Why is Test and Tag so important?

Did you know electrical hazards exist in all workplaces? Each year throughout Australia there are numerous electrical accidents at work involving electric shock, many of which are fatal and could have been avoided. Having your electrical equipment Tested and Tagged by a qualified person is a recommended control relevant to a known hazard (electricity and resultant fire) and assists the minimisation of risk.

To provide an example of the implications for business, here is an extract from an Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 Improvement Notice.  On 24/06/2016 Worksafe Inspectors in Victoria entered a workplace (retail shop) on the basis of a complaint and inspected the whole premises for safety hazards.  Of the 8 Improvement Notices issued to the small business, one was relevant to electrical safety.  The Inspector’s notice said:

“I observed electrical equipment in use at (company name) including:

  • Plant, including portable electrical tools and equipment;
  • Flexible electrical cords (leads); and
  • Appliances

(company name) was unable to provide evidence that a safe system of work has been maintained to inspect, test and maintain electrical equipment in use at the above workplace to the extent necessary to ensure that the risk of injury from electrical shock, from its use, is monitored and controlled.

There were no test tags affixed to the equipment to verify it had been inspected, and (company name) was unable to provide evidence to confirm that a safe system of work is in place to verify that.

In addition, as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) you have legal obligations and have a duty of care to your staff under the WH&S Act 2011. Electricity has the potential to seriously injure and can kill.

In the event of an Electrical Incident, serious penalties may apply and just as importantly the business owner may risk the safety of employees, lose significant stock, suffer significant damage to infrastructure, and risk insurance cover.   In the event of non-compliance identified by an Inspector, Improvement Notice is likely to be issued requiring rectification within a given time. Improvement Notices issued result in subsequent visits by Work Health and Safety.