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You would not want to compromise on property damage and human safety. This is why you should be sure about the electronic condition of electrical appliances. This will help minimise potential fire and electrical hazards arising from appliance defects. Performing electrical tests and tag procedures will help you achieve this.

Keep reading to learn what test and tag is and why you should test and tag electrical equipment. You can also read up on Australian standards for the test and tag industry, how to test and tag electrical equipment, and employer responsibility for inspecting and testing electrical appliances. The post rounds up with electrical safety regulations for electrical companies' test and test and tag services. Let's dive in!

What is Test and Tag?

Test and tag is a standard electrical procedure that involves the inspection of portable electrical appliances to confirm that their condition is good. The aim is to guarantee better performance and equipment safety.

You need to invite a competent technician to conduct testing and tagging procedures. They will carefully inspect every unit and check for damaged cables, plugs, guards, and connectors.

Why Test and Tag Electrical Equipment?

Here are some reasons and benefits of test and tagging:

• You can use the test and tag process to assess electrical appliances for malfunctions and abnormalities.

• This will help ensure the optimum productivity of the device.

• Testing and tagging help your business comply with safety regulations. You can thus avoid potential problems with regulators.

• You will also lower the risk of fines arising when electrical appliances malfunction.

• Performing test and tag procedures does not only help you comply with electrical safety laws. You will also protect everyone, the electrical devices, and other equipment.

Australian Standards for the Test and Tag Industry

Australian and New Zealand guidelines and regulations serve as a test and tag industry standard. It ensures the safety of appliances and other portable electrical equipment. This AS/NZS 3760 standard recommends electrical issues such as test and tag intervals and specifies who can perform test and tag procedures.

The updated version of the standard is now referred to as Australian Standards AS/NZS 3760:22. When performing test and tag procedures, you must comply with Australian WHS, Electrical safety regulations, and workplace safety.

How to Test and Tag Electrical Equipment

• Begin the standard test and tag procedure by checking for any defect in the electronic device.

• Next, test the device with a portable appliance tester.

• Then, indicate the person performing the test, the test date, and the next test due date on a label.

• After inspecting and testing devices, the durable tag or label you attach confirms that the device has been tested.

Use of portable appliance tester (PAT)

A PAT is the main equipment used to test and tag procedures on electrical appliances to confirm safety. You can either receive a passed or failed testing result from PAT testers.

You should note that visual inspections of electrical appliances are often enough to find most defects or faults. This occurs before you even need to use your appliance tester.

What Industries should test and tag?

Standard regulations require industries such as the building, construction, demolition, and mining industries to test and tag electronic devices every three months. This is understandable because these industries often have unfavourable conditions that cause defects in their electronic devices. You have to note the test tag's colour, as it is best practice to change the test and tag colours for each three months of testing.

Who is responsible for inspecting & testing electrical appliances?

While testing and testing may not be a legislative requirement for you if you are not in the above industries, you have a responsibility as an employer to ensure the electrical safety of your employees. In other words, you may be liable if an untested and unsafe appliance causes harm to your employee.

Consequently, it is an employer's responsibility to test all portable electrical appliances. Electrical appliances and equipment require testing while they are in your possession. This is the case if you are in the hiring industry. Likewise, as a hirer, you must inspect the equipment visually before each lease.

Who performs test and tag procedures?

The AS/NZS 3760:2010 Australian Standards allows for competent persons – not only electricians – to perform testing and tagging procedures on electrical equipment.

Requirement to pass test and tags courses

You can learn to use PAT testing and learn the needed skills to pass the test and tag courses. Apart from passing the tags courses, you need to update yourself on new data from Australian standard AS/NZS 3760:22.

Appointing competent persons

Alternatively, you can appoint an employee as a competent person to test and tag electrical equipment. According to the Electrical Safety Act 2002, performing electrical equipment repairs without a relevant electrical work licence is an offence.

You should ensure that you judge competence according to trained skills, qualifications, and experience. Likewise, if you stay in QLD, you need a restricted electrical contractor's licence to offer tagging and testing services.

What Devices Should You Test and Tag?

Electrical appliances are generally classed as Class 1 and Class 2. Class I includes earthed kettles and toasters, while Class II includes double-insulated appliances like hair dryers and electric drills.

Frequently handled portable appliances like kettles and power tools can become electrically unsafe. These portable electrical appliances require regular testing and tagging.

Competent persons can test and tag devices with flexible cables and removable plugs and devices with low voltages that are not above 50V. Examples of such devices include cord sets and extension leads. You can visually inspect new electrical devices for damages, but do not miss the first required test if electrical equipment requires regular testing.

How often to test and tag electrical appliances

This requirement and the intervals for testing and tagging electrical equipment depend on individual risk assessments of workplaces. For example, you may perform tests for construction industry sites every three months and do so for factories or warehouses every six months. According to the Australian Standard, you should use particular test and tagging frequencies that depend on the type of environment where the appliance resides.

Intervals for testing safety switches

The intervals for safety switch testing depend on the type of work you are using them for. You can test safety switches at regular intervals. Frequent testing of safety switches is even more important for construction and demolition sites.

If you are doing construction work, refer to AS/NZS 3012 Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites for the maximum interval between tests.

On the other hand, if you are performing other work, you can check the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 or AS/NZS 3760 Inservice safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment.

Electrical Safety Regulations for Test and Tag

You can refer to the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 for more information if you work in the service, manufacturing, amusement, and rural industries. Section 97 defines specified electrical equipment, including cord extension sets and portable electrical outlet devices, and section 120 states electrical risk factors.

Again, another source for more information is the AS/NZS 3760 Inservice safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment. If you conduct a business or undertaking, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 considers it your duty to manage workplace electrical risks, especially by testing and tagging electrical equipment.

Managing risks should not rest only on your health and safety representative. Managing risks associated with electrical equipment is required if you conduct a business. You can get more information on managing workplace risks from the Code of Practice – How to Manage Health and Safety Risks. Hiring companies also have specific requirements to inspect, tag, and test hire equipment.

Test and Tag Services of Electrical Companies

Here are various appliance testing and test and tag services that your electrician may provide to help you comply with Australian safety standards.

Fire protection testing

Qualified technicians can test fire protection equipment to ensure they are of the highest standard. After that, they can provide service reports and continue to help your business comply with Workplace Health and Safety Laws. Examples of fire protection equipment testing include smoke alarms and fire extinguisher testing.

Microwave testing

This service is quite essential as exposure to the energy from microwave ovens can penetrate body tissue and be harmful.

Testing of exit and emergency lights 

Emergency exit light testing is something you should take seriously. Regularly test emergency lights to reduce the risk of them being faulty. It is a legislative requirement for you to test these lights at a 6-monthly interval.

General test and tag services

Test and tag services are not meant for only major hazard facilities and should only be handled by electrical safety offices. You can expect your licensed electrician to provide a wide range of test and tag services, including three-phase testing, plug top replacements, RCD testing, extension leads testing, and even test and tag safety tips.

Get Help to Test and Tag Electrical Equipment

This post has been a comprehensive guide on tests and tags. You have read up on how to test and tag electrical equipment, who performs test and tag procedures, and how often to test and tag electrical appliances. You also learned about the test and tag services of electrical companies.

Considering the importance of getting your electrical installations right and ensuring your electrical appliances are always at their best, it makes sense to invite a professional electrical contractor for all things electrical. They can perform test and tag processes on electrical system components and meet your electrical safety needs.

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