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Tech: PAT testing

GUEST,Dave (Bridge) 25 Sep 11 - 04:19 AM
Will Fly 25 Sep 11 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Woodsie 25 Sep 11 - 05:33 AM
Jack's Rake 25 Sep 11 - 05:53 AM
Jack's Rake 25 Sep 11 - 05:56 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 25 Sep 11 - 06:10 AM
stallion 25 Sep 11 - 06:17 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 25 Sep 11 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 25 Sep 11 - 06:25 AM
Peter C 25 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM
stallion 25 Sep 11 - 06:33 AM
stallion 25 Sep 11 - 06:37 AM
treewind 25 Sep 11 - 07:36 AM
Dave Hunt 25 Sep 11 - 08:37 AM
Yvonne 25 Sep 11 - 09:30 AM
Jack's Rake 25 Sep 11 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 25 Sep 11 - 10:13 AM
Dennis the Elder 25 Sep 11 - 11:03 AM
Bernard 25 Sep 11 - 01:09 PM
Raggytash 25 Sep 11 - 01:19 PM
Howard Jones 25 Sep 11 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,spudsey 25 Sep 11 - 01:47 PM
Yvonne 25 Sep 11 - 02:23 PM
selby 25 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,The stage tech. 25 Sep 11 - 03:35 PM
Nigel Parsons 25 Sep 11 - 04:20 PM
GUEST 25 Sep 11 - 06:11 PM
Bernard 25 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM
jonm 26 Sep 11 - 03:15 AM
Howard Jones 26 Sep 11 - 05:18 AM
Yvonne 26 Sep 11 - 05:22 AM
Jack's Rake 26 Sep 11 - 05:33 AM
oggie 26 Sep 11 - 05:47 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Sep 11 - 06:10 AM
Bernard 26 Sep 11 - 06:40 AM
Howard Jones 26 Sep 11 - 06:48 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Sep 11 - 09:51 AM
Howard Jones 26 Sep 11 - 10:34 AM
Bernard 26 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM
Howard Jones 26 Sep 11 - 12:13 PM
Peter C 26 Sep 11 - 12:40 PM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 11 - 04:58 AM
treewind 27 Sep 11 - 05:07 AM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 11 - 08:22 AM
GUEST,spudsey 27 Sep 11 - 09:22 AM
GUEST,spudsey 27 Sep 11 - 09:28 AM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 11 - 09:42 AM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 11 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,spudsey 27 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,top cat 27 Sep 11 - 03:09 PM
oggie 27 Sep 11 - 05:52 PM
bruceCMR 27 Sep 11 - 06:07 PM
Bernard 27 Sep 11 - 07:11 PM
Howard Jones 27 Sep 11 - 07:12 PM
Will Fly 28 Sep 11 - 04:13 AM
GUEST,spudsey 28 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM
Will Fly 28 Sep 11 - 09:54 AM
GUEST,spudsey 28 Sep 11 - 10:25 AM
Will Fly 28 Sep 11 - 10:31 AM
Bernard 28 Sep 11 - 01:15 PM
Howard Jones 28 Sep 11 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,John J notaguest 28 Sep 11 - 02:40 PM
John J 28 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM
Bonzo3legs 28 Sep 11 - 04:28 PM
Bernard 29 Sep 11 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,The Stage Tech 29 Sep 11 - 09:01 AM
stallion 29 Sep 11 - 04:47 PM
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Subject: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,Dave (Bridge)
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 04:19 AM

What are the legal requirements for PAT testing in the UK? I have been asked a number of times to provide proof of testing and also been told many times that the responsibility falls upon the venue if they require it as PAT test is only valid at the time of testing similar to a MOT


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 04:32 AM

The venue, if it cares at all, usually asks the performer for proof of PAT test of equipment. All our band stuff was done by a certified tester.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,Woodsie
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:33 AM

As far as I am know PAT testing is a voluntary thing and can be carried out by any competant person. It comes under the Health and Safety at Work umrella of rules, acts, laws etc. Basically it is the resposibllity of both employer and employee to ensure that electrical equipment is maintained at a safe level. Electricians use this as an excuse to extort huge sums of money out of businesses/individuals. The intitute of electrical engineers charge £30 for a paperback pamphlet "Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment" You can stick a sticker on the appliance that says that it has been taested on whatever date and by who. I suppose if you are doing a gig the person who pays you is the employer. If you show him/her your sticker and then get electrocuted ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:53 AM

I've been trying to get to the bottom of this recently because, for the first time ever, a venue at which we played - a barn at a farm - insisted our equipment was PAT tested. We've just bought a PA from a fairly well known band, one of whose fathers posts on here, who had had it tested in 2008. The school at which I work has all the equipment tested annually but I do not know if this is a legal requirement or just LEA (or whatever we now call it) policy.

In the time I spent searching I was unable to find a definitive answer. The most common opinions where that it was completely optional, it had to be done annually, it had to be done every three years and as long as you've had it done once it's ok. Eventually I got bored and looked for an electrician on the Sheffield Forum. Found one ... did it the next day at my house ... 25 quid.

Sorry that none of that helps but, to get to the crux of the matter, if a venue insists your stuff is tested then you'll have to have it done.

Annoyingly, since PAT testing is simply a confirmation that the Earth connection works, anone with a multitester and a screwdriver could do it for themself. Sadly - the world don't work that way.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 05:56 AM

Bah, no edit facility. "anone" = "anyone", of course.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:10 AM

Since 1980 it has been a legal requirement that if you are an employer with people working for you who uses or has access to electrical equipment owned by you you must have proof that it is reguarly inspected and is safe to use. PAT testing and the associated papperwork is one way of proving this.

I am constantly dismayed that so fiew employers are aware of this.

If you are self-employed you are your own employer so this law also involves you.

PAT testing could be looked on as "voluntary" but if your plug-in appliances are unsafe when in use and someone is injured, the law and any involved insurance companies will rather unkindly on you.

PAT tests or Portable Appliance Testing tests cover any appliances that plug into a socket of any voltage, including extention cables, plug adaptors, power supplies for laptops, amps, and lighting rigs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: stallion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:17 AM

PAT testing, Falls under the Electricity at Work Regulations, employers have a duty of care to to ensure that equipment used buy employees are fit for purpose and will not cause death or injury through shock or fire. These regulations are a legal document and enforcible in law, BS7671 (Formerly the IEE regulations are a guide and not legally enforcible however may be referred to in a court of law as "best practice"
Appliances for domestic use are not required to be tested unless care workers or houshold servants are employed in the domestic household. Tennanted properties are usually required, by the local authority, to have their equipment PAT tested.
In so far as bands are concerned the equipment they use should be similiar to that of building sites, that everytime the equipment is used it should be visually inspected for mechanical damage (cracked casing, worn or damaged leads or plugs) Inspected by a "competant person" after each repair or a set period of time, usually annually, however that time period is set by the inspector. I have site inspection sheets which, if maintained, ie filled in every time the equipment is used, then this serves as proof of on going regular maintenance and inspection is being carried out (similiar to that of ladders, steps, scaffolding and leads) then it would be fair to say that a bi-annual test may be sufficient. At the end of the day it is down to the paymaster to dictate terms!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:22 AM

"Annoyingly, since PAT testing is simply a confirmation that the Earth connection works, anone with a multitester and a screwdriver could do it for themself."

Testing the condition of the earth connections is only one of the tests,also covered are, polarity, type and size of plug top fuses, type and condition of plugtops and conectors, size and condition cables and appliances. Oh and multytesters won't do the all the tests required.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:25 AM

Building sites require testing every three months.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Peter C
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM

The requirement is testing 'regularly' this is not defined in the regs. Our PA kit is tested by a friendly local electrician every couple of years or so, takes him about 10 minutes (actually longer to put the stickers on and do the paperwork than connecting up the machine!)


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: stallion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:33 AM

Oh, I have these forms should anyone want some, laminate and tie wrap to the lead and fill in date and sign whenever one carries out the visual inspection, when full up remove and file and put a new one on. On most equipment what is looked for is the earthing and the efficacy of the insulation a multi meter isn't good enough and PAT testing machines are about de-skilling the job and not required if you know what you are about. However one can get a one day course on how to PAT test rent the machine and DIY which is more expensive than £25. Would there be a demand for PAT testing at festivals?
So using a calibrated, low reading ohm meter the resistance between the earth pin of the plug and the exposed metal parts of appliance (for class 1 equipment) should be 0.5 ohms or less, Using the meter on the High ohms scale The insulation resitance between the two line conductors (L & N pins) to earth should be greater than 20 megOhms. On class 2 equipment (double insulated) the High ohms range should be used for the first test and a reading greater than 20meg ohms is a pass. On sensative equipment please use the 240volt range cos 500volt range may fry your equipment
Peter


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: stallion
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:37 AM

point taken about polarity and fuse size, like everything else I do it so often it is part of a process i do without thinking!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: treewind
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 07:36 AM

"a venue at which we played - a barn at a farm - insisted our equipment was PAT tested"

That's a good candidate for putting the boot on the other foot and requiring that the venue is providing a safe supply of electricity.
We've played in some terrible barns...

Most of what's been posted above makes sense. There is no hard-and-fast set of rules. Ultimately, it's down to common sense and appropriate testing methods and test intervals for the type of equipment and the way it is being used, and having it done by a "competent person". Visual checking of plugs and wires is an important part, so is knowing and understanding what you are doing.

You don't have to have a piece of paper saying you are qualified, or any kind of official certificate, but it is possible to encounter venue jobsworths who make their own rules. In those cases some kind of documentation helps, and annual testing seems to me a reasonable period - certainly one such insisted on a test within the last year.

I actually bought a Seaward PAC500 which is a simple insulation and earth continuity tester, and I test and label our PA kit once a year. I have a printed document stating what tests are done, which I can show to anyone who asks. If anyone asks if I'm qualified, I'll ask them if a degree in engineering and Electrical Sciences at Cambridge University counts...

You can buy printed test labels, though I think I'll print my own next time. I won't be breaking any laws.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 08:37 AM

'You can buy printed test labels, though I think I'll print my own next time. I won't be breaking any laws'

From above - where can you buy printed labels??


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Yvonne
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 09:30 AM

Treewind makes a very good point.

As the legislation also falls under the consumer act and a band would be classed as consumers of the electricity in a venue, then the venue should also be able to produce an Electrical Installation Safety Certificate to ensure that their sockets and wiring are safe for use by anyone using their sockets. (yes..it is all insane..but law)

The law says the testing can be done by a 'competent person'. However, I suspect that should anyone be killed by faulty equipment the law would argue that the only way to prove the person testing was 'competent' is for them to have been a fully qualified electrician.

Will Fly has it right. Get it tested by a certified Pat tester. No use crying over £50 or so!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 10:08 AM

From: GUEST,Auldtimer - PM
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:22 AM

"Testing the condition of the earth connections is only one of the tests,also covered are, polarity, type and size of plug top fuses, type and condition of plugtops and conectors, size and condition cables and appliances. Oh and multytesters won't do the all the tests required. "

Ok, I stand corrected. What I should have said was a multitester, a screwdriver and one or two fully functioning eyes.

Soz.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 10:13 AM

Dave - try RS components
or Farnell and search for "Electrical safety labels"


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Dennis the Elder
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 11:03 AM

As a person who has been known to instigate prosecutions for H&S contraventions, the information given by the majority of those above is magnificent.
The people at the venue have the right to ask you to prove your equipment is sound and safe to the user and those who could be affected by it.
PAT is one way of helping to illustrate this.
I have come across rogue labels in the past at functions and have insisted that the equipment is either tested before use by a competent person or not used at all. THis can be devastating for the performer if this cannot be done, don't risk it.
In theory a "competent person" is better than a "Qualified Electrician" as there are incompetent electricians about. A competent person who is also a qualified electrician would be beneficial, however it is possible to be trained to use the PA Tester without being a qualified electrician.
To reiterate, get it tested by someone competent, as accidents do happen with faulty equipment. Also remember that even if the equipment has been tested it still can become dangerous and needs careful handling. Magic wands are not an option.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:09 PM

As Dennis says, 'it is possible to be trained to use the PA Tester without being a qualified electrician' - I'm one such person. We have a Seaward SuperNova+ at work, and we were given a one day course by Cuthbertson Laird.

It should be noted that an important part of any test is the visual inspection, and such an inspection should always be carried out before using any equipment, irrespective of whether an official Portable Appliance Test is required or not. For example, does the mains lead show signs of chafing that the electrical test may not identify? The MkI eyeball is a vital test instrument!

Common sense is the name of the game, and official test procedures are there to ensure that people are obliged to exercise common sense whether they want to or not!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Raggytash
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:19 PM

If anyone would care to go on the Health and Safety Executive website and search for Portable Appliance Testing they will find a poster that HSE themselves produce that states categorically that it is a myth that PAT is a legislative requirement. It does state that an employer is required to carry out Risk Assessments and take appropriate actions. After many years of working in Facilities Management and numerous "discussions" with companies that provide PAT and Insurance reps who insisted that it was law to have such testing I have lost count of the hours I've wasted on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:38 PM

Raggytash is right, the PAT test itself is not a legal requirement. However it is a recognised means of proving that the equipment has been checked. A band going into a venue to play will have to comply with that organisation's health and safety policy, which will usually require evidence of a PAT test (and sometimes risk assessments and work method statements too). Whether or not these are legal requirements is beside the point - the venue is entitled to set its own safety standards, and I can guarantee you won't get anywhere trying to argue the toss with some jobsworth (who prbably won't have the authority to deviate from the policy) half-an-hour before the gig is supposed to start. Getting the equipment PAT tested is fairly cheap, ticks the appropriate boxes and everyone is happy,


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:47 PM

so is PAT testing a lucrative racket ?

How's it any safer in practical terms than a gig bag of brand new kettle leads and spare 9v guitar FX power supplies
with, if absolutely neccesary, receipts taped to the boxes ???


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Yvonne
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 02:23 PM

Speaking as someone who has worked in the residential letting market for many years and organised many installation and portable appliance tests and attended many seminars/training courses on the relevant legislation, there is one thing I can ABSOLUTELY confirm..... it is VERY lucrative.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: selby
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM

I work in the power industry as an Electrician I sometimes work on and test at 11,000 volts. I am not trained to be a PAT tester therefore I cannot say a 240volt extension is safe.
Strange but true
Keith


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,The stage tech.
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 03:35 PM

So what is the worst case scenario?

if an electrical fault causes an accident, and H & S gets involved, you are going to have to prove that you "took all reasonable precautions" to prevent this accident from happening. Incidentally some consultants working in the field take the view that there is no such thing as an 'accident' only failures in competence. Consider this as a good starting point.

Valid PAT records are a first step in proving that you habitually take all reasonable steps to ensure electrical safety and have the necessary management systems in place to prevent accidents. However, this may not be the end of the story.

If injury or damage to property occurs as a result of an electrical fault in your equipment, and it ends up in court, you can find yourself in the position of having to prove to the court against the questioning of some pretty slick lawyers that you took all reasonable precautions to ensure your equipment was correctly maintained, serviced and used according to the manufacturer's instructions and was, on the occasion in question, installed and checked by a competent person before being switched on.


You may feel PAT testing is expensive, but it can turn out to be a whole load more expensive if you fail to have it done by a person or organisation that a court would reasonably consider as competent.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 04:20 PM

From a pedant's point of view, "PAT testing" includes a redundancy.
Just like PIN number & ATM machine.

It is a good example of RAS syndrome.


RAS syndrome = redundant acronym syndrome syndrome!

Cheers

Nigel


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:11 PM

Hiya Stage Tech.

I don't think anybody on this thread has suggested it is expensive - just questioned the need for it and, in my case, expressed mild (very mild, mind) annoyance at the fact that I, like others on the thread, am more than capable, largely due to my education and day job, of carrying out the tests myself yet still need to jump through the hoop.

In my case, an afternoon on 't internet and 25 quid split between 8 of us is a small price to pay to shut the mouths of people who may get excited about such things.

Also; I should point out that the scenario you suggest would be covered by our public liability insurance. The PAT (point taken, Nigel) is simply to prevent us having pointless arguments with venue owners.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM

We live in a litigation-led society these days, so, whilst PAT is not a legal requirement, insurance companies use it as a get-out-clause.

Basically, it's all down to having someone to blame when things go wrong.

Common sense is no longer considered to be adequate...!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: jonm
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 03:15 AM

Where I work, any equipment less than a year old does not require testing. Out of term time, we get requests to remove all equipment needing testing from cupboards a room at a time. I sometimes add bits of PA kit to the piles in labs and take them home at the end of the day with stickers on!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:18 AM

I know it is fashionable to deride the wilder excesses of elf and safety, but ultimately it is about protecting people from injury or death. Those of us with day jobs quite rightly expect our employers to take proper precautions to protect us while we're at work. It is easy to forget when we indulge in our "paying hobby" that we are at work as well, and the venue is a workplace, not just for us but for the venue's regular staff (not to mention the safety of the public).

Managing safety, like managing anything else, is not just about doing what needs to be done but having systems to ensure that you keep doing it and can demonstrate that it has been done. PAT testing is the recognised way of doing this for portable electrical equipment. This means that someone at the venue, who may not have the qualifications to judge electrical safety themselves, can be satisfied that the proper checks have been made.

If you think you can demonstrate this in other ways you may meet the legal requirements but it won't help when you are booked to play in a venue with a health and safety policy which demands a current PAT certificate.

A band is a small business and you have to run it in a professional and business-like manner, just as you'd expect an office or factory to be run. That means not only complying with legislation abut also recognised good practice. PAT testing shouldn't be viewed as an annoying chore but as part of the good management systems required to run a business successfully.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Yvonne
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:22 AM

Stage Tech and Bernard are completely right.

Doubt PLI would cover you for what a court would consider negligence..or lack of 'due care and diligence'. It is also highly unlikely that a court would accept ' a competent person' if he/she did not have the correct qualifications or be a member of a recognised body.

It is a lucrative industry for the guys doing hundreds of them in a day but a small price for an individual to pay to cover his butt!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Jack's Rake
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:33 AM

Oops ... That "Guest" three posts above was me. Don't know what happened there.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: oggie
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 05:47 AM

I have once seen the worst case scenario from faulty equipment (a fuse had been replaced by a nail as it kept on blowing), a singer electrocuted on stage, not nice.

Yes PAT testing is a pain but like so many things (like filling in PRS returns) it's a hurdle that has (and in my opinion) should be vaulted.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:10 AM

Not expensive?

I know of a band (electric) that turned down a gig at a venue in which the local authority had a hand.

What would have needed PAT stickers (or the band was not allowed on stage) - NB the LA insisted on PAT tests on stuff that was NOT carrying mains if it was directly or indirectly connected to anything tuat did carry mains - ?

Hmm: -

Mixing Desk
Power Lead
Extension Lead
Splitter box
15 mics
15 mic leads
3 guitars
3 guitar leads
1 DI box
Power Lead
Extension Lead
5 guitar FX pedals
5 guitar FX power supplies
3 patch leads
2 multicore terminators (break-out and break-in)
2 multicore leads
Another Extension lead
Another splitter board
3 kettle leads
2 power amps
Active X-over
4 speaker leads
4 PA speakers
Another Extension lead
Another splitter board
Foldback amp
4 speaker leads
4 foldback speakers
6 more patch leads for stuff to do with foldback
Kettle lead for graphic
Graphic
Kettle lead for mixer FX
FX unit
4 more patch leads for graphic
Headphone amp
Headphones
Working light

That's 104 PAT tests (many of them wholly unnecessary) - at £25 each which I make £2,600.

Not expensive?


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:40 AM

Twenty five quid a test? Sheesh! We only charge around £1.50!!

Speaker leads do not require testing, they are classed as low voltage - unless you mean mains leads for self-powered speakers... your FX pedals do not require testing, but if there's a mains PSU for them, that does.

Only devices/leads connected directly to the mains supply require testing - if, for example, a mixer has an outboard PSU, only the PSU and not the mixer requires testing. If the mixer's PSU is internal connected via an IEC (kettle!) lead, both mixer and IEC need testing separately.

Please note... a kettle lead and an IEC lead are not necessarily the same thing - a standard IEC will not plug into a kettle, though the kettle lead (which has a 'notch' in it) will plug safely into a standard IEC inlet. Kettle IECs are specifically designed for hot/wet conditions.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:48 AM

There's no way a PAT test should cost £25 per item - a quick google for between 100-150 items shows prices of around £1.50 + VAT per item.   

As for "unnecessary", if an item is connected to something running off the mains and is carrying a current, then it should arguably be tested. I can certainly understand a local authority erring on the side of caution and demanding that everything is tested - it's easy enough to check whether everything has been PAT tested rather than the caretaker having to make a decision on the night (which he's probably not qualified to take) on whether indivdual items should have a certificate or not.

Besides, the band should be checking this stuff anyway, not just because a venue has demanded to see the paperwork.

Richard, I'm sure that in your solicitor's practice you make sure that all the electrical equipment is tested at appropriate intervals. Why should a band be any different, especially as the risk is possibly higher?


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 09:51 AM

I'm sure (ish) that that was the price at the time - but even at £1.50 an item it's a stupid total, and the requirement to test mics and mic leads and signal patch leads is also stupid.

Yes, I don't use PA leads for kettles, but everybody and their dog calls them kettle leads.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 10:34 AM

I don't agree that £1.50 an item is excessive, especially if it's split between band members and will last for at least a year and possibly more. It's just one of the overheads you have to allow for when running a business, along with third party insurance and tax.

As for mics and leads, surely there are enough stories of musicians being zapped on stage to suggest that if something goes wrong these can carry more than enough current to be a hazard.

From a venue's point of view, they want to satisfy themselves that any contractor on their premises, whether that's a builder or a band, is using equipment which is safe. They can't expect the caretaker or whoever is on duty to be able to identify all the bits of kit and know which ones might be a hazard and which ones aren't. The simplest way around this is to ask for a PAT test on everything which is going to be connected, directly or indirectly, to the mains.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 11:25 AM

"As for mics and leads, surely there are enough stories of musicians being zapped on stage to suggest that if something goes wrong these can carry more than enough current to be a hazard."

Well, yes... but that would happen whether faulty or not - the killer is the faulty piece of mains equipment to which they are connected - or, more accurately, the TWO pieces of mains equipment between which the performer becomes a human capacitor. The ground on a mic/cable is only as good as the equipment to which it has been connected!

Low voltage equipment does NOT require a test, only equipment with a mains connector.

It is arguable that if the venue hasn't got a competent person on duty, they should keep their doors locked!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 12:13 PM

Bernard, are you suggesting that every venue should have a qualified electrician on duty at every gig, no matter how small, in order to decide which pieces of kit need a PAT certificate and which don't? That would be pointless and unnecessary, and would probably kill most folk gigs stone dead.

In practice, it is unusual in my experience for these things to be checked on the night. Usually you have to send the venue a copy of your PAT and insurance certificates in advacen, and perhaps a risk assessment and method statement, they tick the appropriate boxes and go away happy.

The guidance notes to the regulations don't specify a minimum voltage at which something may be considered dangerous and therefore need to be tested. On the contrary, they say that "it is appropriate for the Regulations to apply even at the very lowest end of the voltage or power spectrum because the Regulations are concerned with for example explosion risks which may be caused by very low levels of energy igniting flammable gases even though there may be no risk of electric shock or burn. Therefore no voltage limits appear in the Regulations. The criteria of application is the test as to whether 'danger' (as defined) may arise."

The guidance notes do however say that any conductor connected to an electrical system becomes part of that system, and the Regulations apply. That would suggest that mics and leads are part of the system, and should be tested - whether that test proves anything useful is perhaps a different matter!

Ultimately, it is up to the responsible person to decide what needs to be tested and how often. However the venue may impose whatever conditions it likes, however unreasonable they may appear, and it's up to the band whether to accept these or turn down the gig.

Like all regulations, these can be applied unthinkingly and excessively, but I don't see it as a significant issue for a band to comply. If you're putting yourself forward as a professional outfit, even if it's only at weekends, then you should be prepared to behave professionally in all aspects - this is just one of them.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Peter C
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 12:40 PM

This very day, our band was offered a wedding gig on condition that (a) we had PLI, and (b) that our equipment was PAT tested, with copies of certificates to be sent to the venue (an hotel, part of a large chain)before the gig could be confirmed!
Good job we are legal!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 04:58 AM

Peter C, I think you'll find that the hotel chain will apply the same policy to anyone coming onto their premises to work - not just entertainers, but builders, plumbers, electricians etc. Most organisations take Health & Safety extremely seriously, and the larger the organisation the more likely you are to find they go beyond doing the bare minimum to stay legal. They set high standards for themselves and their own staff, and expect external contractors coming onto their premises to meet those standards, and show they can do so by providing certificates, method statements etc.

There seems to be a feeling among some folk bands that because (for most of us) it's a paying hobby rather than a "real job" that somehow we're excused from acting in a professional and business-like manner. We're not.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: treewind
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 05:07 AM

"the LA insisted on PAT tests on stuff that was NOT carrying mains if it was directly or indirectly connected to anything that did carry mains"

How incompetent of the person who made up those rules.
It's not even possible to test a microphone, speaker or cable for electrical safety, so any sticker on such equipment would prove that at least some of the stickers were telling lies. If I saw that, I wouldn't know if I could trust the others.

Howard: a mic and cable in absolutely perfect and safe condition will kill you if you plug it into a faulty mixer with a live chassis. It's not the mic or cable's fault - conducting electricity is its job.

PeterC: Good job we are legal!
Not so much legal, just in compliance with a particular venue's own set of rules.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 08:22 AM

What you have to bear in mind is that the rules would have been intended to cover all electrical items, not just audio equipment. Whilst it may be pointless to test mics and cables, the same may not apply to other pieces of equipment used for entirely different purposes.

It is necessary to distinguish between legal obligations for electrical safety and the venue's own policies. Under the former, it is necessary to check and test electrical equipment - a PAT test is not a legal necessity but it is evidence that this has been done.

In recording studio or an auditorium with a fixed PA it would be entirely reasonable for someone who knows and understand the equipment and potential risks to decide that mics and cables don't need to be tested.

A venue, however, has to have a general policy which can be applied to anyone bringing electrical equipment of any kind onto its premises. This needs to be something which can be applied simply and easily and which can be done by someone with no electrical training - it then becomes simply a clerical exercise requiring no technical knowledge or judgement. Demanding PAT tests on everything may be pointless but meets these objectives.

The alternative might be that a venue would demand that the equipment be checked by its own electrician. I think this would generate far more complaints.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 09:22 AM

"The alternative might be that a venue would demand that the equipment be checked by its own electrician. I think this would generate far more complaints."


or leave it to the responsibility, intelligence and experience of musicians to maintain their own electric music gear
to their own highest standards for working reliability
and their own safety ????

that's kept me alive for several decades.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 09:28 AM

ps, does the USA also impose similar over-officious bureaucratic restrictions & expense
on amateur and hobbyist bands & solo artists ?

As much as some here insist, we are not all 'businesses'
or even welcome being called such an insult.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 09:42 AM

Yes, but it's not just about your own safety, but the safety of the venue's own employees, and the public. The venue has a legal duty to protect their health and safety too.

As I keep saying, it's not just about bands, it applies to anyone coming onto an organisation's premises to do work. All well-run organisations will have a health and safety policy, and they will apply that to anyone coming onto their premises. Why should they assume that you are responsible, intelligent and experienced, let alone have the appropriate technical competence? The best way to demonstrate these qualities is by being ready to comply with normal and reasonable requirements, just as any other business would.

In the real world, contracting companies with years of experience and global reputations are neither surprised nor offended when a client asks to see their health and safety policies, working method statements, public liability insurance and PAT test certificates. It is recognised as good practice and in the interests of promoting an attitude where safety comes first. Why should a band be excused?


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 02:03 PM

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.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM

WE are not seeking the likes of agency work on the corporate hospitality social wedding events etc circuit;
or even regular weekend social club covers band work.

I'm talking about in my Band's individual case -

entirely 'UNPAID' fundraising benefit/charity/community arts gigs

played on an irregular basis as and when we get a call to gather together
to perform for whatever local 'needy' cause requires a reliable decent night's entertainment.

We rarely even expect travel expenses, as we are a bunch of more or less retired old mates
who had a good college gig circuit band back in the 70's,
and now just enjoy putting on a good show to help out political events we are sympathetic with.

We are always well out of pocket after such events, certainly no expectation of doing it for any financial gain.

I'd say just about every town in the UK has at least one similar experienced
'amateur' non-profit motivated band gigging simply for the social fun of it;
and paying for the upkeep and purchase of new equipment
out of their meagre savings and pensions.

So far we have been lucky and not asked for PAT paperwork.
But the expense and effort of having to undergo annual testing & certification for all our gigging gear
would more or less end us and kill off all enthusiasm to meet up for a hand full of performances per year.

Yes there is a real need for some kind of intelligent 'exemption' provision
for all the bands like us.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,top cat
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 03:09 PM

Yes, don't use any electrical equipment. Go accoustic.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: oggie
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 05:52 PM

If your equipment is under a year old then you don't need usually need the PAT test but must be able to show the receipt/invoice for that piece of equipment.

Over the years I have seen so many dodgy cables, plugs and fuses on group equipment that if I were running an event I would want to see test certificates as well! I also think that as soon as exceptions are made for enthusiastic local bands just doing it for fun then someone else will use that to run a coach and horses through it.

As a market and event trader I just take it as read that in March every year all my lights and equipment get PAT tested. It's just another cost and at least I can right it off as an expense.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: bruceCMR
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 06:07 PM

> Where I work, any equipment less than a year old does not require testing.

A common practice, and probably the daftest one in this whole PAT circus. As part of my "day job" I am responsible for commissioning the testing of over 10,000 items regularly.

Very few items fail. The majority of items that fail would have failed "out of the box" - the fault was a manufacturing defect, not a fault that was introduced during use.

If you're treating PAT seriously, rather than just a box-ticking exercise, then testing of new items is pretty much essential.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 07:11 PM

Quite so - and not just at the cheaper end of the market, either.

We always test new equipment before it is put into service - and it's surprising how often poorly thought out packaging causes damage.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 27 Sep 11 - 07:12 PM

Spudsey, the situation you describe throws up an interesting anomaly. The regulations apply to the use of electrical equipment at work, so if you are performing on a truly amateur, unpaid basis then it could be argued that you are not "at work" and therefore don't need PAT tests. I'm not a lawyer, and you'd have to get a qualified opinion on that.

Nevertheless, a venue may still want to know that electrical equipment brought onto their premises is safe, so you may well be asked for it. From the venue's point of view, the safety issue exists regardless of whether the event is for a "good cause". However, as you've found, there are plenty of venues which take a more relaxed view.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 04:13 AM

The ceilidh band that I play in does a range of gigs, from high-end, well-paid gigs to freebies for charity. What cuts across it all is this one fact:

The venue may ask us to produce evidence of PAT testing and can refuse permission to play if we don't have it. Simple, eh?

No argument - whether it's "work" or "fun" or whatever, the venue has its rules. If we want to play there, we observe them. So it's worth getting it done. Quite apart from that, we make every effort to make sure our gear is safe. PAT testing is an offshoot of that - and just another part of being in an organised band.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM

So let's get this right -

For business oriented busy working pro commercial bands earning comfortably over a certain threshold
the annual cost burden of PAT testing is entirely Tax Deductible ????


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 09:54 AM

I wouldn't know, spudsey - it's been a long time since I've been in a "business oriented busy working pro commercial bands earning comfortably over a certain threshold"! But when I was, all sorts of things were tax-deductible - petrol for gigs and rehearsals, car servicing, equipment maintenance (no PAT testing in those days, though), dress cleaning, strings, telephone calls, etc.

If you go to play at a gig for no fee - unless you're whisked there by an ethereal transporter and all your gear is provided - then you're playing at a loss in any case!

All I'm saying is that you have a choice - if you don't want the costs and inconvenience of PAT tests, then don't incur them by all means - and choose venues which don't ask for such things. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,spudsey
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 10:25 AM

sigh... call us old naive idealistic hippies

but there's plenty enough of us who grew up playing in the halcyon days of musicians co-ops and collectives and free festivals
and remember the music trade paper ads mantra "Band members wanted - no bread heads" !!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 10:31 AM

When I played in a jug band at the Redan pub in London in the late '60s, we each got £2 and a free pint.

them were't days...


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 01:15 PM

Yup - and in today's money that would be around £100.00 apiece...!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Howard Jones
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:32 PM

"working over a certain threshold" doesn't come into it. If you're being payed to play music, then you must declare it for tax. Since most ceilidh band musicians either have day jobs or a pension, the chances are your income from that will bring you over the tax threshold, in which case anything you may earn from music will be taxable at your marginal rate. On the other hand you can offset your expenses - including the cost of PAT testing - so you may end up not having to pay any tax on your income from music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,John J notaguest
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:40 PM

PAT Testing is a legitimate business expense and as such comes off the profit the band generates.

Less profit = less tax payable.

JJ


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: John J
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:42 PM

Ah that's better - see, I AM a member!

JJ


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 04:28 PM

Times have changed, I can remember twisting the leads of 2 x Vox AC30 and a 50 watt Linear amps all together and stuffing them into a 15 amp socket in a church hall with match sticks back in 1963 - all worked perfectly!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: Bernard
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 07:23 AM

It's surprising we survived, innit?! Mind you, some of us didn't...


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: GUEST,The Stage Tech
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 09:01 AM

Hi Bonzo3legs

"I can remember twisting the leads of 2 x Vox AC30 and a 50 watt Linear amps all together and stuffing them into a 15 amp socket in a church hall with match sticks"

Ah ha! so you're the guy that got us all saddled with PAT!

I'd be interested to know though if the church hall still standing.

But on a more seious note...

I didn't start until about '75, and looking back I don't know how we got away with what we did in those days.

Sad part is I can think of four of my contemporaries who suffered the sort of injuries that meant they never worked again, and in two cases never walked again without a stick.

OK, sometimes we might feel Health and Safety to be burdensome, but with production becoming bigger, heavier, and ever more power hungry
it is also increasingly necessary. The last time I counted there were something like 27 separate pieces of legislation relating to safety on stages. (Multi hazard areas of work)

So don't even think of getting up a ladder to focus the bloody lights.

ST


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Subject: RE: Tech: PAT testing
From: stallion
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 04:47 PM

£1.50 an item is very cheap, the most I have managed to test in one day is seventy items that is going flat out, that is £95 Quid when my charging out rate is £25/Hr . I spent £1700 last year on courses and exams to enable me to trade, insurance is £400 a year, fees to the requisite trade associations and inspections £700 a year then there are phones vans stationary etc etc etc. I make a living not a fortune! As to whether it is a scam or not no more a scam than when i represented myself in court , which I won, I was not allowed to claim costs, even though I had lost at least two weeks work gathering evidence, presenting the documents and appearing in court, because I was not a solicitor, now that is what I call a scam . I have no problem with people writing their own PAT test labels and certs it's your insurance policy that will have to convince. One really interesting post brought up the condition of the premises wiring, just as important and bands should ask to see a current Periodic test and inspection cert. fire cert and asbestos report and should be contained in the risk assessment. This all may seem very boring and unnecessary nanny state but it is the ay the world has gone the City and Guilds 2391 course used to be £160 until it became a compulsory qualification for Electrical Trade Institutions managers now it is nearly a thousand pounds!


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