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PAT advances helps specialist succeed

Investment in new instrumentation technology has helped a provider of electrical safety testing services continue to grow. The company carried out nearly 5 million workplace portable appliance tests last year.

PAT advances helps specialist succeed

Originally established as a lighting maintenance business serving public sector organisations and blue chip retailers in 1989, CLM Ltd has transformed itself over the years, and is now a leading electrical safety testing specialist, with around 150 test engineers working from a network of regional offices carrying out in-service inspection and electrical compliance testing at customers’ premises.

As part of its transformation CLM has equipped its engineers with Seaward PrimeTest 300 and 350 hand held portable appliance testers. These lightweight testers are battery powered for maximum portability and speed of testing. In addition, bluetooth technology makes connection with accessories and the downloading of test data fast and simple.

Paul McDermott, national operations manager of CLM Compliance, explains the decision: "Many customers have sought price reductions during the recession to ensure sustainability within their own businesses and all portable appliance test service companies have had to examine their own cost bases as a result. Being able to work smarter has become even more important and investment in the new Seaward PrimeTest PAT technology has helped us to improve the efficiency of testing services."

Test work schedules are allocated to the respective regional offices and issued by planning managers to field operatives. Each engineer attends customers’ sites on a daily basis to complete the required testing.

Recording test data
The test data is recorded onto a PrimeTest 300 or PrimeTest 350 as testing is undertaken and the data is downloaded onto a PDA to enable the transmission of the results file back to head office for immediate processing.

Test results can be supplied in various formats and utilise a range of PAT software formats including the Seaward PATGuard program. CLM has also developed its own, bespoke, software package to read the raw data from the test equipment and automatically process and manipulate the results into an excel spreadsheet.

Paul McDermott said: "We recently held a number of roadshows and many of those who attended were shocked to discover exactly what legislation covers electrical testing and what their own responsibilities were to comply with those requirements.

"Within the workplace every user of electrical equipment has a duty to ensure the equipment is safe to use before doing so, yet you would struggle to find an organisation who actually advises their staff what they need to look for before using electrical equipment and what to do should they find a problem.

"Insurers are becoming more aware of the need to inspect electrical equipment within a building and many have incorporated this requirement into client policies to reduce the risk of electric shock or possible fires."

Worryingly, CLM estimates that up to 6% of the electrical appliances and equipment it regularly tests have some form of damage of fault. This percentage includes those that fail outright the safety tests applied and those that require some form of obvious repair.

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