The purpose of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1996 and other related regulations is to ensure the safety of electrical equipment at job sites across Australia. Although these regulations vary slightly between states and territories, the responsibility for providing a safe workplace environment lies consistently on the shoulders of business owners no matter where they operate, so it’s important to understand exactly what is required. Compliance with these regulations is mandatory and failure to follow them can cause some serious trouble. Below are some common questions and information about the Test and Tag system.
Who Needs to Participate in Test and Tag in Canberra?
Any business that has its electricity supplied through an electrical socket and experiences conditions that may expose electrical equipment to damage must regularly have it inspected for damage, wear, and potential electrical defaults. These conditions include exposure to moisture and heat, vibration, dust, corrosive chemicals, and anything that may cause mechanical damage. The business owner or employer is the person explicitly responsible for keeping up with these routine maintenance procedures.
It’s important to note that the regulations vary between construction sites and all other work environments. These variations include frequency of testing and who is considered competent to complete the tests.
Who Can Perform These Inspections and Tests?
There are certain qualifications that determine an electrician’s competency to perform necessary tests of electrical equipment. The electrician must have acquired all of the necessary skills and knowledge through training and hands-on experience and prove their qualifications in order to be considered. They must be familiar with and qualified to perform the specific testing and tagging methods for installations and regular maintenance that are outlined in AS/NZS 3760: 2010 and AS/NZS 3012: 2010.
A competent person who is not a licensed electrician can, in some circumstances, use a portable appliance tester to perform necessary tests. The operator must be properly trained in the use of the device and have completed a competency assessment course conducted by an accredited organization in order to be considered qualified.
What Record of the Test Must be Obtained?
Regular records must be kept between tests and attached to the equipment in question via a permanent tag. This tag should specify the name of the electrician or other competent persons who carried out testing, the date when it was performed, and the outcome in addition to the anticipated date of the next test. Should the equipment pass, this tag must be left in place until the next scheduled test. Should it fail, it must be removed from the environment and properly disposed of, at which point the tag can be removed.
Why is it Important?
Employee safety at the workplace is of tantamount importance. Should someone be injured due to an electrical malfunction, it is legally the responsibility of the business owner or employer. In addition to the potential for personal injury, insufficiently maintained electrical equipment increases the chances of property damage due to an electrical fire. The regulations that have been put in place by the government exist in order to help ensure that these unfortunate occurrences are avoided through proper maintenance.
Are These Regulations Consistent Across the Country?
Currently, the WHS regulations apply in almost all states and territories. Victoria relies instead on its own Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, which details similar requirements. Western Australia is making plans to adopt the same legislation in the near future, but currently has their own requirements for different work environments divided into construction, mining, hostile environments, and non-hostile environments. This helps to determine how often electrical equipment must be tested. In most situations, West Australia businesses must comply with the frequency limitations laid out in AS/NZS 3012 and 3760.
How Can Business Owners Help to Ensure Electrical Safety and Compliance Between Tests?
The first step is to familiarize themselves with the requirements of Canberra Test and Tag and ensuring that the required testing is performed on schedule. In addition, it is important to maintain a safe operating environment for any operational electronic equipment to minimize the chances of damage and danger to the physical property and any personnel. The laws are in place to ensure that business owners take direct actions to ensure workplace safety and represent only a basic level of direct legal compliance. Further action such as regular inspection and immediate reports of damage or excessive wear may be necessary to prevent hazardous conditions in between tests.