howard Jones
27-Sep-11 - 02:03 PM
Thread Name: Tech: PAT testing
Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
Sorry, Spudsey, but if you are being paid to perform then so far as the law is concerned you are "at work". Why do you see this as an insult? Why is a part-time hobbyist any different from a full-time professional?

The law in rhis area is not over-officious. As has been pointed out several times, the PAT test is not a legal requirement. It is however a legal requirement that electrical equipment should be safe and should be regularly inspected, and a PAT certificate is a recognised means of proving that this has been done.

The issue is not meeting the band's Health and Safety obligations for its own equipment, but complying with a venue's own H&S policy. You need to understand how large organisations operate, in both the private and public sectors. It may be reasonable for an individual tradesman to rely on his own experience to keep safe, but a large organisation has many staff, not all of whom may be responsible, intelligent or experienced. They rely instead on written policies and procedures. By having systems in place they can not only manage the risks better, but if someone fails to comply and then gets injured it gives the organisation a better case for avoiding liability.

An organisation's policy for portable electrical equipment will cover all types of equipment, not just a band's PA. It is not reasonable to expect a caretaker or bar manager to be able to identify an assortment of black boxes and other gear, understand what they do and what risks they may present and decide which items should be tested and which should not. There's no point in arguing with such a person, because even if they have the expertise to make that judgement they almost certainly will not have the authority to deviate from the policy.

In practice, in my experience, this is simply a clerical exercise carried out long before the gig, and I have never known any gear to be checked at the time of a performance. However if something were to go wrong then you would have to explain why certain bits of kit had not been tested - and if testing a mic or cable would serve no purpose, then that would be the opportunity to explain it.

If you only ever play gigs in your own venue then you might be able to get away without PAT tests, but you would nevertheless have to carry out appropriate checks and in the event of an accident you might have to demonstrate to the HSE that your checking and maintenance regime was adequate. However if you play in venues belonging to someone else, especially local authorities and large hotel chains, you can expect to be asked to prove to them that you have the necessary systems in place. If you don't like it, don't take the gig.