Industries usually refer to the process of test and tagging. This is done by various sectors and in some is a mandatory process. It is the regular practice of checking the safety of devices, such as portable electrical equipment or appliances, and involves two distinct parts, the first one is to inspect the item for any defects or damage and the second is testing it with a Portable Appliance Tester.
The Portable Appliance Tester is specifically created for testing and tagging. This “in-service inspection & testing of electrical equipment”, as is formally known as, was first introduced in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the Republic of Ireland, as a routine check and safety precaution.
The tagging comes in once the testing is done, and the indication of a tag on an item means it has been tested. There is also further information written on the tag itself, like the name or initials of the person who tested the item, the test date, and when it is due to be checked next.
All items have their separate protocols, some need to be tested more often than others. Ensuring the safety of those who use the appliances or equipment is fundamental to the idea behind the process, and also because of the electrical hazard risk, this method is implemented more often than not.
The AS/NZS 3760
This is the Australian Standard that oversees the industry standard and regulations in terms of electrical safety or portable appliances. The guidelines and regulations for the test and tag industry come directly from the training center and are to be followed precisely. More about this can be found online. The guidelines also include recommendations for various issues.
Equipment in Workplaces That Need PAT
There is various equipment inside the workplace that needs to be tested. To check if yours falls into the standard, Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT is done on the following:
- Items that exceed 205m in height
- Fixed or hard-wired items
- Demo items like sample items at a warehouse of the appliance store
- Warehouse outlet store appliances
- Equipment that needs to be dismantled
There are two ways of getting this done, either by hiring the official services who will send their licensed technicians and servicemen to the site to perform the duty or you can do it in-house. If you decide to do it in-house there are a few things to consider besides buying the right equipment for it:
- You need test tags
- You need test equipment such as the tester and a printer
- You need to train your staff via the test and tagging center (and on-going)
- Training your staff in reporting software
- Have the Australian standards and guidance information
- The correct insurances for performing the task
Devices That Need Testing and Tagging
There are many portable devices that one needs to check and if you’re not sure if you run a business that entails having to test its appliances, this website may help clarify this for you: electricaltesting.com.au/test-and-tag-perth/
In Perth, just as it is in most of Australia, some examples of business equipment that need to get checked, include laptop computers, power boards, extension cords, kitchen appliances, photocopiers, printers, fax machines, desk lamps, vacuum cleaners, forklift chargers, double insulated appliances and more.
Can you spot the trend here? It is mainly to do with equipment that has an electrical current passing through it and needs to be plugged in for any reason, charging or operating.
Depending on the appliance, the typical time frame is a few minutes. However, the more complicated the appliance the more time it would take. If you choose to call the appropriate services, do remember you will need to turn off all equipment before they take a look.
How to tell if your appliance has passed or failed? If you have one that has the word ‘danger’ on it, or a f=danger tag placed on it, it means that it needs to either be replaced or repaired, before you can take it out and use it again. These would be high-risk items and as per the guidelines need to be fixed immediately.
How Often Should You Test?
This would depend entirely on the environment and the level of risk of the items within it. According to the AS/NZS 3760:2010, it is specific about the different levels. For instance, if the environment harbors high-risk items, then they will need to be tested almost every month, some can be left for up to 3 months, 6 months, and even a year.
Low-risk environments can get away with a yearly inspection or even a 5-year inspection at best. The Australian standard has a table of these timeframes outlined in it for all to read. If you are hiring the appropriate services to do this for you, you should make sure of a few things, they are licensed, knowledgeable and inspect everything in accordance with the AS/NZS 3760: 2010 strict guidelines.
The shelf life of 2 weeks before the items being tested is allowed. This usually means, when the testing authorities send a reminder to businesses when it is due time, they usually give them 4 weeks to schedule the appointment for them to come on-site. Their system will then send you a copy of the results via email or you can download them from your account on their website.
It is mandatory to keep all records of your appliances or equipment and once they have been inspected, these records must state the same information on the sheets as is on the tags themselves i.e. name, date, status (pass or fail), next due date, etc. these are usually referred to by the authorities as historical records or ‘asset registers’, which are updated after every inspection.
We hope the information above helps to give you a bit more insight into this procedures involved and why it is fundamental to any business that falls under the category, to get it done before it is too late.
Image Credits: Malvineous