The legislation around Testing and Tagging that you need to know...
Regulations, Legislation and Standards
While New Zealand and Australia share the Standards AS/NZS3760 and AS/NZS3012 as being the basis for how to test and tag, there are differences in the legislation.
In New Zealand testing time frames for retesting and inspecting equipment can be found
in Table 4 of NZS3760.
Although the NZS3760 standard sets out how Test and Tag is to be be done, it is a combination of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010
- Clause 15 - Using works, installations, fittings, appliances, and associated equipment
- Clause 26 - When fittings and appliances in use deemed to be electrically safe
and the Health and Safety at Work Act (Clause 36) that determines that all businesses should utilise a Test and Tag regime.
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About the Standard AS/NZS3760 (current version 2010)
This Standard started life back in 1990 as AS3760 and was revised and adopted by New Zealand in 1996 becoming AS/NZS3760. It was again reviewed and a 2000 edition was published. In 2001 a further edition was published which had a number of significant changes and has since undergone considerable work continuing to mature into the 2003 version. This version included the ability to have customised solutions based on Risk Assessment, the 'Responsible Person' was defined, qualifications of a 'Competent Person' clarified and the environments for frequency of inspection and testing revised to be more usage based, rather than specific site based.
In 2010 the latest version, which was a complete revision, was released. Changes in this included revised testing periods in Table 4, new tag requirements to show referencing to AS/NZS3760/3551 and retest time/date.
NOTE: There are some parts of the Standard AS/NZS3760 which apply to just one country - these differences are highlighted within the Standard.
Other Standards such as AS/NZS3012, AS/NZS5761 and AS/NZ5762 etc are also appropriate. It is however AS/NZS3760 which has the greatest general knowledge on testing.
The FOREWORD of this Standard says:
'In-service testing is a necessary part of any safety program to help ensure the safety of persons using electrical equipment in the workplace. This Standard specifies in-service safety inspection and testing protocols and criteria that satisfy these obligations, and provides a cost-effective approach to safety without jeopardising personnel safety or involving excessive equipment downtime.
The OUTCOME STATEMENT says:
AS/NZS3760 will enable persons responsible for the safety of electrical equipment in the workplace to instigate an inspection and testing programme to achieve that aim. It also enables persons undertaking the inspection and testing to carry out the task in a safe and effective manner.'
What does Worksafe NZ say about Testing and Tagging
It was suggested by a senior OSH/Workplace Inspector that whilst testing is not mandatory, maintaining safety is, and unless you have complied with AS/NZS3760 as a minimum then OHS/DOL/WorkCover would not consider you have 'taken all reasonable steps' and would likely use non-compliance with AS/NZS3760 as the basis for prosecution should the need arise.