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PAT Testing Hits Bedford Club

Posted: Friday 15th May

We received the following from the Secretary of Bedford Electronic Organ Society which we thought was of interest.  Anyone wishing to comment, please start a topic on the forum...

In March of this year we received a letter from the Hall Manager at The Addison Centre, where we hold our professional concerts for seven months of the year. The letter outlined that the centre had recently been visited by a Risk Assessor from their insurance company. It went on to say:

‘That all portable electrical appliances must be regularly inspected and certificated by a qualified electrician.’ ‘It is now a requirement of our insurers that all portable electrical appliances that are brought into the Centre to be used by a hirer and/or his/her agent are checked by Addison Centre staff to verify current certification.’

It went on to say:

‘I have to inform you that if an appliance is found to be lacking in current certification, then that particular item cannot be connected to the mains electrical supply here at The Addison Centre, either directly or indirectly via an extension lead.’ 

It finished by saying:

‘Failure to ensure compliance to this directive will mean that we will be in breach of our policy terms and conditions and therefore without insurance cover. There are likely to be spot checks carried out to ensure that The Addison Centre is complying with the terms of our insurance policy.’

Well, this was, to say the least, a shock to the system. If artistes are not PAT Tested and turned away it would eventually affect our good attendances. Our club has been put in an awkward position and as Secretary it is my job to book artistes with a contract, which will now have to include notice that all equipment must be PAT Tested to the regulations otherwise the concert cannot go ahead. Spot checks are to take place. The club cannot turn a blind eye in risking the loss of our venue or the embarrassment on the club itself. After all if something was faulty and damage resulted because of not being PAT tested, with say an artist falsifying labels The Addison Centre would lose their insurance cover and the club their venue.

I understand there are only one or two clubs on the circuit that have been given this stipulation. It’s not our fault, we now have to abide by the regulations. PAT testing charges vary considerably and yes it’s another expense to the artist but without it they could lose out on concert bookings. We at Bedford try to book the top names and have a thriving club at the present time.

It was decided by the committee to send a copy of this letter to 2009/10 artistes and explain that there was absolutely nothing we could do about this but to ask all artistes who are booked with us to make sure their equipment is PAT Tested. Failure to do so could cause embarrassment all round if the artiste is not PAT Tested and is turned away. Secondly we could jeopardise our hall hire contract.

Of course that was only the first problem as we also hold Club Members Nights at The Centenary Hall just up the road from The Addison Centre. They have already implemented this regulation and once a year we have an electrician come to test our club organ but never gave a thought to what happens when members are encouraged to bring their own instruments to play for a musical evening. The committee came to the conclusion that to still encourage members to play, the club would pay for their PAT Testing. After all that’s what it’s all about. We now have a situation where we have to arrange a club night where playing members will bring their equipment to be PAT Tested by our electrician. Now, will the club members want to take the trouble to bring their leads/organ, especially if it’s a Yamaha to be tested as they have moulded plugs? We will wait and see, if there is no response we will see the beginning of the decline of members playing. 

Our plea to all artistes is please think sensibly about this, failure to be PAT Tested could lose you concert bookings and goodness only knows enough small clubs are disbanding without this problem. Well there you have it, no doubt this will give you all something to talk about.

Moira McAneny – Secretary – Bedford Electronic Organ Society.

Discuss this further in our forums.

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