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Testing and tagging electrical equipment

We thought we would look into the importance testing and tagging electrical equipment in Australia, since it’s a requirement in the Workplace Occupational Health and Safety Legislation to have all electrical equipment tested and tagged on a regular basis.

When an electrical device is tested, this involves a visual inspection of electrical equipment to identify frayed cords or faults that may trip, equipment damaged by moisture or any other electrical hazards that may interfere with the operation of the device. After the visual inspection is done, polarity tests, insulation resistance tests, earth resistance tests and leakage tests are done on the device using a Portable Appliance Tester, which is able to detect all of this. Many of the faults that the Appliance Tester identifies can’t even be seen during the visual inspection.

When all the tests have been done, a tag is placed onto the electrical cable of the device which contains the date that the test was conducted and the due date for the next test. If a device is tested and it is found to be faulty or dangerous to use, a tag is placed on which states that the device is not to be used.

It is vital to regularly tag/ test, because if equipment of this type in the workplace is found to be hazardous or faulty, it can harm employees and even customers, should they be in your premises at the time an incident occurs.  Due to unfortunate events like this occurring, it is imperative to employers to ensure that they are regularly complying with the safety standards, to avoid substantial fines for breaching the Workplace Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

It may seem like a bit of a process to have all devices tested and tagged when you add up the amount of electrical devices and pieces of equipment in your workplace, but considering that hazardous devices can cause all sorts of harm or serious health risks in the workplace, including death to those in possession of a fatally malfunctioning device, it is a reasonable requirement of the Workplace Occupational Health and Safety Legislation to have this done on a regular basis, particularly for insurance policies. Some insurance companies have been known to deny insurance claims, should businesses not be able to provide a date for the last test and tag.

So, now, you might be wondering how often you need to test and tag electrical equipment.

This usually comes down to the type of industry you work in. This might not be as often as you think!

There are some very high-risk industries and some low-risk industries. If you work in an office running a handful of computers and general office equipment like printers and scanners that are stationary on desks, you shouldn’t need to have devices tested and tagged near as often some other industries, as this type of industry is low-risk. If you’re working in the construction industry or in a factory, you will need to get devices tested and tagged more often, as construction is considered a high-risk industry to work in, due to the machinery being used and devices being quite mobile on a frequent basis.

Timeframes as to how often you need to test and tag may vary between states of Australia, but as a general guide, if you are:

a)    Working in the building/ construction industry, you should be testing and tagging every 3 months.
b)    Operating in a factory or warehouse, you should be testing and tagging every 6 months.
c)    In a work-space where electrical equipment is likely to flex or fray, you should be testing and tagging yearly.
d)    In a workplace where electrical equipment is quite stationary and unlikely to flex or fray, you should be testing and tagging every 5 years.

Sometimes you might need to have testing and tagging completed every year for most devices in your workplace, but there may be the exception of a few devices that may only need to be tested and tagged every 5 years.

Contact us today to have your electrical devices tested and tagged.