PAT Testing AtoZ – S is for Shocking

Over the years I’ve seen plenty of shocking issues in PAT testing. But this week I wanted to share a little information with you about electric shock.

PAT testing and electric shock

A big part of what Emma does back in the office is check product recalls. Recently someone asked her why.

The short answer was ‘because we look after electrical safety. We need to know.’ For example, in the UK alone, since 1st January 2015, there have been 34 product recalls due to risk of electric shock according to RAPEX. That’s almost two a week.


Keep an eye out in the coming weeks as we are introducing a product recall update service which will allow us to email you about any dangerous electrical items which may affect you. If you want to be added to the mailing list, just get in touch through our contact page and let us know.

What electric shock feels like

Almost all PAT testers have been shocked at one time or another. It’s not a nice feeling (unless you’re that way inclined) and can often leave your arm or hand tingly for hours. I’ve been lucky, and have only ever had a couple of mild shocks.

Severe electric shock can cause burns both on the skin and below the surface of the body, as the electric current literally boils the flesh as it passes through. Feel free to Google pictures – but take my advice and don’t do it on your lunch break. It’s not pretty.

Other risks with electric shock

A big kick (yes, that’s what it feels like sometimes) can throw a person across a room, or lock them onto the source of the shock.

Take a quick look around the room you’re in now and imagine being thrown across it. Will you land on something nice and soft, or are there lots of hard obstacles in the way? What about if you’re on a ladder, for example putting up a string of lights or fixing a TV to the wall? Secondary injuries sustained in this way can be more damaging than the shock itself.

Alternatively, the shock might cause you to ‘lock on’ – as your muscles contract due to shock and you grab the offending cable. This is where some of our cable management advice comes in – you’re helpless, on the floor, holding a cable you can’t let go of. The longer you hold on, the worse your injuries are – but you can’t let go. Can your colleagues get to the mains socket to turn the power off at the wall? Can they get to the fuse box – do they even know where it is? And can they do all this without touching you – because if they touch you, they’ll get shocked too.

How can I reduce the risk of being shocked?

Carry out user checks. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – user checks are vital. Keep yourself updated on electrical recalls. Use common sense – water and electricity don’t mix, if you can see bare wire take it out of use, and always switch off and unplug at the wall before you do anything else.

A thorough and regular PAT testing schedule can play a big part, as we may spot problems before they become apparent. Checking that your PAT engineer is qualified and doing the job properly is also very important – if he just has a cursory glance and then whacks a sticker on, he’s not interested in your safety.

So call us today on 07518 688 233 or email us at¬†and let us help you stay safe. If your PAT testing isn’t due yet, you can still get in touch now as we’re booking up fast for the next couple of months.

Until next time,


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