The majority of accidents in the home are caused during the course of home-improvement projects and DIY tasks, as residents look to improve the functionality and visual appeal of their home on a budget. This is a global phenomenon, although the UK leads the way in terms of the sheer volume of injuries that are incurred on an annual basis. There are an estimated 220,000 DIY-related accidents that take place every single year in Britain, many of which involve relatively accessible hardware such as knives, saws and hammers.
With this in mind, it is clear that the desire to save money on home repairs can represent something of a false economy. Even placing the risk of incurring short-term injury to one side, attempting to execute home-improvement tasks without the necessary skills or experience can put the lives of your loved ones at considerable risk. This is especially relevant to any tasks that involve electrical wiring or gas, as potentially explosive elements must be handled with care and by an industry accredited technician.
How to Become a PAT Tester
If you are serious about making long-term savings without damaging the integrity of your home, however, there are a number of relatively simple skills that you should look to acquire. You may look to gain a qualification as a PAT (Personal Appliance Testing) tester, for example, which will enable you to securely inspect your domestic appliances to ensure that are safe and compliant with building regulations. Consider the following steps towards achieving this goal:
- Understand the Needs and Requirements for PAT Testers
While health and safety regulations in the UK do not require a formal qualification, they do state that any practicing individual must be competent to undertake the work. This means that to operate safely you must have received some from of training, which enables you to make both visual and deeper-rooted inspections. The exact level of experience that you need depends on the environment, but it is pivotal that you have access to the right equipment, a fundamental ability to use it and the acquired knowledge to analyse the results and execute any necessary repairs.
- Get Qualified and Undertake an Accredited Course
So although there is no benchmark for competency in the UK, the Electricity at Work regulations of 1989 makes it clear that all PAT Testers must be qualified to complete safely. Over time, it has therefore become accepted practice for aspiring technicians to undertake a 2377-22 City and Guilds qualification in PAT Testing (Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment), which will teach the fundamental skills required and also equip you to work in additional homes. It is also important to note that no formal background in electrical engineering is required to complete the course, although this may help you to understand some of the more complex elements.
- Invest in the Right Equipment and Remain in Touch with Regulations
Once you have a formal and legally recognised qualification, it may be tempting to rest on your laurels in the light of a job well done. This would be an error, however, as the regulations surrounding PAT testing are prone to change and modification over a prolonged period of time. You will therefore need to keep pace with these changes, and more specifically the definition of competency as detailed on page 13 of the IEE Code of Practice. Should you fall foul of this, you may find yourself liable for any work that complete incorrectly and the subsequent damage that it causes.
Laura is a home and design blogger from the UK, who writes extensively for publications in England and the U.S.. She has previously worked for PAT equipment supplier PASS as a researcher.