How to Reduce the Number of Tools Failing a maintenance test


Any electrical equipment that could potentially cause harm or injury must be properly maintained and kept in a safe condition. Construction sites register as an exceptionally high risk level by business environment, due to the often potentially hazardous nature of the work being done, as well as the frequent use of possibly dangerous equipment. 

With this in mind, it is essential to keep on top of the safety of electrical tools and appliances to ensure excellent overall site safety and improve productivity. When electrical tools fail it can be damaging to this goal, so it is important to know why they aren’t successful and how to reduce the number of those failing.


What is involved in a maintenance test for tools?

Employers should take a risk-based approach when it comes to electrical appliance safety - what the appliance is and what it is used for. Although there are no legal inspections in terms of tool maintenance, it is recommended that you are aware of how to do a maintenance test properly.

Visual inspections are a helpful way to identify any issues with tools and usually, after a visual check is performed (checking for frayed wires, the casing around the appliance coming undone, plugs being cracked or damaged) a specialist should be able to perform tests that will show if the appliance abides to Health and Safety regulations, such as earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance. 

This is an easy process that will prove that your equipment is abiding to construction site safety regulations. If your equipment is deemed unsafe, there are a number of common reasons for this and ways to rectify them.

Why would a tool fail a PAT test?

There are many common reasons why a tool might fail a maintenance test. Generally, these are to do with reasonable damage, including:

1. Damage due to prolonged use

A common example of this is worn out wearing parts (small components in the motor of a tool). This can be costly and depending on the level of damage, could lead to having to replace the tool entirely.

2. Power issues 

This means a tool not working properly, or losing power over time. This can slow down overall productivity on a construction site and cause frustration for the individual user.

3. Internal issues

This could mean anything from a motor issue, to an engine issue or a faulty generator (to name a few) and they can often be more difficult to detect, which could mean excess time and cost to find a solution.

While some of these issues naturally happen on a high risk construction site, it is surprising how many of them occur due to the lack of communication, organisation and a carefully curated management system. Improving these areas will reduce the number of tools failing a maintenance test and ultimately, improve the overall health and safety on site.


What are the best ways to reduce tools failing a maintenance test?

he best ways to reduce tools failing a maintenance test are directly related to how you work with your team directly and involve careful planning to ensure compliance. These fall into two major areas:


There must be a system in which an employee can report and track any changes or damages for specific tools. This would ensure that both employer and employee are aware of not only tools that are in regular use, but their safety status. Not only this, but it would create accountability, so that workers are less likely to mishandle tools by either leaving them unsupervised or using them incorrectly.


Each tool must have a regularly updated and easily accessible record that can be referred to at any time for both employer and employee. This would ensure that all tools are kept track of (where they are, who is using them, their current safety state) so that potential for damage and maintenance test failure is reduced.  

A good way to manage your tools generally is with fleet management, where companies can send tools to an external source free of charge, where batteries and wearing parts can be replaced and replacement tools can be sent to you. This allows you to keep on top of repairs, without postponing work, or risking further damage.

To learn more about electrical appliance regulations and how best to optimise your business to adhere to these, download the 2019 Construction Site Safety Guide: your one-stop manual to all things construction site safety and how to make your business as compliant as it can be. In the guide, you will find more in-depth descriptions about regulations you need to abide to, helpful ways to manage your assets and ultimately, how to improve overall compliance and safety on site.