PAT Testing

Public Speaker in Hampshire, Dianne Mannering

In a nutshell – if your appliance has a plug that has to be connected into a wall socket then you need to have it PAT tested…. and labelled to prove that the PAT testing is current (ie was done within the past twelve months). So, unless you’re a standalone speaker, you are going to find that, in the next few years, venues will be asking to see proof that your equipment has been PAT tested. So far, in my own experience, during the past ten years, the subject of PAT testing has been raised about ten times by the Booking/Programme secretary when a booking was being made. However, only twice have I arrived at the venue and been asked to supply the proof.  Once was at an hotel and it was the manager’s assistant who came over to check the labels on my equipment to make sure that they were up to date and before that, in 2012 I gave a talk to Abbots Bromley WI in Staffordshire and as their venue is a beautiful, half timbered, listed building they do have a vested interest in not allowing it to be burnt down! It isn’t a big deal, getting it done, you’ll need to take all of your electrical equipment along for testing and certification – don’t forget your extension lead – I did, so I had to make a second trip. It took about an hour. Each piece of equipment that has been tested is labelled with its own ID and the ‘retest date’.  Back in 2009 the friendly fellow who did mine charged a tenner for the lot, though last year in 2017 having moved, I had to find someone else and although he came to my house which was useful, it cost £25.00.  So, search the internet and find yourself a small local one-man operation, otherwise, you can end up doing a talk just to cover the cost of getting your equipment tested!
Once your equipment is tested the PAT engineer lodges the information online so that interested parties such as the Program/Speaker/Bookings Secretary can access it.  I have to admit I wouldn’t have a clue about how to access this information myself and I doubt whether there are many Program Secretaries who are clued up on the concept at the moment.
To an extent though, this responsibility for getting our equipment tested is disappearing because larger clubs, theatres and hotel venues all have their own equipment and all you are expected to do is to turn up with a dongle…. and that doesn’t have to be PAT tested.