Portable appliance testing
Portable appliances are generally classified as any electrical equipment which is connected to the mains by a lead and a plug.
Churches should conduct regular, thorough physical examinations of all portable appliances and document their findings. The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require all systems to be maintained so as to prevent danger and the Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require work equipment (which includes portable electrical appliances) to be maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair. There are also general duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for employers to provide a safe place of work and plant and systems that are safe and without risks to health.
There is no statutory frequency for inspection and testing, but the frequency should reflect the risk of the appliance causing damage or injury and this increases with the amount the appliance is used and the harshness of the working environment.
Ecclesiastical suggests inspection and testing on an annual basis initially, reducing or increasing the inspection periods according to experience. Records must be kept of all inspections, examination and maintenance carried out.
Inspection and testing must be carried out by a competent person – this is someone with electrical knowledge and experience who understands the equipment and the hazards which could arise.