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The introduction of the electricity at work regulations (EAWR) 1989 prompted, among many other things, a rush to inspect and test portable appliances.

The regulations do not require such inspecting and testing, nor do they specifically mention portable appliance. They do however, require any electrical system to be constructed, maintained and used in such a manner as to prevent danger, and in consequence inspection and testing of systems (portable appliances are systems) is needed in order to determine if maintenance is required.

It is not just portable appliances that have to be tested, but all in service electrical equipment. Which means equipment connected to the supply by a 13A plug or industrial plug even equipment which is hard wired into the system via a fuse connection unit be it single phase or three phase isolators.

There are five different equipment types which require testing: