What is Portable Appliance Testing? (Test & Tagging)

Portable appliance testing (also known as test and tagging) is the process of checking the safety of portable electrical appliances. A portable appliance is an electrical appliance that can be moved from one place to another (e.g. extension cords, printers, electric drills, fridges, etc.)

Portable Appliance Testing is completed in a two-part test (visual inspection and an electrical test using a Portable Appliance Tester). A Portable Appliance Tester (PAT) is the main piece of equipment used to test the appliances. This allows the technician to conduct an electronic test to ensure the appliance is safe by providing a pass or fail result.

Electrical test and tagging is completed as a safety measure to protect the people in the workplace that come into contact with the appliance and prevent an electrical hazard (i.e. electrical fires, shocks, etc.). Test and tagging also encourages the longevity of devices.

All electrical test and tagging is completed in line with the AS/NZ3760:2010 Australian Standards.

Who needs to have Portable Appliance Testing completed?

As per the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004), all businesses have a legal obligation to maintain their duty of care. Employers are required to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe, hazard-free workplace. This includes having an electrical maintenance program that identifies electrical hazards, conducts appropriate risk-assessment and controls, or eliminates these risks.

The AS/NZ3760:2010 Australian Standard clearly outlines that regular testing and tagging of portable electrical appliances is optimal for creating a safe workplace.

If you work in construction, demolition and mining, all electrical equipment must be inspected, tested and tagged every three months, as per the AS/NZ3012:2010 Standard. In fact, if you arrive to your job without tagged equipment, you can be turned away from the site until you have had your equipment completed. There are specific colour-coded tags that correspond to specific months of the year to outline if the equipment has been tagged in line with the three-month intervals.

How often do I need to have my testing completed?

There are two main determining factors as to how often you should have your electrical equipment tested and tagged:

  1. the location/ environment of the item
  2. the type of appliance it is and how prone to movement/ damage it is

As per the AS/NZ3760:2010 standard requirements, we recommend the following frequency as a minimum:

  • 3 months: building, construction and demolition
  • 6 months: factories, warehouses and production
  • 12 months: an environment where the equipment/ supply cord is prone to flexing or open to abuse
  • 5 years: an environment where the equipment/ supply cord is not prone to flexing or open to abuse (a typical example of this might be a company’s server room).

It is important to note that these are the recommended frequencies; however, it is best to speak to your technician for exact timeframes specific to your workplace.

What type of equipment needs testing?

In short, any appliance that can be plugged into a power point (flexible cord and a removable plug) can be tested. Generally, electrical devices are classed as either:

  • Class 1: This is an earthed appliance, i.e. kettles, toasters, microwaves, powerboards.
  • Class 2: This is a double-insulated appliance (usually identifiable by a symbol – square within a square), i.e. most electric drills, hair dryers.

Any items used in the workplace should be tested, even if they are not company-owned. This includes any personal items that are brought into the workplace.

If you are unsure whether or not the items you have can be tested, please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to discuss your testing with you.

What is included with my testing?

When you have your testing completed with The Local Guys – Test & Tag, your technician will:

  • Conduct a visual inspection: The whole appliance will be examined, looking for any damage or defects to the cord, appliance or plug.
  • Complete the electrical test: Using a PAT tester, the insulation resistance, earth resistance and polarity of the appliance will be tested. If everything passes the test, the item will be recorded as a pass and will be tagged. If the appliance fails any of the tests, it will be recorded as a failure and will be tagged with a ‘failed item’ tag.
  • Notify you if there have been any failed items and advise you what to do with them.
  • Provide you with a comprehensive report: The report states each item that has been tested, its location, class, pass/fail, date of testing and next due date. This report can also be used as an asset register.
  • Provide you with a certificate of compliance: Your certificate of compliance outlines the services completed and their next due date.
  • Notify you when your test and tag is due again: Your testing information is recorded in our database and CRM, so your technician will remind you when your testing is due again.

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 Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have new equipment tested?

No, it is not a requirement to have new electrical equipment tested as it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure the initial safety of the appliance. However, we recommend that the new item is still visually inspected for any apparent damage and tagged with a ‘new to service tag’.

Who can perform test and tagging?

According to AS/NZ3760:2010, someone who is deemed as a ‘competent person’ can perform test and tagging in Australia. To gain a test and tag licence and be considered competent, an individual must complete the relevant test and tag course.

At The Local Guys – Test & Tag, all technicians are fully qualified and complete ongoing company training to remain proficient in the latest skills and knowledge. Our technicians also stay updated with relevant information and changes regarding the industry and the AS/NZ3760 Standard.

What happens with failed items?

If an item fails the visual inspection or the electrical PAT test, the item will be deemed as a failure. The technician will place a ‘failed item’ or an ‘out of service’ sticker on the appliance and record this on your comprehensive report. Your technician will notify you of the failed item(s) at your business so you can have these removed, repaired, or replaced.

How long does it take to test the equipment?

Your technician will need to conduct the visual and electrical test, which usually only takes a couple of minutes to complete each item. In order to perform the electrical test, your appliance will need to be unplugged. Thankfully, the PAT test only takes approximately 30 seconds to complete, so there is only little disruption to your work. Items such as laptops will not be affected by the test as they have an inbuilt battery which allows you to continue to work while we test the cord. Your technician will notify you before turning off and unplugging any equipment.

At The Local Guys – Test & Tag, we can perform your testing substantially quicker than other companies due to the processes and practices we have set in place, meaning there is less disruption to your workplace.

Request A Quote

Please fill in ALL the below information and one of our friendly staff will contact you within 2 business hours to discuss your testing.

Request A Quote

Please fill in ALL the below information and one of our friendly staff will contact you within 2 business hours to discuss your testing.