Testing and Tagging is a name given to the procedure of checking the safety of electrical plug-in equipment.
It involves two parts: Initially the most important test; inspecting the appliance for any visual damage, followed by conducting electrical tests with a PAT tester.
When all tests passed, a tag is placed on the lead near the plug. This way the end-user can check who tested it, the test date and when the next test is due. It is critical that the end-user ends all use if he or she notices any visual damage or malfunctioning and report this immediately.
In case a tool or appliance fails,
a red 'Out of Service' sticker is attached, followed by or repairing or disposing of the item.
The main reason behind testing and tagging is to assure the safety of the people in the workplace in contact with the appliance, while also reducing the risk of an electrical hazard.
The AS/NZS 3760 is the Australian Standard that provides guidelines and regulations for the test and tag industry with regards to the electrical safety of appliances. It sets out recommendations to issues such as test and tag intervals, defines who can perform testing and tagging and other general guidelines.
Who needs to test and tag?
Construction, demolition and mining sites are required to have their appliances tested and tagged every three months because of the harsh nature of the industry which is likely to degrade equipment at a faster rate. The tag colours will change for different periods throughout the year:
Red - December to February
Green - March to May
Blue - June to August
Yellow - September to November
Except for those industries, testing and tagging is not a legislative requirement for other workplaces. Nevertheless, the employer does have a duty of care to ensure the safety of its employees, meaning that if someone hurt themselves from an appliance that wasn’t tested and founded unsafe, they could be found liable. Aforementioned why it’s the employer’s responsibility to have all portable electrical devices tested.