Australian businesses are subject to strict safety requirements, including for electrical compliance. But what happens if your business fails to comply with test and tag requirements?
Test and tag requirements are in place to help ensure the safety of electrical equipment in every workplace in Australia. But what happens if your business fails to comply with test and tag requirements? What are the penalties?
Workplace safety should be your number one priority
Workplace safety should be one of the top priorities in your business. There’s just no excuse for not ensuring that your employees have a safe working environment and as a result there are severe penalties in place. Safe Work Australia is the national body responsible for the development of workplace laws which are then implemented and managed by the workplace safety body in your state. Check with your state’s workplace safety regulator to make sure you are familiar with the legislation as it relates to your business so you can ensure that you’re doing everything you can to make your workplace safe. Testing and tagging is just one safety recommendation that you should be implementing in your business.
You have a duty of care
As an employer, you have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment. So, in the eyes of the law, the buck literally stops with you. That means that if you don’t perform required or regulated safety checks or if you don’t have the right safety equipment in place in your business, or you fail to meet your safety requirements in another way, you could be liable in the eyes of the law. But really, the incentive to abide by safety regulations should be to provide a safe working environment for your team and your business, rather than simply trying to avoid penalties!
Is testing and tagging of electrical equipment compulsory?
Testing and tagging is governed by the Australian New Zealand safety standard 3760.2022 for the testing of portable electrical equipment and RCDs (also known as safety switches).
In some industries such as construction, demolition and mining testing and tagging is compulsory and heavily monitored. If you work in one of those industries, then your portable electrical equipment needs to be tested every three months and tagged with a specified colour that varies according to the season. If your equipment isn’t tested and tagged, then you’re breaking the law if you work on site.
There is an expectation as a responsible business owner that you will comply with the safety standard. If you don’t comply, then you are failing to meet your obligations in terms of doing everything you can to ensure electrical safety in your workplace and you could be penalised for work safety breaches or be found liable in the event of a workplace incident. There could be big implications for forgetting to get your equipment tested and tagged so it’s worth making sure that you have a test and tag schedule in place for your business.
Use a reputable test and tag Technician
It’s important that you choose a reputable test and tag technician to perform electrical testing in your business. And that’s because the safety standard views you (as the business owner) as the person responsible for electrical safety in your business. So, if you use an unqualified technician to perform testing and tagging of equipment in your business, and there is an electrical safety incident involving a piece of tested equipment, the liability rests with you. So, before you engage a company to perform testing and tagging of electrical equipment in your business you should check that they are authorised to perform the testing under the guidelines set out in the Australian safety standard AS/NZ 3760.2022.
The safety standard specifies that testing and tagging of electrical equipment can only be carried out be a ‘competent person’ who has the skills, training, experience and knowledge of the safety standard and PAT testing. And the standard has been recently updated to include a requirement that test and tag technicians have their skills regularly updated. All So, you know when you engage Jim’s Test & Tag to perform testing and tagging in your workplace that your business is in safe hands.
Keep detailed records
In addition to getting the electrical equipment in our business tested and tagged, the safety standard also specifies that you should keep detailed records including what equipment was tested, the results of the testing and when the equipment is next due to be tested. Jim’s Test & Tag will record these details for you and will also put a test and tag schedule in place for your business to ensure that your business is compliant with the safety standard.
How often does my equipment need to be tested and tagged?
How often your equipment needs to be tested and tagged really depends on the type of business you operate, the industry you work in and the environment the equipment is used in.
If you work in construction, mining or demolition then your portable electrical equipment needs to be tested every three months. But for other industries where the risk of damage to the equipment is less, testing and tagging is required less frequently.
Your test and tag technician will be able to advise you exactly how often your equipment needs to be tested and tagged as it may vary across different areas of your business or by pieces of equipment. A server cabinet in an office, for example, which is rarely moved or touched may only need to be tested and tagged every five years whereas other electrical equipment may need to be tested annually.
Engage the experts
Put the electrical safety of your business in the hands of a business that you can trust. Jim’s Test & Tag is part of the Jim’s Group businesses, one of Australia’s best known and most reputable brands. Jim’s Test & Tag will provide a free quote for their services, phone 13 15 46 for more information.