12 Test and Tag Mistakes to Avoid

Is your workplace up-to-date with testing and tagging services? Avoid these mistakes to ensure your workplace electrical appliances are safe for staff and visitors to use.

Testing and tagging portable appliances is important to ensure the electrical safety in the workplace. But although testing and tagging is a relatively straightforward process, it’s an easy one to get wrong. Here are 12 commonly held misconceptions about testing and tagging. Now you can avoid making these mistakes in your workplace.

#1: Appliances only need to be tested once

Wrong.

Portable appliances need to be tested regularly. For most businesses, appliances need to be tested once every 12 months but there are mandates in place for some industries (such as construction and mining) that mean testing is required more regularly.

#2: All portable appliances need to be tested

Wrong.

Only portable appliances that meet the criteria set out in the joint Australian/New Zealand safety standard AS NZS 3760.2010 need to be tested. That’s appliances that have a flexible cord, a removable cord and a voltage in excess of 50V. So, your portable phone charger and other portable devices with a low voltage don’t need to be tested.

#3: Only appliances used for the business need to be tested

Wrong.

Many people don’t realise that all portable appliances (that meet the standard’s criteria) need to be tested, whether they are used in the course of business or not. So, just as the office printer needs to be tested, so does the microwave oven in the staff kitchen.

Workplace kitchen

#4: Only appliances owned by the business need to be tested

Wrong.

If an appliance is used on the business’s premises, then technically speaking it should be tested and tagged. For example, if the family of a resident in an aged care home bring in a kettle for their loved one’s room, it should be tested and tagged before it can be used in the home.

#5: If an appliance has a tag, it’s safe to use

Wrong.

If an appliance has a tag attached to it, the only thing that indicates is that it has been tested and tagged at some point in the past. Check the tag to see if it is still current and if it isn’t, it should be tested before being used again.

The tags on each appliance will show who tested the appliance, the date it was tested, the results of the test and the date the next test is due.

If the due date has passed, then it needs to be re-tested. And if the tag says it’s a failed item, then you have some big questions to ask about why it’s still being used in your business.

#6: Because an appliance is new to me, it doesn’t need to be tested

Wrong.

There’s often a lot of confusion about this one. It’s correct that new appliances don’t need to be tested. The onus for electrical safety rests on the manufacturer. But if an appliance is only ‘new’ to you, but it’s really a second-hand appliance then it does need to be tested. And that’s because you have no visibility of the history of the appliance and no way of knowing if it is electrically defective.

If you hire a portable appliance, then it should have been tested and tagged by the supplier who hired you the equipment and you should check that the tag is current.

Electrical service experts

#7: My IT manager can test and tag our appliances

Sometimes wrong.

If your IT manager has been appropriately trained and qualified in testing and tagging portable appliances and meets the requirements for a competent person set out in safety standard AS NZS 3760.2010 then they can test and tag all the appliances in your business.

But you need to question whether that’s the best use of your IT Manager’s time when it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to engage experts such as Jim’s Test & Tag whose business it is to manage electrical safety for businesses. Sometimes, it’s worth getting the experts in and letting your team focus on their principal task.

It’s not a situation though where anyone in your business can test and tag your equipment as there are requirements that test and tag technicians need to meet before they’re considered to be competent people who can conduct the service. At Jim’s  Test and Tag, all the technicians have obtained their Test and Tag Certificate of Attainment and undergo regular training to ensure their skills remain current.

#8: We only need to test appliances that are being used regularly

Definitely wrong.

It’s critical to test the appliances hidden away in the cupboards that only get pulled out once every so often. They’re often the seasonal appliances such as fans and column heaters and although visible signs of ageing and damage are often an indicator that there is an issue with an appliance, there is no way to really know if an appliance is safe to use unless it has been tested and tagged.

#9: I can patch that cord with duct tape

Wrong.

You might have seen your dad patch up a fraying cord with duct tape – but that’s not a safe electrical practice. If an appliance is damaged in any way, then it needs to be tested. And if it fails the test, it needs to either be repaired or disposed of. Safety in your workplace is important – don’t rely on home handyman tricks to keep your team safe.

Testing & Tagging

#10: Testing and tagging doesn’t apply to my business

Wrong.

Sometimes there’s confusion because testing and tagging is mandated for some industries (such as construction and mining) so businesses in other industries don’t think that testing and tagging is necessary for them. As a business owner, you’re responsible for the safety of the workplace and you can’t be sure that your workplace is safe unless your electrical appliances have been tested – so it applies to your business too.

#11: The onus for safety rests with the test and tag supplier

Wrong.

The onus for safety in your workplace always rests with the business owner. So, when you look to engage a test and tag provider, do your homework. Ask the right questions and make sure that they’re qualified to do the job properly. Because if they don’t do it right, you could be liable for the safety breach.

#12: All test and tag suppliers are the same

Wrong.

A quick Google search will show you that there are lots of companies offering electrical test and tag services. But because the onus for electrical safety in the workplace remains with you as the business owner, you should choose your supplier wisely. Cheaper is not always best. Jim’s Test & Tag technicians are fully qualified and insured and they guarantee to get the job done right the first time, saving you money and headaches in the long run.

Testing and tagging isn’t the only electrical testing service that Jim’s Test & Tag offer. They also conduct safety switch and earth safety testing, and can make recommendations about the fire protection equipment and the first aid equipment and kits that you need to have in place in your business. With over 150 Jim’s Test & Tag franchises across Australia, there’s bound to be one close to you.