What are the rules on testing and tagging electrical appliances?


What are the rules on testing and tagging electrical appliances?

An issue for all businesses to address is electrical safety.


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An issue for all businesses to address is electrical safety. This question was recently sent to our editorial team.
What are the rules in regard to the testing and tagging of electrical appliances? And are the rules national?
OHS legislation requires employers and controllers of work premises to ensure that any risk of injury from electricity is eliminated or controlled.
A risk assessment should be completed on all electrical equipment in a workplace. After the completion of the risk assessment, a range of control measures can be implemented to manage the safe operation, such as:
  • routine visual checks by the equipment users 
  • formal visual inspections 
  • maintenance 
  • repair 
  • replacement 
  • use of fixed or portable residual current devices 
  • training and instructing employees in the safe use of the electrical equipment 
  • inspection, testing and tagging if identified through the risk assessment
NSW — example
Clause 64 of the NSW Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 defines a hostile working environment at a place of work where an item of electrical equipment is, in its normal use, subject to operating conditions that are likely to result in damage to the item of equipment This includes an operating environment that may:
  • cause mechanical damage to the item of equipment, or
  • expose the item of equipment to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive substances or dust that is likely to result in damage to the item of equipment. (WorkCover NSW)
WorkCover NSW has published guides on electrical testing and tagging that can be downloaded from the website:
Testing and tagging requirements have been incorporated into state/territory OHS legislation generally.
Victoria and national standards
Here is an extract from Test and Tag Regulations Victoria:
‘Energy Safe Victoria the regulator for electrical and gas safety in Victoria, has not placed any specific regulations on electrical test and tagging. However, under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) employers have a legal liability to provide and sustain a safe working environment which is without risks to employees’ health. This means identifying any dangers related with electrical equipment in a workplace.
In the CDROM Managing Safety in Your Workplace distributed by Worksafe Victoria, it is advised that all electrical testing and tagging for all portable non hard wired appliances, leads and power boards is completed to uphold the employers duty of care under Section 21(2)(a)of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act. To receive a free CD ROM Contact WorkSafe on 03 9641 1333.
AS/NZS3760 In-Service Safety Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment is acknowledged all over the country as the minimum safety obligation for the workplaces. Worksafe Victoria has advised the Victoria Trades Hall Council that they are now “actively enforcing the standard and inspecting all types of premises to confirm introduction of minimum safety testing programs consistent with AS3760.” This standard applies to all types of electrical appliance including leads and power boards in offices, factories and so on (ie computers, microwaves, kettles, tools and even mobile phone charges).‘
Do you have an OHS issue?
Visit our Ask an Expert page for OHS guidance.
Note: This service is only available to paying subscribers of WorkplaceOHS. Inquiries from non-subscribers (including triallists) will not receive a response.
Need more help with OHS? The NSW Business Chamber has a dedicated team of OHS experts who can assist you with your specific OHS issues and problems. If you would like a free and obligation-free initial assessment of what you require in terms of professional assistance, you can obtain more information from our website.
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