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Do you need to test and tag?

Thought about your electrical safety lately?

In any workplace there are cords, powerpoints, powerboards and appliances.  They are a necessity to run our office or practice rooms.  Have you thought much about the condition of your electrical equipment?  I hadn’t really until I had a test and tag assessment completed a few years ago and was notified my power boards were faulty.  I had no idea this was the case – seemed fine to me when I bought them at the local retail outlet.  Have you had your electrical equipment tested?  Do you need to?

If you run a business, regardless of the size of it, you are responsible for the provision of a safe environment for others to work and for visitors to access your business so they are not exposed to electrical risks.  This is based on the Work Health Safety Act in Australia. Therefore if you own a practice, work for yourself and have people come to visit you, or you manage a service, I would recommend that you get your electrical equipment tested.  Here is a summary from the NSW Government Workcover Code of Practice on 'Managing Electrical Safety in the Workplace 2014' to get you started.

Having your electrical equipment tested for safety, faults and good working condition is called having a test and tag assessment.  These need to be carried out by a person competent in this area, and I would suggest getting someone who is specifically trained to deliver this service. 

What are they looking for?

• obvious damage, defects or modifications to the electrical equipment, including accessories,

connectors, plugs or cord extension sockets

• looking for discolouration that may indicate exposure to excessive heat, chemicals or moisture

• checking the integrity of protective earth and insulation resistance

• checking that flexible cords are effectively anchored to equipment, plugs, connectors and cord extension sockets

• checking that operating controls are in good working order ie they are secure, aligned and appropriately identified

• checking that ventilation inlets and exhausts are unobstructed

• checking that the current rating of the plug matches the current rating of the associated electrical equipment.


So what needs to be tested?

A test and tag assessment should be carried out on yearly basis. In addition to this yearly testing, electrical equipment should also be tested:

• after a repair or servicing that could affect the electrical safety of the equipment (ie undertaken by the person carrying out the repair or servicing before return to service)

• before its first use if bought second-hand.


What about new equipment?

Brand-new electrical equipment that has never been put into use (ie other than second-hand equipment) does not have to be tested before first use. Brand-new electrical equipment, however, should still be visually inspected to ensure that no damage occurred during transport, delivery, installation or commissioning. If the electrical equipment is required to be tested regularly for safety, take the necessary steps to ensure that it does not miss its first required test. The date the electrical equipment was placed into service should be recorded (eg on the record of installation or elsewhere). The electrical equipment may also be fitted with a tag stating:

• that the equipment is ‘new to service’

• the date of entry into service

• the date when the first electrical safety test is due

• that the equipment has not been tested.

Fitting a ‘new to service’ tag is an administrative task that can be carried out by an appropriately trained in-house person.


What records need to be kept?

A record of testing must be kept until the electrical equipment is next tested, permanently removed from the workplace or disposed of. A record of testing must specify the name of the peson who completed the testing and the date.  It also needs to list the outcome of the testing and the date the next testing needs to be carried out. 


Test and tag can be searched under your local Yellow Pages for a supplier, or you may know an electrician who can direct you to the right person for the job.


To fully understand your obligations in this area please read the ‘Managing electrical risks in the workplace code of practice 2014’ which can be found by clicking here.


Stay safe!


Read 17533 times Last modified on Sunday, 31 August 2014 10:51