This one simple thing could result
you losing gigs...and money
A UK customer, new to singing, bought a whole load of backing
tracks from us and asked a question about PAT testing. Shed
heard other entertainers mention it but didnt know much
about it or if it was a legal requirement so was unsure whether
she needed to have it done before she would be allowed to start
doing gigs and sing in venues.
Heres what Robert,
one of our resident musician backing track producers who is also
a qualified electrician, told her
testing is usually carried out yearly where a qualified electrician
tests portable appliances (the sort of stuff we use) and he signs
and places a sticker on the equipment to say that it has been
tested and complies with health and safety guidelines.
However, if you do
any corporate work for a large company or work in a large venue,
they may well insist on PAT testing every time you perform,
even if your next performance for them is only one week later!
While you have a responsibility
to make sure your music equipment is safe to use (and, lets
face it, you should be doing this anyway - heaven forbid you ever
hold a microphone in your hand thats not properly earthed!),
its really down to the people who employ you to say whether
they want you to ensure your equipment complies with the legal
requirements necessary for use in their business premises and
has a valid PAT sticker.
However, the grey
area is in the event of an accident - who would be responsible?
You or the venue? Thats still not entirely clear
I would also add that most musicians
are aware of the dangers of using electrical equipment and weve
all heard of entertainers, usually guitarists (metal strings)
and singers (metal microphone) who have been electrocuted and
died on stage. I personally had a couple of belts
off a microphone when I worked in Spain many years ago. The Spanish
mains power supply used to be very erratic back in the eighties
so I had to buy a regulator to control the flow and supply my
equipment with a constant 240v (it worked by storing up electricity
when the power supply went above 240v and releasing it when the
power fell below, thereby giving me and my equipmant a constant
and safe 240v).
In a nutshell, no-one in their
right mind should ever take chances with electricity, so all sensible
entertainers should already be taking great care of their equipment
and keeping it well maintained.
Most entertainers I know are aware of the dangers so do keep their
equipment in good condition - many dont feel the need to
PAT test unless they are required to by the venue. But
in my opinion it pays to have a current PAT test certificate.
You can then carry it with you at all times so that you never
have to worry about getting to a gig and finding that they won't
let you perform (and if you don't perform, you probably won't
get paid)! Don't take the chance.
If you DON'T have a PAT certificate and you arrive at a venue
and they insist on PAT testing, then in my opinion, the venue
should pay for it to be done - after all, they are demanding that
the PAT testing be done, they didn't give you any advance notice,
it's not your fault, so they should pick up the tab.
However, again this is a grey area. For example, if the venue
say to you
if its not PAT tested, were
not letting you do the gig
what are you gonna do?
Lose the gig for the sake of a few pounds spent getting an electrician
to give your equipment the once-over?
After all, it will surely do more
good than harm to have your equipment double-checked anyway
For more info on PAT testing see
Article Written by Kenny Campbell
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