Test and Tag Mistakes to Avoid

Electrical equipment and safety go hand in hand, especially when you work in the Test and Tag Industry. It goes without saying how important it is to ensure that electrical equipment is fit for use given the extent of harm a faulty appliance can do to people and the workplace.

Even though testing and tagging is a straightforward process, there are still many misconceptions about it and why it’s done in the first place. Read on to know about 8 common and hugely mistaken myths circling the test and tag industry.

Test and Tag Myths Debunked

MYTH 1: You have to be an electrician to test and tag electrical equipment

This is something we hear on a daily basis! Put simply, you don’t have to be an electrician test and tag, or even have an electrical background. To help explain this – according to AS/NZS 3760:2022 (referred to as 'the Test and Tag Standard'), you must be deemed as a Competent Person to carry out testing and tagging services in Australia. This basically means that by undertaking a Test and Tag Course and succesfully completing it, you can be given the title of Competent Person and you can then freely test and tag as you wish.

MYTH 2: You don't need to test and tag new equipment

This is a huge misconception that new equipment being sold is considered safe at that time. After all, they can't sell it if it isn't safe, right? In Australia, new equipment only requires a visual inspection, which basically means you visually look at the appliance for any defects or damage. If this passes, a New to Service Test Tag is then placed onto the item which tells people that the item has not been tested and will require testing in the future.
Now, there may be a situation where the equipment is new to you, but in reality, has been used before. In such a case, it is advised to make sure the equipment is fully checked and tested before usage. This might include stores that sell second-hand equipment. In this case, it actually falls under a different Standard and should have its own specific second hand equipment test tag.
Test and Tag Myths

MYTH 3: Testing an appliance once is enough

This one is a big no-no! Portable appliances need to be tested regularly, but this is often depending on the environment where the appliances are being used. For example, equipment that is used in the building, construction, and demolition industries, it's recommend testing every 3 months. This is mainly due to the higher chance of the equipment being damaged in this setting. In safer places like office server rooms, items such as cords and appliances can be tested yearly. Generally what you'll find is that the bigger the risk, the more frequently it will need to be tested. 

MYTH 4: All Portable Appliance Testers will do the job

Unfortunately, no. Leakage testing, also known as a run test or load test, is a requirement of the AS NZS 3760 Standard for equipment with electronic switches or components that must be powered by the mains in order to operate. This involves connecting the equipment to the PAT Tester and turning the equipment on to check whether any [fault] current is leaking to earth. Many of the testers available on the market can't perform this test and you’ll be pretty annoyed when you find out they can't fulfil the requirements of the standard when you start testing. This is where we come in, speak to the PAT experts at Appliance Testing supplies before purchasing (especially if you are ordering online).
Test and Tag Myths

MYTH 5: You can't test computers because they are sensitive equipment

In most cases this is incorrect as a computer is tested and tagged the same way we would test a toaster. If there is real concern that an appliance may be damaged due to parts of the testing process, there are ways to perform only the critical tests and omit the part that is causing concern. We offer lifetime support services, to anyone who has bought equipment through us or has completed our course. If you face any issues with testing an item and need help, you can always get in touch with us. Also, you can read more about this in our article on How to test and tag a computer.

MYTH 6: An appliance that has been tagged is safe to use

No, it’s always a good idea to check the tag and see when the appliance was last tested. A tag does not necessarily mean that the appliance is safe as it mainly implies that the equipment was tested sometime in the past. A good practice is to check the information given on the tag, see the date it was tested on, who tested it, when is the next test due and read any remarks written. You'll be amazed and how many test tags are out of date and require a new test to be performed.

MYTH 7: You can use duct tape to patch a wire

We definitely do not recommend this because it’s certainly not a safe electrical practice. It is important that you follow the rule book which says that if an appliance is damaged in any way, then it will most likely fail at the visual inspection phase. If you still intend to test the appliance and the result says fail, then you need to decide whether it’s worth repairing or just simply needs to be discarded.

MYTH 8: You only have to test and tag the equipment that is being regularly used

Actually, quite the opposite. Equipment that has hardly been used and only gets pulled out occasionally has more reasons to be tested than the appliances you’re using daily. Since you’re not using this equipment, often you don’t know what condition it’s in. Even though a visual inspection can give a great idea about its form, there is no way you can completely tell if it’s working perfectly fine until the appliance is tested and tagged.