What is Electrical Testing and Tagging?

Test & Tag It Service and Support

Test and Tag is the name given to the process of visually inspecting and electrically testing in-service electrical equipment for personal use and/or safety. Test and Tag can be also referred to as:

Test and Tag

  • Electrical Testing
  • Electrical Tagging
  • Appliance Testing and Tagging
  • Portable Appliance Testing

The appliance undergoes a visual inspection for defects such as damage or missing components and a process of electrical testing to measure earth continuity, insulation resistance and polarity. After testing has determined a pass, a test tag is attached to the appliance lead indicating when it was tested, when the next test is due, and a tracking code. Retesting intervals of equipment can vary depending on the environment where the equipment is located. Testing and Tagging should be conducted by a “competent person” - “A Competent Person is a person who has the necessary practical and theoretical skills, acquired through training, qualification, experience or a combination of these, to correctly undertake the tasks prescribed by this Standard.” The Standard also notes that a Competent Person is not required to be a registered or licensed electrical practitioner
eg. Electrician, therefore you are not paying for Licensed Electrician rates.

The Standard specifies procedures for the safety inspection and testing (Test & Tag) of

  • Single phase and 3 phase electrical equipment (ie. nominal 240V and 415V)
  • Products connected to the electrical supply by a flexible cord and/or connecting device
  • Portable RCD's (Residual Current Devices) at 6mth and 12mth intervals
  • Fixed RCD's at the switch board at 6mth and 12mth intervals
  • New equipment placed into service for the first time
  • New equipment that is already in-service
  • Equipment that has been serviced or repaired
  • Equipment that is returning to service
  • Equipment from a second-hand sale
  • Equipment that is available for hire
  • New equipment that is already in-service

RCD (Safety Switches) & Electrical Work

Test & Tag It Service and Support

Effective January 2012 and as stated under the model WHS Regulations, it is mandatory for all businesses to install and have RCD's tested on every circuit in their business.

An electric switchboard is an assembly of panels where each panel contains switches that allow electricity to be redirected from one source to another. All users are protected from electrocution by safety switches (RCD's) and Circuit Breakers by automatically shutting off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances. This stops the chance of current flowing to earth, through a person, electrocuting them.

RCD's monitor the current flow in the active and neutral wires of the power lead or device connected to it, all the time looking for an imbalance or difference in the currents in each wire. All RCD's must undergo a trip and push button test every 12mths and have a push button test performed every 6 months (as per Australian Standard AS3760:2010). When performing a 12 month trip test of the RCD, both the 180 degree circuits are tested by applying a load current of 30 amps, the RCD must then trip under 300msecs. If either the RCD fails to trip or fails to trip under 300ms, then it's an automatic failure and requires replacing. The 6 month test requires for the push button to be tested to ensure that there is tension in the spring and that the RCD cuts out the power supply to that particular circuit, if the RCD fails to trip or reset then it requires to be replaced.

A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage as a result of overload or short circuit. Its purpose is to detect a fault condition and to immediately discontinue electrical flow by interrupting continuity. Circuit breakers also cut the power off when electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it. In these cases, too much current flowing through a circuit heats wiring to unsafe levels, which eventually results in an electrical fire.

Phase Testing & Tagging

Test & Tag It Service and Support

Three phase appliances are simply appliances that use three actives, in order to increase the amount of power available, without having to increase the cable size, as the current is divided into three across each phase. The combination of these 3 phases of voltages outputs approx. 400 volt AC.

For many single earthed appliances, an earth continuity and insulation test is sufficient to test the electrical integrity of the appliance. However, the Australian standard specifies that for appliances that must be energised to be in the 'on' position a current leakage test shall be performed. For that reason, many single and 3-Phase appliances require a current leakage test.

As per single phase testing, 3-Phase appliances should be tested the same way but with extra considerations. There are a numerous amperage rated plugs and sockets with either 4 or 5 pin combinations, further complicated by different shapes, keyways and current ratings and consideration must be taken for machinery with soft starts, variable speed drives and electromechanical devices - all of these which can not solely rely on IR (insulation resistance) testing alone, hence the need to energise the appliance to perform a current leakage test.

All staff at Stay Safe Test and Tag Services have undergone the necessary training and are qualified to perform Test and Tag procedures to all types of 3 phase appliances and applications.