Testing and Tagging: Required by Law

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We’re lucky enough to live in a country that has a lot of laws to help protect us.

Sometimes when you’re an employer, it can feel a bit frustrating to have to comply with everything – but when the alternative is having an employee get seriously hurt, it’s definitely a good thing to comply.

One of those laws is the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010), which is all about providing a safe workplace for your employees. This includes making sure they aren’t getting electrocuted from your equipment and appliances.

Electrical testing and tagging should form part of every workplace risk management system, so we thought we’d answer a few commonly asked questions we hear about it.

Do I need testing and tagging of my equipment?

Do you have employees?

Do you have equipment?

Do you want to avoid massive fines and penalties?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you really need testing and tagging of your equipment!

Legally, industries such as construction, demolition and mining are required to have their appliances tested and tagged every 3 months. If you’re not in one of these industries, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to get your appliances tested and tagged – don’t forget the Workplace Health and Safety act I mentioned earlier.

Under that act, if someone was hurt from an appliance that wasn’t tested and later found to be unsafe, you’re looking at some trouble.

What is testing and tagging?

We disconnect your devices from the power and then visually inspect them. We check things like the plug, cord and the appliance itself.

We then connect each device to our Portable Appliance Tester (or a “PAT machine”) which does a test of how the power usage is of the device, and makes sure it’s stable.

We then make a record in our test log and, assuming the device passes inspection, we add a tag to the cord.

After testing all your devices, we give you a copy the test log so you can keep record for your workplace health and safety register.

How often should I test and tag my appliances?

There are some timing guidelines you can find in the Australian standards:

  • 3 months: building, construction and demolition industries
  • 6 months: factories, warehouses and production industries
  • 12 months: an environment where the equipment/supply cord is prone to flexing or open to abuse
  • 5 yearly: an environment where the equipment/supply cord is not prone to flexing or open to abuse

What happens if I don’t test and tag my appliances and someone gets hurt?

Uh, oh.

This isn’t a good situation to be in.

Potential worst case scenario: you can get charged with manslaughter. It’s extremely unlikely, but it can happen.

Financially, fines can range from a few thousand for a minor breach, up to $3 million dollars for a Category 1 breach (yup, definitely a LOT cheaper to follow the law in this one).

What now?

Realistically, have a look at whether you need to get your equipment tested and tagged. Don’t think it won’t happen to you – I’m pretty sure every company thinks that until they end up on the prosecution list of the Safework NSW website!

If you do need testing and tagging in Sydney, then give us a call. We’d love to help.

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