In today’s modern world, electricity is an integral part of our daily lives. From powering our homes to running our workplaces, electricity is everywhere. It is imperative that we take steps to ensure that the electrical equipment and appliances we use are safe for us to use. This is where Electrical Test and Tag comes into the picture. In this article, we will discuss what Electrical Test and Tag is, why it is important in the workplace, and how it can benefit your business.
Through the Test and Tag process the business can assist in ensuring that the electrical equipment is safe when used properly. The Test and Tag process requires checking that all work-related electrical cords and appliances are fit for use as well as being correctly marked to ensure there is no confusion or risk of causing an electrical accident. Employers have a duty to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a workplace that is safe and without risks to health. The business must also provide and maintain safe systems of work for employees involved in the use, inspection and maintenance of electrical equipment, including all electrical installations, under the employer’s management and control.
To meet their obligations and provide a safe system of work, employers should identify potential electrical hazards in the workplace, assess the risks, implement appropriate risk controls and have procedures in place to review and maintain those controls.
Test and Tag is a method of ensuring compliance with Australian WHS and Electrical Safety regulations and workplace safety. Electrical Test and Tag is a process of carefully visually inspecting each appliance for damage to flex, connections, guards, covers and plug by a competent technician. Once the technician is assured the item is safe to electrically inspect, the item’s insulation, earthing and polarity may be tested to ensure it is electrically safe.
Portable electrical appliances such as power tools and kettles are items that are most frequently handled by workers are also the most open to abuse and hostile environmental conditions – which can cause them to become electrically unsafe. Having electrical equipment system for test and tag in a workplace can be a confusing task. This can be more costly when the person completing the test does not understand the legal requirements and needlessly test equipment that does not meet the requirements. For example, testing a USB lead used to charge a mobile phone. Each State has similar details on this electrical testing. Queensland is completely different due to the different rules under the Electrical Safety Act, introduced in 2002.
How is the Test and Tag process completed?
The Test and Tag process involves two parts: first visually inspecting the electrical appliance for any damage, followed by electrically testing it with a Portable Electric Appliance Tester. Once tested, a tag is placed on the lead with a test date to confirm that it has in fact been tested. Additional information includes who tested it, the test date and when the next test is due. The primary reason behind doing testing and tagging is to ensure the safety of the people in the workplace coming into contact with the appliance. This also reduces the risk of an electrical hazard.
Workers can complete a test and tag training course and receive a statement of attainment once successfully completing the training. This is face to face training in the electrical aspects and the test and tag equipment. Once completed they are permitted to complete the tests of the electrical equipment and sign them off as compliant or otherwise by placing the appropriate test and tag label on the electrical lead.
The AS/NZS 3760 is the Australian Standard that provides guidelines and regulations for the test for electrical safety of appliances. It sets out recommendations to issues such as testing intervals, defines who can test with the general guidelines. The Work Health and Safety Officer course (WHSO) includes the electrical requirements for workplaces along with numerous other safety related topics.
NOTE: In Queensland the ‘specified electrical equipment’ is categorised into different types of ‘work’ than all other States and Territories,
- Rural, and
Test and Tag requirement
In Queensland, most of the confusion surround the test and tag requirement of ‘specified electrical equipment’ is for Office / Service work. In this instance there is an annual or 5-year testing cycle. However, what is often overlooked is that the testing regime is not required IF the circuits are protected by a safety switch. The Safety Consultant can assist the business by identifying the type of electrical category the electrical item fits into then advise on the legislative requirements for scheduling the inspection and test.
In all instances the Safety Switch MUST be tested by a competent person for the trip time and amperage. Understandably this is a specialist task completed by an electrical trade’s person. The electrical trades person then compiles a certificate of the test for the safety switch operation as being serviceable or not. Between these safety switch tests the user MUST be also testing the activation of the safety circuit. Users are required to ‘Press to test’ button at predetermined intervals to ensure the safety switch remains serviceable.
The Benefits of Electrical Test and Tag in the Workplace
There are many benefits to conducting regular Electrical Test and Tag in the workplace. Some of the key benefits include:
- Improved safety: Regular Electrical Test and Tag helps to reduce the risk of electrical accidents and fires, which can improve the overall safety of your workplace.
- Compliance with regulations: By conducting regular Electrical Test and Tag, you can ensure that your workplace complies with the relevant safety regulations, which can help to protect your business from liability.
- Increased efficiency: Regular Electrical Test and Tag can also help to identify any electrical equipment or electrical appliances that may be in need of repair or replacement. This can help to improve the overall efficiency of your workplace and reduce the risk of costly downtime.
- Peace of mind: Conducting regular Electrical Test and Tag can give you peace of mind knowing that your electrical equipment and portable electrical appliances are safe for use.
How to Conduct Electrical Test and Tag in the Workplace
Conducting Electrical Test and Tag in the workplace is a straightforward process. The following steps outline the process:
- Conduct a visual inspection of all electrical equipment and appliances, checking for any obvious hazards, such as frayed wires, damaged plugs, and other potential hazards.
- Test each item of electrical equipment and portable electrical appliance using the appropriate testing equipment, such as a multi meter or insulation resistance tester.
- Tag and mark any equipment or appliances that fail the test as ‘not safe for use’.
- Ensure that any equipment or appliances that fail the test are tagged accordingly and repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
- Repeat the process in accordance with the regulatory requirement to ensure that all electrical equipment and portable electrical appliances remain safe for use.
Electrical Test and Tag is an important process that should be conducted regularly in the workplace. By ensuring that all electrical equipment and appliances are safe for use, you can reduce the risk of electrical accidents and fires, improve the efficiency of your workplace, and give yourself peace of mind. If you are looking to conduct Electrical Test and Tag in your workplace, it is important to use a qualified and experienced electrician to ensure that the process is conducted safely and effectively.
Businesses must understand that the testing and tagging of electrical appliances is not just about ‘checkboxes’ on a safety checklist. Businesses must abide by the WLS Legislation and the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 3760 where required) to ensure that all of the electrical equipment in the workplace complies with safety standards. This includes contractors and others who bring electrical appliances to the workplace to be used. The Business must implement a proactive approach to this process as this can save lives by preventing issues with electrical appliances before they occur.
Where required compliance with the Australian Standards (AS/NZS 3760 where required) demonstrates a commitment to safety. where required to be implemented this standard provides the recommended testing intervals and procedures to maintain electrical safety in the workplace. in Queensland there are different rules outlined in the WHS Legislation that businesses there must understand and implement. By following either of these guidelines, businesses will meet their legal obligations and contribute to the broader goal of enhancing safety standards.
The Test and tag process are just part of the process that Businesses must implement to ensure that safety standards are being met. These processes properly implemented and monitored will ensure that electrical appliances are properly inspected, tested, and appropriately tagged to signify their safety status. Businesses must not underestimate the importance of engaging an appropriately qualified professionals who can provide these processes services.
The test and tag requirements do not eliminate the need for workplaces to complete checks of equipment on a scheduled basis to ensure that they remain safe to operate. Workers must also be trained to read the test date to ensure that the electrical appliance is within the test date. Employers must also ensure that electrical appliances outside the test date are quarantined or isolated so that they are not used until properly inspected and tested with a new test tag and corresponding test date.
We have qualified and certified Safety Consultants that can assist you in your business and offer a range of WHS consulting services along with general and specific health and safety training courses.
Contact us today for an obligation free quote on any of our services.