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Visual Inspection Guide

Electrical Equipment – Guidance for visual inspection

Electrical equipment / appliances need to be visually inspected before use. This short guide provides details of items that need to be checked, where any of the ‘signs’ are noticed, then the appliance must be withdrawn from service for repair / replacement as appropriate.

After switching off the power and disconnecting the appliance from the mains supply, the employee carrying out the visual inspection should look for signs of the following:




  • plug carries a ‘kite’ mark (indicating manufacture to appropriate British standard - BS1363)
  • Free from
  1. impact damage to plug casing, such as cracks or chips
  2. bent or loose pins
  3. burn marks or discolouration

    Plug wiring (unsealed plugs only)

    • wires attached to correct terminals
    • terminal screws tight with no sign of internal damage

    Fuses (unsealed plugs only)

    Fuses (moulded plugs only)


    • Free from
    1. cuts, cracks or signs of wear to the cable covering
    2. non-standard joints or connections
    3. discolouration or other signs of heating or burning
    4. kinks or bulges, particularly in areas where the cable may frequently be twisted or folded
    5. loose cable grip, visible coloured insulation, cable wires visible where the cable enters the plug


      • Free from damage to the appliance where the cable enters
      • Free from physical damage to the outer cover of the appliance
      • Is there a visible portable appliance test label (PAT label) which demonstrates the appliance has Passed and is in date (as per the Portable Appliance Testing Guidance available as a link from the Electrical Safety webpage) PATLabel

      Examples inspection failures

      plug1 plug2