HOW OFTEN DO I TEST AND TAG?
When understanding the test and tag intervals and how often an electrical appliance should be tested, the main underlying factor is the type of environment that appliance is located in.
Just as important, the AS/NZS 3760 standard should be seen as a minimum test and tag requirement. A lot of workplaces and company owners will have different test and tag frequencies because of their own risk management and OHS planning. Likewise, some of these industries might require you to use certain Test and Tag Colours.
For the most common environments, we recommend the following frequencies:
3 months: building, construction and demolition - this requires the most frequent testing due to it being considered a harsh environment and therefore an appliance being damanged is more likely compared to other settings.
6 months: factories, warehouses and production - this type of an environment isn't considered as harsh, but because appliances are often used constantly it needs to be tested every 6 months.
12 months: an environment where the equipment/supply cord is prone to flexing or open to abuse - this is often referred to as a hostile environment as the appliance can be overused and is therefore exposed to abuse by the user, as well as dust, general deteriation and the weather.
5 yearly: an environment where the equipment/supply cord is not prone to flexing or open to abuse - this is commonly referred to as a non-hostile environment - a typical example of this might be a company's server room.
WHAT IS TEST AND TAG?
Test and Tag 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, followed by electrically testing it with a Portable Appliance Tester.
Once tested, the item is placed with a tag to confirm that it has in fact been tested, along with showing 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, while also minimising the risk of an electrical hazard.
DOES NEW EQUIPMENT NEED TO BE TESTED AND TAGGED?
In Australia, when the equipment is new, the supplier is deemed responsible for its initial electrical safety.
It's first worth mentioning that any newly purchased equipment does not need to be tested. However, it will still need to be visually inspected for any obvious damage and tagged.