What is Test and Tag? A Complete Guide
- By Kevin Gawada Trainer at Ausinet – 4 March 2021 – Australian Institute of Electrotechnology
What is Test and Tag?
Companies must conduct regular test and tag practices to ensure that their electrical equipment is safe to use in accordance with worker health and safety standards. The process of checking electronic portable appliances for safety with a portable appliance tester is called test and tag. This is mostly done at workplaces.
Testing and tagging appliances involve a few steps :
- Inspect and check the appliance visually for any damage
- Test the appliance with a portable appliance tester and conduct required checks
- Put a sticker tag on the item to confirm it has been tested and when it is due for the next test
It is important to leave the tags on and schedule another test and tag inspection in advance. This is essential to ensure the safety of people in the workplace and reduce the risk of electronic hazards.
The Australian standard AS/NZS 3760 provides guidelines and regulations for the test and tag industry on the electrical safety of appliances. They also establish rules and recommendations regarding who is authorised to inspect, test, and issue tags, as well as general guidelines.
Who can test and tag electrical equipment?
According to Australian standards AS/NZS 3760:2010, only a competent person can test and tag equipment at their workplace. The person who will need to inspect the equipment will have to take the test and tag course that will provide them with the knowledge and skills to understand the usage of PAT testers.
People wanting to start a Test and Tag business need to obtain a Restricted Electrical Contractor Licence.
Test and tag colours
According to Australian standards AS/NZS 3012, there are four colour combination used quarterly in QLD for tagging electrical appliances, which includes red, green, blue, and yellow test tags (RGBY system).
NSW used to have a separate tag system but now they have revised the policy and follow the same electrical test and tags system as other states.
It is important to to use colour coded tags on electronic appliances, especially on construction sites or where appliances could constitute a hazard, however, tags colour are not a legislative requirement.
If you need to identify a time period interval for test and tagging to be conducted for a specific appliance you can use orange or white for six-monthly testing or black for yearly testing.
Who needs test and tag? Which companies need to test and tag equipment?
Safety is the topmost priority in the mining industry. Testing and tagging of Electrical is a part of the safety culture in the mines and Construction industry in general. Every 3 months, it is mandatory for companies in many industries like construction, mining and demolition to have their appliances tested and tagged. The reason behinds this is the harsh nature of those industries which usually leads to damage to the equipment faster than usual. . Throughout the year test and tag colours will change for example a red tag means that the appliance would have been tested either in December, January or February. Each color represents 3 months.
Testing and tagging is not mandatory for all workplaces but can be in certain industries eg. Construction, demolition or mining. For others, it is the employer’s duty of care to ensure the employee’s safety in the workplace. If someone gets hurt while working, the employer could be liable, this is why it is recommended to test and tag all appliances following the Worksafe guidelines.
In the equipment hire/rental industry, there are stringent requirements as compared to other industries. When equipment is hired, it must be visually inspected by the hirer before every lease and each appliance must also be inspected every 3 months by an authorized person.
What Type Of Equipment Is Tested And Tagged?
Equipments which have less than 50V voltage like flexible cables, removable plugs and extensions leads, cords sets and portable RCD’s need to be tested and tagged.
Electronic devices can be classified in two different categories :
Category 1 – All the earthed electronic appliance includes like toaster , kettles and irons.
Category 2 – Those have special symbol or “Double insulated” mentioned on the appliance. Hair dryers and electric drills are common category 2 appliances.
Test and tags courses
There are different types of test and tag courses available in Queensland in various institutions and all over Australia.
This course is available in all states and the fee depends on the institution selected. This course will teach you how to test and tag appliances using a PAT tester.
If you have previously done a test and tag course and you need to get up to date with current requirements or just refresh your knowledge or get some more practice, this is the ideal course for you.
- Test and Tag Non accredited courses
If you do not require a Nationally recognised certificate, you could do a Test and Tag course simply for your own knowledge and save some money.
Plug top replacement course helps you gain more knowledge about replacing plug top for your personal use.
This course will teach you how to test and tag Three phase equipment which is used in specific industries, typically in large plants or manufacturing companies.