Visual electric checks – what to look out for

Visual electric checks

When it comes to maintaining your electrical equipment, you could say the law’s a bit of a grey area.

As always, you have a legal responsibility to ensure people on your premises aren’t put at risk, but what does this mean in relation to your electrical equipment, we hear you wonder?

Enter the grey area. There’s no law to say how or how often you have to conduct checks, just that they must be made to equipment that can cause danger.

Generally speaking, every two years is a good timeframe to stick to, but this’ll largely depend on how portable the equipment is.

When deciding on the frequency and level of checks, you should take into consideration the potential risk involved if equipment were to be unsuitable for the job, used incorrectly, or used in a harsh environment. And, of course, you could seek advice from a professional – enter Citation.

Your checklist

You don’t need to be an expert to carry out visual electric checks – you just need to know what you’re looking for.

So, here are several simple things you should look out for when visually inspecting your electrical equipment:

Check Yes/No
Is there any damage to the lead? Like fraying, cuts or heavy scuffing.
Is there any damage to the plug? Bent pins, for example.
Is there tape present joining leads together?
Are coloured wires visible where the lead joins the plug?
Can you see any loose parts or screws?
Are there any signs of over-heating? Tell-tale signs include burn marks or stains on the plug, lead or piece of equipment.
Is the piece of equipment being stored in unsuitable conditions? Like a wet or dusty environment, for example.
Can you see any cables trapped beneath furniture or in floor boxes?

DIY or professional job?

While visual checks can be done self-sufficiently, help from someone with relevant knowledge and expertise may be needed to carry out PAT Testing, and checks that require removing the plug’s cover.

What’s the difference between PAT Testing and visual checks?

PAT Testing is a more robust way of checking portable electric appliances, and requires specialist testing equipment.

While visual electric checks are an important part of picking up potential safety defects, they don’t always allow you to identify the faults that a physical examination would. Similarly, PAT Testing alone might not recognise safety issues that visual checks would.

For this reason, to ensure your electrical equipment is tip-top, you should take a harmonious approach that incorporates both levels of inspection.

We’ve got you covered

Here at Citation, we provide a comprehensive PAT Testing service to give you complete peace of mind when it comes to your electrical appliances.

We’ll send an experienced engineer to your site(s) to: inspect and test your electrical equipment; make sure everything’s labelled; provide you with a report detailing the condition of your appliances; and issue you with a certificate upon completion.

To find out more about our PAT Testing service, get in touch with our dedicated Additional Services Team on 0345 241 5250 or

Get more information

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.