Test and Tag

Electrical Compliance Testing and Tagging

Is your workplace compliant?

Electrical Compliance Testing Requirements

There are a number of Electrical Compliance requirements that apply to organisations and businesses to ensure they meet their obligations to provide a safe workplace for their employees. These include Testing and Tagging of electrical appliances, RCD (Residual Current Device) testing, and Emergency and Exit light testing.

Testing and Tagging

Electrical appliance testing and tagging requirements for businesses have been in operation for some time in Australia, so most people have some level of awareness. We are often asked for clarification, so we have addressed a number of the common questions and misconceptions surrounding testing and tagging of electrical appliances.

What is Testing and Tagging ?

Test and Tag or Testing and Tagging, is the name given to the process of checking the safety of portable electrical appliances (240v single phase, or 415v 3 phase), that are connected to the electrical supply by a flexible cord or connecting device. There are two components, a visual inspection of the appliance, and an electrical test of the appliance performed with electrical testing equipment.

If the appliance passes the test, a tag is attached outlining key information such as who performed the test, the test date and when the next test is due. If the appliance fails, an “out of service” tag is applied to the appliance, the appliance is withdrawn from service, and needs to be repaired or replaced.

Why is Testing and Tagging required?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act) requires electrical equipment at workplaces to be safe and not expose workers to hazards.

AS/NZS 3760:2010 is the current Australian Standard that provides regulations and guidelines for the testing and tagging of electrical appliances. The standard provides recommendations around test and tag intervals, outlines who can perform appliance testing, and provides testing guidelines.

The primary reason for testing and tagging appliances is to ensure people’s safety when they come into contact with electrical appliances in the workplace, and minimising the risk of an electrical hazard. Employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their employees.

Who is responsible for Testing and Tagging?

As outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations), the person having control of a workplace or access to that workplace, i.e. employer, self-employed person, main contractor, must ensure that all portable plug-in electrical equipment and residual current devices (RCDs) at the workplace are safe and appropriately inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person.

AS/NZS 3760:2010 states “The owner of the premises; OR the owner of the electrical equipment; OR a person who has a legal responsibility for the safety of electrical equipment within the scope of the standard” are responsible for the safety of electrical equipment.

What type of electrical equipment needs to be Tested and Tagged?

Any portable appliance that has a flexible cord, a removable plug that can be plugged into a powerpoint in the workplace needs to be tested and tagged.

Some examples of items that require testing and tagging:

  • Laptop and mobile phone chargers
  • Desktop computers and monitors
  • Office equipment, Printers, Photocopiers, Shredders
  • Kitchen appliances, Fridges, Kettles, Urns,
  • Heaters and Fans
  • Electric power tools and chargers
  • Extension cords and Power boards
  • Televisions, Radios, and Audio Visual equipment
  • Portable RCD’s
  • Vacuum cleaners and electrical cleaning equipment

How often should appliances be Tested and Tagged?

The Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 table 4, recommends testing and tagging frequencies based on the environment the appliance is located in, these should be seen as a minimum requirement, and businesses can undertake their own risk assessment to determine an appropriate frequency for their workplace.

For some common work environments, the following frequencies are generally accepted:

  • Building, construction and demolition sites: 3 monthly
  • Factories, warehouses and production sites: 6 monthly
  • Environments where the equipment/supply cord is prone to flexing or open to damage: 12 monthly
  • Environment where the equipment/supply cord is not prone to flexing or open to damage: 5 yearly

Who can Test and Tag electrical equipment?

In accordance with AS/NZS 3760:2010, testing and tagging of electrical appliances can only be undertaken by a “competent person”, and this is defined as a person who has acquired, through training, qualification or experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skills required to test electrical equipment competently.

At ComSpark we always use a WA licensed electrician to perform testing and tagging, as we believe an electrician is better equipped to understand test results, and can also provide advice and repairs over and above simply testing the appliance.

What records need to be kept?

To remain compliant with AS/NZS 3760:2010 organisations need to maintain historical records for electrical testing carried out in the workplace. Requirements include:

  • A test tag should be attached to each electrical appliance tested, indicating date, item, person performing the test, and the status of the test (pass/fail)
  • An asset register should be maintained providing a historical record of all tested items, including details of faulty items, and any repair action taken
  • A log or register of inspection and test results, including the date, who performed it, results, and date for next testing

 What happens if you don’t meet the Testing and Tagging requirements?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act) requires electrical equipment at workplaces to be safe and not expose workers to hazards.

Individuals and corporations convicted of breaching the OSH Act are subject to fines and imprisonment (for serious offences). Penalties vary depending on the seriousness and culpability, and can range from $5,000 for minor infringements by individuals, to $625,000 for serious infringements by corporations.

Is your workplace compliant? Contact Comspark Electrical on 08 6336 7210 to find out more.