Typical Features to Understand More about Test and Tag Services
As per the current Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010, testing & tagging of in-service electrical equipment is mandated – whether the device is used personally or at a workplace. Test & tag is a process of visually inspecting and electrically testing an equipment to ensure it is safe to use. This process in-turn protects the device and also the people using it. The process is typically carried out by certified professionals – and tagged as safe or unsafe. This process is mandatory for companies, as they will be responsible for their employees’ safety.
The process involves all the electrical equipment which are in use.
Types of equipment
Almost all types of common electrical equipment require testing & tagging. Especially under Occupational Health & Safety regulations in Australia, equipment used at a workplace or commercial outings need to be tested & tagged regularly to make sure there are no accidents and people using them are safe. Some common equipment tested & tagged are printers, computers, projectors, phones, kettles, ovens, refrigerators, AC power packs, other power boards, chargers and so on.
There are some common defects that come up during a test resulting in the equipment being tagged as unsafe (failing the test). Some of the common defects are frayed cords, faults in connections and wiring, damaged safety switches, earthing and insulation problems, unsafe environment, equipment exposed to other magnetic devices, corrosion, water or moisture.
Cost, duration and Frequency
The cost of the process differs from company to company, the number of people used, number of equipment tested and other factors. Duration too depends on the type of device being tested. Frequency depends on where it is being used, what are the safety issues and other environmental factors. Based on this, the process can be repeated in 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 1 year, 5 years and so on.
The process starts with a visual inspection of the equipment. This step will tell you which class the equipment falls under (Class I – earthed, Class II – double insulated, Class III – which use their own power but need frequent charging). The professional checks for visual faults e.g. frayed ends, connections, wiring, cuts, flexibility etc.
The next step is testing the equipment electrically. Typically, Portable Appliance Tester (PATs) is used to test the device. The devices are tested for insulation resistance, earth resistance, polarity, performance, voltage and current leakages. Following this is the process of tagging the device and using the information for record keeping purposes.