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It's not only about safety - Why Test and Tag?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

I was reminded the other day that Test and Tagging is not only about personal safety. Although that is the most important reason. So Why do we test and tag?

Recently, I was working at a large office complex and got to talking with the manager about how sometimes you wonder why Computers, multi-boxes, TV's etc. should be tested. I mean it is very rare that someone will get an electrical shock off of any of those things or the cable be chewed up by a circular saw. More than likely the appliance will just stop working.

I say "not often" because it does actually happen from time to time.)

He promptly reminded me that for their situation, it wasn't about safety, as the risks were extremely low, it was about compliance and insurance, and not losing the business because of a technicality.

Every business is required to be insured in some way or another. Let's be frank here, it is negligent to not be insured. But in an office situation, all assets need to be insured and you need to ensure you have taken "all practicable steps" to prevent any loss or damage to the building, equipment or people.

Unless you get a "WOF" for your equipment, that vital yet low cost part of the equation has not been adhered to and in the unfortunate event of an electrical fire, it allows the insurance company a potential window to dispute your insurance claim.

Insurance rejected

Why would you deliberately give insurance companies an "instant out" of your claim?

It is true, anything can happen at any time. The same goes for your car. Think of Test and Tag as an electrical WOF for your appliances to ensure that at a fixed point in time, your equipment is deemed safe for use. It also shows your insurance company that you take safety seriously and have complied with the relevant requirements.

Apart from getting your business open again after an event, there are some scary consequences for not taking all practicable steps.

Consequences can include fines under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015:

For offences where a person's action, or failure to act occurs, and they know it is likely to cause serious harm, the maximum penalty is:

  • $600,000 for the company;

  • $600,000 and up to 5 years prison for company directors;

  • $600,000 and up to 5 years prison for company officers;

  • $300,000 and up to 5 years prison for workers.

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