Testing and Tagging

Testing and Tagging

Testing and Tagging is the name given to the process of checking the safety of portable electrical appliances.

It involves two parts: first visually inspecting the appliance for any damage, and then electrically testing it with a Portable Appliance Tester.

Once tested, a tag is attached to the item to show that it has been tested. The tag should state who tested the appliance, the test date and when the next test is due.

The main reason for testing and tagging is to ensure the safety of the people in the workplace who use the appliance, and minimising the risk of an electrical hazard such as fire.

The AS/NZS 3760 is the Australian Standard that provides guidelines and regulations for the testing and tagging of appliances. These standards contain recommendations on how often appliances should be tested and defines who can test and tag.

Who needs to test and tag and how often?

The Australian Standards recommend particular test and tag frequencies based on the type of environment the appliance resides in. Sometimes, this might differ depending on a workplaces individual risk assessment.

Industries such as construction, demolition and mining are required to have their appliances tested and tagged every 3 months. This is because of the harsh nature of the industry which is likely to damage equipment at a faster rate. The tag colours used by a tester will often change for different periods throughout the year, which makes it easier to identify appliances that may be due for testing.

Not all industries have a legal requirement to test and tag electrical appliances. As an employer however, you do have a duty of care to ensure the safety of your employees, meaning that if someone was hurt from an appliance that wasn’t tested, you could be found liable.

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Table 4 of the standards sets out the recommended schedule for equipment testing.

What type of equipment is tested and tagged?

Any device that has a flexible cable, a removable plug and is not low voltage (not exceeding 50V) should be tested and tagged. This includes extension leads, cord sets and portable RCD’s.

Generally, electrical appliances can be classed as either:

Class I – this is an earthed appliance such as kettles, irons and toasters

Class II – double insulated appliances, which are usually identified with a symbol (a square within a square) or with the words ‘Double Insulated’; for example most electric drills and hair dryers

There is no requirement for new equipment to be tested – just visually inspected and tagged.

The Australian Standards recommend particular test and tag frequencies based on the type of environment the appliance resides in. Sometimes, this might differ depending on a workplaces individual risk assessment.

If you would like more information on the test and tag industry, or perhaps had a question relating to the Australian Standards, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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