[b]I've just completed a rather large job for a local hotel. The owner informed me at the end that it was unlikely he would ever need PAT services again! On further enquiry he told me that with the 4th CoP changes, his association had recommended that he as the duty holder could make his own assessment of the risk involved and together with the changes in frequency of testing of most items to five years, need not have items tested unless deemed necessary. He also showed me a "flyer" which proported to summarise the CoP on a single sheet of A4! One of the main points was the new CoP would "significantly reduce the frequency of testing" and hence cost. His comments included, "well most handheld items such as hairdryers are worn out after five years so, all I have to do is buy another one and I don't need it testing"! As an aside two of his brand new out of the box hairdryers - failed!
OK. So a lot of the CoP is relying on risk assessment and visual inspection. Honest assessment I would venture to suggest.
I also suspect that unless the Fire Officer or Insurance make noises, things will be left until there is an incident. Then I am sure that those who make the recommendations will wring their hands and blame us for "incorrect interpretation".
As an old dinosaur, I can still remember a Minister of Transport, one Marples by name, who introduced the MOT for vehicles. Initially, it was for vehicles over ten years old. Trouble was so many failed, (almost 98%), they reduced it to seven years. Guess what? Yep, they still failed! So eventually, testing was reduced to what it is today. As of this year, vehicles registered prior to 1960 no longer need a MOT. So, the "risk assessment" is left to the owner. One can't help but wonder how many of those vehicles would be safe in say, two year's time?
What has this to do with PAT I hear you ask? Everything! The risk assessment is being carried out in many cases - not all - by those least qualified to judge and who are affected most financially. Interestingly, on that hotel job I was asked specifically to check the kitchen extract units for safety and cleanliness. Not by the owner, but by the insurance company. Three days after, a nearby Chinese restaurant had to be attended by no less than SEVEN appliances because the grease in their extractor had caught fire, gone up into the ducting and threatened several flats and nearby houses!
As for the CoP reducing the cowboy label stickers; one of my clients showed me a flyer that quoted 25p per plug top PAT!
So, before I invest in more software to make my PAT less labour intensive and more cost effective and buy a new PAT machine - these new digital ones are marvellous, no need to remove the plug top or check the fuse rating; well that's what one guy told me! - I think it may be time to pack it in. Certainly, I will not be working by the time that hotel owner decides to retest