Testing and tagging needs to be carried out by a trained technician who is experienced in testing and tagging.
The joint Australia/New Zealand safety standard AS/NZ 3760:2010 sets out the requirements a test and tag technician needs to meet in order to conduct testing and tagging.
A test and tag technician generally doesn’t need to be a licenced electrician (although this can vary by jurisdiction) but they do need to be proficient in using a portable appliance tester and have undergone specific training in testing and tagging.
There are lots of companies that offer testing and tagging services and it’s important to choose a reputable provider because the responsibility for electrical safety rests with you as the owner of the business.
That means that if you engage a provider who doesn’t conduct testing and tagging correctly, you could be liable in the event of an accident resulting from incorrect electrical testing.
Jim’s Test and Tag offer testing and tagging services (along with other electrical safety testing such as safety switch testing and electrical fault loop testing). All of the Jim’s Test & Tag technicians are qualified in testing and tagging and have completed a certificate of attainment in Test and Tag.
What is Involved in Testing and Tagging?
As a responsible business owner, it’s an OH&S requirement that you provide a safe workplace for your employees, so if you’re concerned about the electrical safety of any appliances in your workplace it’s important to have regular test and tag services. Here’s what’s involved in the test and tag process.
Testing and tagging is a term that most people know but many people aren’t sure exactly what it means. They might know that it’s something to do with electrical appliances, they may have used an appliance that had been tested and tagged, or they know what it is but they’re just not sure whether it applies to them. This post demystifies everything you need to know about testing and tagging.
What is testing and tagging?
Testing and tagging is, just as the name suggests, the process of testing electrical appliances to ensure that they’re operating safely and then tagging the appliances with a specified label (or tag) to indicate that they have been tested and they’re safe to use. Technicians use coloured tags and particular colours are specified for some industries. It’s a good idea to have all your appliances tagged in the one colour so you can easily tell if an appliance’s tag is current or not.
What electrical equipment needs to be tested and tagged?
Appliances that need to be tested are portable appliances with a flexible cord, a removable plug and a voltage in excess of 50V. All appliances used on the premises need to be tested, whether they are owned by the business or not.
What is involved in testing the appliances?
There are two main steps to testing an appliance. First the technician conducts a visual inspection of the appliance for any visible damage. Over 90% of appliances which fail the test and tag process fail on the visual inspection. Damage the technician looks for includes frayed cords, discoloured plastic (which may indicate an issue with heat and insulation, and indicates an ageing appliance), and damaged plugs. Once the visual inspection has been completed, the technician will test the appliance electrically using a portable appliance tester.
Following the test, the technician will tag the appliance with a tag which specifies who tested the appliance, the results of the test, what date it was tested and the date the next test is due.
If an appliance fails the test, it is marked with a ‘Failed Item’ tag and needs to be either repaired or disposed of.
Can testing damage my equipment?
The testing process (although stringent) is non-intrusive so there’s very little risk of your appliances being damaged during testing. The testing doesn’t require the technician to disassemble the appliance or physically examine the interior in any way.
Why do appliances need to be tested and tagged?
Testing and tagging is an important process for ensuring the electrical safety of a workplace. Once appliances have been tested and tagged, you can have confidence that they are safe to use and there is minimal risk of an electrical incident involving the tested appliances.
Is testing and tagging compulsory?
Testing and tagging is compulsory for some industries, specifically those industries which the safety standard describes as having hostile operating environments. A hostile operating environment is one in which the appliance could easily be damaged during the normal course of operating the appliance in the workplace – a construction site is an excellent example.
For most other industries, it’s a recommendation. However, you have an onus to provide a safe working environment for your staff under OH&S and workplace safety laws and ensuring you have a safe electrical environment is just one component of that. So, although testing and tagging of appliances isn’t compulsory in all industries, it’s an essential step in ensuring the safest working environment possible.
How often do I need to test and tag?
That depends on your industry but for most businesses, testing will be required every 12 months. For industries such as construction, testing is required every three months. Discuss your testing requirements with your test and tag provider. Once they know the details of your business, they will be able to advise an appropriate testing schedule.
Do all my appliances need to be tested at the one time?
It’s best if all your appliances are tested at the one time because it’s easier in the long-term to have a simple and regular testing schedule to stick to. Test and tag specialists such as Jim’s Test & Tag will come to your site to test your appliance so it’s not an onerous task.
How long does it take to test an appliance?
Testing an appliance is very quick and only takes minutes. How long the entire testing and tagging process will take for your business depends on the size and complexity of your business.
Are there any other electrical tests that I should be considering?
Testing and tagging is just one electrical compliance test. You should also consider safety switch (or RCD) testing and electrical fault loop testing. Safety switch testing involves checking that there are adequate safety switches installed on the electrical circuits in your business and ensuring that they are all working correctly. Fault loop testing tests the circuits in your building to check that they’re working as they should be. You can also consider microwave testing which involves checking whether your microwave is leaking radiation. (This test is especially important if you are using a domestic microwave oven in a commercial setting such as an office kitchen because the appliance is being used so regularly).
What are the benefits of testing and tagging?
The key benefit of testing and tagging is peace of mind, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to provide a safe electrical environment. Companies like Jim’s Test & Tag keep a record of all appliances that have been tested in your business and the dates of those tests and that’s an additional level of security because there are records kept independently of your business which could prove to be critical in the event of an accident or insurance claim.
Jim’s Test & Tag has over 150 franchises around Australia. The team at Jim’s Test & Tag offer free quotes for your business so they make testing and tagging a painless and easy process for your business, phone 13 15 46 for more information.