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To test or not to test

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

What are the laws around test and tagging?

Look anywhere on the internet and there are personal opinions and advice from experts and non experts alike.

If you are in business and someone has said you need to test and tag, your first thought is probably along the lines of, really? what's that? The next thought is most likely, How much will it cost me? - or, That will cost me too much, maybe next year. Some business owners are likely to go to the internet to find out more details, others will ask their contracted Workplace Safety adviser. To be honest the real answer is not as clear as you would expect.

Test and Tagging specifically, is not mandatory. What is mandatory though, is that equipment is checked regularly and is electrically safe and maintained in a safe condition and according to the Workplace Safety legislation and a record to be kept of the testing.

The legislation also says "Cost is not to be a factor". At Kadec, we understand your legal requirements and operate to the law, however we also have a real world understanding of what a fail might mean to you and your business which is why we are licensed to repair when necessary.

Testing and tagging doesn't guarantee future electrical safety. What it does provide is a snapshot of how safe the appliance is at the time of testing and the care you take of your employees. Think of it like a WOF for your electrical appliances and proof of attitude to your workforce. It is easy to get training to do a basic Test and Tag "In-house". The problem is, unless you can prove that you are competent in checking your appliances are safe, you are taking a massive life and financial risk. It is also debatable if it actually saves you any money. Once the cost of labour, annual calibration of the tester and training/retraining is taken into account, it is quite often that hiring a contractor to do the job will save you money.

There are a range of people who can Test &Tag. From your local electrician to the new guy who started in your place of work last month. The trick, if you can call it that, is to have someone who has the experience in knowing what to look for to keep you and your employees or fellow employees safe.

In past comments, I have shown many reasons to employ a specialist in this area. If you contract an electrician, make sure that if they charge an hourly rate, many of whom charge in excess of $120 per hour, they can test at least 15-17 items an hour on average. As an idea, maybe even get it as a firm quote. If they charge by the tag, you should also check that there are no other hidden costs like travel, call out fee, report cost or any other add on that could be there. - yes they do exist. On the flip side, you don't want to be contracting your safety out to someone who just ticks the boxes for $3.00 per tag either, and believe me I have found appliances that provide no earth protection that have been tested by 'branded companies' and passed as ok. The next thing to consider is, if there are appliances that are failed, can the person testing repair it? The last thing you need is for an important piece of equipment to be failed, then wait for a week or more to have it repaired before you can use it again. (a little secret, I know for a fact some businesses knowingly use unsafe tools after they have been failed and clearly marked with a tag labelled "DANGER")

The images below are some actual fails that I found while testing. The owners who are intelligent people, thought they were OK to use. There are many more examples, some can be seen here.

Unless you are properly trained and have experience in identifying a hazard, are you sure you are safe??

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