All about the Formal Visual Inspection
An essential part of the PAT testing process, figures show that the formal visual inspection is actually responsible for finding around 90% of obvious faults with electrical appliances!
But what is this and how to do you go about performing it? 
It is a relatively simple process that employees should know, and it can be essential in detecting dangerous faults with appliances in the period between PAT testing.
To make things easier, we will walk you through how to do each part of the formal visual inspection in a handy step-by-step guide see below.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE
1. Checking the Plug – when unplugging IT equipment wait for 10 seconds before handling it If faults are found with the plug, then remove it from service AND NOTIFY YOUR LINE MANAGER
Plugs are just as important as the appliance itself. If a plug is faulty, it runs the risk of electrical shock, can cause fires, and should never be used after faults are found.
Obvious damage – this is the most common source of faults within plugs. Moving furniture or appliances and leaving the plug dangling to smash into walls can have extreme effects on the casing of the plug, either weakening it or cracking it directly.
Signs of burning or damage to the plug.
Insulated pins. Although not illegal to have them in use it is recommended that any plug without insulation on the live and neutral pins are removed from service.
Bent pin plugs should never be used. They will not fit correctly into plug sockets, and the results could be extremely dangerous.
2. Checking the Cable flex – if faults are found with the flex then remove it from service AND NOTIFY YOUR LINE MANANGER
YOU MUST DISCONNECT THE APPLIANCE before carrying the below out  
First of all, make sure the appliance you are about to inspect is switched off and unplugged from the mains before carrying out any checks.
Your first step is to visually check the entire length of the cable for obvious signs of damage.  This allows you to see if the wiring is cut at any point or beginning to fray, and both of these problems should be flagged up immediately as a potential hazard.
If internal wiring of the cable is exposed, you must fail that cable immediately and seek a replacement. Treat taped over cables with great suspicion – If it looks damaged, stop using it immediately.
After completing a thorough visual check of the cable, also consider the following:
Determine whether the position of the cable is safe. If the cable is in a dangerous area that could easily damage it or is a trip hazard, the chances of that cable being damaged increase dramatically. Wherever possible, ensure cables are tidily hidden away and do not become a risk to you or anyone else.
 
3. Check the Appliance Itself if faults are found with the appliance external condition then remove it from service AND NOTIFY YOUR LINE MANANGER
 YOU MUST DISCONNECT THE APPLIANCE before carrying the below out  
As part of your visual inspection you must check over the appliance for obvious signs of damage.
Watch out for:
Cracks – these can easily lead to bigger problems and expose the appliance to the elements. It could also mean a breakdown in the insulated properties of the electrical circuit.
Chemical damage – corrosive chemicals can have a disastrous effect on an appliance, so watch out for obvious signs such as chemical burning.
Corrosion – some appliances may degrade over time, and any corrosion of the appliance itself is a significant hazard to the user.
Do not obstruct appliance fans – these are there for a reason and that reason is to cool down the appliance. By blocking the fans, you are running the risk that the appliance could overheat.
Do not put water close to an appliance – water and electricity do not mix.
Check for obvious signs of overheating – place appliances relatively far apart from one another, make sure ventilation slots are not obscured and remove any overheated items from service immediately and notify your line manager 
Ensure the casing around the appliance is fastened correctly 
Check the on off switch is not damaged and operates correctly.
4. Visually Check the Mains Socket Outlet is in good order 
While the mains socket is not subjected to a PAT test, it is still eligible for a visual check for its safety  
Would you like to work with the experts on your Electrical Repairs & Remedial Works? Contact one of the friendly ETM team to find out the next steps. 01922 710 014 | admin@electricaltestmidlands.com

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