PLI (Public Liability Insurance) and PAT CERTIFICATION

I’m sure that not all (not many?) artists out there realise that eventually those same artists will be asked for their PLI and PAT certification. If they cannot produce these, there’s a very good chance that their gig will not go ahead.

Public Liability Insurance would cover you, if for example your PA speaker fell over onto a customer and caused injury/damage. The ‘standard’ insured amount to day is £10,000,000 although there are many policies out there for £1M or £5M., generally these policies can be bought from around £50 to £120 per annum.

Legally, in the UK, if you’re self-employed and you work on your own, there’s no need to have an employers’ liability policy (unless a contract requires you to have one)…  And there’s the catch: Many venues like hotels, Masonic halls anything run by the local council can require you to have a valid PLI. If you cannot produce it (usually they will ask for it well in advance – and not surprise you on the night!) they can cancel your job.

If you are working through a reputable management company or agency, there’s every chance that they will keep your PLI (and PAT Cert.) details on file, so they can send off the required documentation to the client along with the contract.

PLI is available online from many sources, and for members of certain organisations (e.g. The Musicians Union) it comes included in the membership. Other organisations are able to offer it at a discounted price.

PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) Certification is basically a check through all of your electrical equipment to make sure that it’s in good, safe working order. The cost of this starts at just pence per item depending on how many items there are to be checked. The norm for a working artist seems to be in the region of £20-£50.

Normally, each item receives a sticker to indicate it’s been checked together with a print-out list of the tested equipment showing the results for each piece of kit. This list is the document that your clients may want sight of.

Is it a legal requirement? Well… actually no, but again your client can require it. And here’s what PAT.ORG.UK says about legality:
There is currently no strict legal requirement for PAT testing. The Government however has put regulations into place that pertain to the maintenance of electrical appliances and the most effective way to ensure that these regulations are met is through PAT testing.

The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Not complying with the above-mentioned regulations can result in fines up to £5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. Fines have been seen to go as high as £20,000 and offences heard in the Crown Court have carried sentences of more than 2 years imprisonment in additional to unlimited financial penalties. So even though PAT testing itself is not legally required, it simply helps you to protect yourself by ensuring that you are complying with these regulations.

Conclusion

If you are a working artist, whether solo or in a band, for the sake of a small financial layout, it must be a more sensible option to go down the professional route and acquire a good PLI and PAT certification. After all, we live in times of litigation – and “where there’s blame – there’s a claim” mentality. Better be safe than sorry!