What Victorian employers need to know about the testing and tagging of electrical appliances

ITA Electrical on 26 September 2019

As an employer, safety should be your priority. Whether you run an office, shop, construction site or factory, you are required by law to ensure that your workplace and equipment are safe and without risks to health.

What is test and tag?

Test and tag is a way of minimising electrical hazards to people in your workplace.

It helps keep your staff and customers safe, and reduces the risk of fines and even imprisonment of managers arising from breaches of electrical safety laws.

  • ITA Electrical is a leading Melbourne test and tag service provider
  • With over a decade of experience in the industry, we offer a range of test and tag services for electrical equipment and safety appliances
  • We can test and tag your appliances at our own premises or at your workplace

What are the dangers?

dangerous electrical wire

Worksafe Victoria says employers are responsible for identifying any potential workplace risks associated with electrical equipment, assessing those risks and then taking measures to eliminate or control them.

Dangers associated with electrical equipment include:

  • Contact with exposed live parts, which may cause electric shock and burns
  • Equipment faults, which may cause fires and electric shock injury
  • Fire or explosion, where electricity could be the source of ignition

What is required of you as an employer?

The nationally accepted minimum standard for workplace safety around electrical equipment is Australian New Zealand Standard AS/NZS3760.

This standard requires that electrical equipment be regularly tested, and then fitted with a tag.

As an employer you must meet this standard, or you are potentially failing in your duty under Section 21 of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) to maintain a safe working environment.

What equipment does it apply to?

plugs in an office

The ANZ3760 standard applies to all plug-in or portable electrical equipment and appliances, as well as any machinery that is connected to a power supply by a flexible cord.

This includes everything from kettles and computers to circular saws and welding machines.

What is the test, and what is the tag?

Equipment can only be tagged as compliant once it has been subjected to the following tests or inspections: visual, earth continuity, insulation resistance, polarity and earth leakage.

Once it has been tested, a tag must be attached to each appliance that includes the item, date, identity of the person conducting the test, the test result and the required date for retesting.

You must also keep a register of the history of all testing and tagging, as well as a record of all faulty item reports and subsequent actions.

How often must testing be done?

Retesting intervals generally vary from 3 months to 5 years, depending of the environment where the equipment is located.

For example equipment stored in hostile environments may be exposed to damage from moisture, heat, vibration or physical abuse, and thus require more frequent testing.

Who can test and tag?

The ANZ3760 standard says testing and tagging must be done by a 'competent person'.

While the person does not have to be a licensed electrician if they can demonstrate other relevant qualifications and skills, it is always safer to use a qualified electrician with expertise in this area.

Other things to remember

Your testing and tagging should be done by an expert in Victorian requirements, as test and tag regulations vary from state to state and even a small difference can have a big impact on your potential liability.

Anyone engaged in testing and tagging must have a clear understanding of and stay up to date with any changes to the ANZ3760 standard as well as other relevant legislation and electrical safety codes, such as those issued by Safe Work Australia.

Don’t assume a piece of equipment is safe just because it has a test tag. For example, it may have been damaged between testing and tagging intervals. Ensure that damaged equipment is not used, and is either discarded or repaired by a competent person.

As an employer, you have other electrical safety duties beyond test and tag. For example you must provide all necessary information, training and supervision to employees so that they can use electrical equipment safely in the workplace. See WorkSafe Victoria’s documentation for more information.

Contact Melbourne’s test and tag experts

ITA Electrical’s A-grade electricians are licensed and fully qualified to provide a test and tag Melbourne service. We use specialised instruments to test for invisible electrical faults, as well as completing thorough, professional inspections of equipment.

Our electricians can carry out repairs on a range of electrical appliances, and we can plan and coordinate all your testing and tagging for you. Scheduled maintenance can be arranged to ensure your electrical equipment is always safety compliant.

No matter where you are in the greater Melbourne area, there's an ITA electrician near you. We have over a decade of experience serving the greater Melbourne area.

If you require a test and tag expert, request a quote online today.