The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has recently released figures from a report  highlight that millions of pounds are being wasted each year due to over-maintenance of electrical appliances, following unnecessary annual tests. To combat this, the IET is urging companies to take a more “common sense approach” to safeguarding electrical appliances. The institute estimates that savings in excess of £30 million a year and £120 million over the next four years could be realised by adopting a more simplified approach.

Research by the institute indicates that millions of pounds are being needlessly spent by companies who may be misunderstanding the requirement for all “Portable Appliance Testing” (PAT) to be undertaken every year. This is described by the IET as a misnomer that is frequently perpetuated by external contractors providing PAT services.

The IET advises that in actual fact, testing annually has never been a legal requirement and it is not the case that insurers require policyholders to undertake testing every year, particularly in low-risk business environments such as offices, shops and hotels.

To help businesses understand and comply with PAT obligations and to prevent unnecessary electrical appliance maintenance, the IET has published its fourth edition of the Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

The new publication identifies appropriate steps for maintaining electrical equipment to ensure minimum risk with maximum effect.  The Code of Practice takes into consideration the usage, type and environment of the equipment under question.

Geoff Cronshaw, Chief Electrical Engineer at the IET, said: “Misunderstandings around inspection and testing of electrical equipment have led to low-risk businesses paying unnecessarily for over-the-top maintenance regimes. This publictation incorporates major changes reflecting Professor Löfstedt’s report and the Health and Safety Executive’s view that promotes a proportionate risk-based approach when assessing the safety of electrical equipment and appliances, potentially saving businesses millions of pounds.”

This publication has been developed by the IET alongside industry stakeholders including the Health and Safety Executive and is available from 08 November, can from the IET. In addition, the IET is also offering a free webinar on the Code of Practice which will take place on the 14 November and can be viewed by visiting