Should portable heaters in the workplace be PAT tested?

Should portable heaters in the workplace be PAT tested?

The great British weather means that cold snaps are inevitable, and not just in the winter. We all need to be warm enough at work and portable heaters are a common feature in the offices and sites of the UK. But if they’re not checked properly they can pose an increased risk of fire.

The unpredictable British climate & work routines

Our work routines are undergoing something of a revolution. The trend towards more hybrid working practises – some days within premises and some days working remotely – looks set to continue. This ‘in and out’ nature of employment means that many workplaces now go through sustained cool spells when the heating is not on all day every day.

One quick way of boosting warmth in a chilly building is the use of portable heaters. Moveable heat sources are also commonly used in places where people don’t work in traditional office-style settings such as cabins on building sites.

Any heating appliance that is powered via a cable or plug and socket is considered to be a ‘portable’ one. That means portable heaters should be PAT tested to minimise the risk of them becoming dangerous.

The fire risks of portable heaters

According to government figures in the UK two fires a day are caused by portable heaters. Furthermore, the charity Electrical Safety First has estimated that, over a five year period, such blazes resulted in approximately 1,000 injuries and 73 deaths.

Why should portable heaters be PAT tested?

Although the requirement for PAT testing specifically is not a legal requirement, the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state that all employers must ensure that any item of electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition.

One of the most common causes of fire in the workplace is electrical faults. Regular PAT testing ensures that all appliances, including portable heaters, have a reduced risk of undetected faults that could result in a fire.

Serving Greater Manchester and the wider North West, Brooktech are specialists in all manner of electrical work including PAT Testing. Contact us today to find out more on how to ensure your portable heaters are safe.

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