Test and Tag Inspections Protect Against Injury and Death


Do you know what it means to test and tag an appliance? Test and tag is an inspection that ensures the safety of electrical appliances. The inspections are performed in domestic and industrial settings. To appreciate the importance of test and tag consider the statistics that follow.

Electrical Shock Statistics

Over two years, electrical accidents resulted in 1,065 Australians being hospitalised. Fifty-five of those electrical accidents were fatal. In 73% of electrical shock cases the source of electricity was a home appliance. Among those hospitalised because of exposure to electricity, 47% were injured at work.

The Test and Tag Inspection

Test and tag inspections begin with a visual inspection of an appliance or appliances for any shock hazards. The safety of the appliance is double-checked with a portable appliance tester. Upon determining that the appliance is safe the inspector will tag the appliance.

About the Tags

The colour of the tags used in the demolition and construction industries is mandated under AS/NZS 3012. The colour of an inspection tag represents one of three months in which the inspection was performed.

  • Red-December, January, and February
  • Green-March, April, and May
  • Blue-June, July, and August
  • Yellow-September, October, and November

Outside of demolition and construction tag colour is a matter of personal choice. Other information on the tag includes the inspector’s name, date of inspection, and date of the next inspection.

Who Performs a Test and Tag Inspection?

Mythology has it that test and tag inspections must be performed by a licensed electrician. The fact is that under AS/NZS 3760:2010 a person only needs to be “competent” and complete a training course to be a test and tag inspector. Inspections are performed by companies like Jim’s Test & Tag, to name an example.

Test and Tag Inspector Training

Becoming a test and tag inspector requires the completion of a usually one day course. The training primarily consists of learning to use a personal appliance tester (PAT). Anyone wishing to perform test and tag inspections in Queensland must take the extra step of acquiring a restricted electrical contractors license.

Test and Tag Industry Oversight

AS/NZS 3760:2010 was mentioned previously. The rules governing test and tag inspections were established by a private organisation Standards Australia in conjunction with the Australian government. AS/NZS outlines the methodology for conducting inspections. Earth continuity (grounding), insulation, and polarity must be checked. The required frequency of inspections is covered under AS/NZS 3760:2010.

The Types of Appliances Inspected

Secondary receptacles purchased by the consumer to reduce the risk of shock known as a residual current device (RCDs) are subject to test and tag inspections. Appliances generating a maximum of 50 volts with a flexible or removable cord are inspected. For test and tag purposes appliances are divided into two classes, earthed i.e.; toasters and double insulated i.e.; power tools.

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