Australian Test And Tag Standards

What do you know about test and tag services?

Do you know how often you need to have your workplace appliances tested and tagged?

Do you know which appliances need to be tested and tagged?

Do you know what testing and tagging involves?

Here’s what you need to know about test and tag services!

Test and tag is a phrase you often hear used in reference to electrical compliance. But what is it and why is it needed? Here are 10 things that you might not know about testing and tagging service.

What is test and tag?

Test and tag is the process of testing portable appliances to ensure they are in safe, working order. Testing and tagging is governed by the Australian/New Zealand safety standard AS NZS 3760.

Why is it called test and tag?

It’s called test and tag because it involves testing each portable appliance and then tagging it to show its status. The tags attached to each piece of equipment show the results of the testing, who tested the appliance, when it was tested and when the next test is due.

What tests are conducted?

There are two tests conducted as part of a testing and tagging service. First, the appliance is inspected for any signs of visible damage as more than 90% of defects are detectable by visual inspection. When inspecting the appliance visually for damage, the technician will check for things such as obvious damage to the appliance, illegal modifications, damaged plugs, obviously damaged cords, secure attachment of the cord to the appliance and no exposure or twisting of the inner cores and insulation within the flexible cord. The second part of the testing is conducted using a portable appliance tester.

How long does it take?

It only takes a few minutes to test and tag each appliance. How long it will take to complete the test and tag service in your business depends on several factors including how many appliances need to be tested, how big your business is and how many locations you have that need to be checked. It can help speed up the process if you let your team know when the test and tag technician is going to be on site and ask them to have their appliances ready to be tested. Don’t forget to nominate someone to check cupboards for appliances that don’t get used very often.

Is it compulsory?

Testing and tagging is compulsory for some industries. Your test and tag technician can advise you if it is compulsory for your business. For businesses in the demolition, mining and construction industry, appliances must be tested every three months. There are also requirements for hospitality businesses and businesses that hire equipment. For most other businesses, testing and tagging is recommended but not compulsory.

When deciding whether to get the appliances in your business tested and tagged, remember that as a business owner you’re legally responsible for the safety of everyone who works at or visits your premises. If there is an accident involving an unsafe electrical appliance that hasn’t been tested and tagged, you could be held liable because you didn’t take the recommended measures to ensure a safe working environment. This can have serious consequences for you and your business — not to mention the person/s involved in the accident.

Why is regular testing and tagging important?

Every person has a right to a safe working environment, and this also extends to visitors to your business. It is important that any appliance used in your business is in safe, working order to protect those that work in and visit your premises. Having portable appliances regularly tested and tagged is the only way you can be sure that all the appliances being used in your business are safe to operate. Testing and tagging is a small price for peace of mind when it comes to safety in your business!

How often does it need to be done?

Your test and tag technician will advise how often appliances in your business need to be tested. Electrical equipment used in the construction, demolition and mining industries must be tested and certified every three months. If your business is a factory, workshop, place of manufacture, assembly, maintenance, or fabrication it is recommended that your equipment be tested every six months. For portable electrical appliances in most other businesses the recommended testing interval is every 12 months. There are specific requirements for businesses that hire out equipment. Hire equipment should be inspected before every hire and must be tested and tagged every three months.

What appliances need to be tested?

All portable electrical appliances which have a flexible cable, a removable plug and whose voltage exceeds 50V should be tested and certified as safe to use. Test and tag services aren’t limited to appliances used on your premises for business purposes (such as computers, printers, hairdryers and drills) but also includes any ancillary equipment used on the premises such as kettles, toasters, refrigerators and microwaves. Microwaves should also be checked for radiation leakage and many test and tag companies can conduct leakage testing at the same time as they test and tag.

Importantly, all appliances used on the premises that fit these criteria need to be tested. So, if the accounts department have their own kettle which has been brought in by one of the team, then it’s important that it’s tested at the same time.

As the business owner or manager, you are legally considered to be the responsible person and as such it’s your responsibility to ensure that all appliances are tested and tagged.

It’s a good idea to ask the company doing your testing and tagging to tag all the appliances with a different colour every time they visit. That way, you can easily spot an appliance that was missed in a testing cycle. If all the appliances in the business have burgundy tags but there is one appliance that has a yellow tag, then it has been moved from another location or was tested on a previous occasion. Either way, it’s a quick reminder to check the appliance’s tag and make sure that it is still considered safe to use.

Most testing and tagging services will provide you with documentation at the end of their visit detailing all appliances tested and their status along with a failed item report. Make sure you ask them to keep a copy of your documentation on file as this provides an external record of your safety testing within the business.

Can I do the testing and tagging myself?

No, unless you have been trained in testing and tagging and are aware of standard AS NZS 3760. The safety standard stipulates that to conduct testing and tagging of electrical appliances you must be a competent person with the necessary skills which have been obtained through training, qualifications, experience of a combination of all three.

Who can perform testing and tagging services?

There are many companies such as Jim’s Test & Tag who offer test and tag services. Jim’s Test & Tag has skilled professionals who undergo regular training in test and tag and have obtained their Test and Tag Certificate of Attainment. There are over 150 Jim’s Test & Tag franchisees across Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, Gold Coast as well as in regional Australia. In addition to testing and tagging, Jim’s Test & Tag also offer RCD and earth safety checks as well as fire protection testing and the supply of first aid equipment.