Testing and tagging electrical appliances

Testing and tagging electrical appliances is one useful way to check electrical equipment is safe. It's not mandatory but what is legally required is that equipment is electrically safe and maintained in a safe condition.

Regulation 26 of Electrical (Safety) Regulations 2010 (ESR) (26)(external link) states one way to verify the safety of appliances that owners make available to their employees, contractors or are hired out, is to have the appliances tested and tagged in accordance with standard AS/NZS 3760. This standard is freely available to licensed electrical workers through the “Standards NZ link ”from the EWRB homepage.

Testing and tagging doesn't guarantee future electrical safety, what it does is provide a snapshot of how safe the appliance is at the time of testing.

It is up to the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) to decide whether to test and tag. They can either get the testing equipment and train up a worker, or hire a third-party to carry out the testing.

Whoever does the work must have the knowledge and skills to do the task correctly. It doesn't need to be a registered electrical worker but the person needs to be able to understand the Standards involved. However, only a registered and licensed electrical practitioner will be able to fix any problems the testing reveals.

How often you test and tag depends on the nature of the equipment and the workplace. For example, electrical equipment used on a construction site - outside and in damp conditions - would need more frequent testing than a computer in an office.

Whether you decide to test and tag or not, it's important to regularly look at cords, plugs and tools to see if they're damaged.

And remember, whether tested and tagged or not, electrical equipment still needs to be RCD-protected in certain circumstances, such as outside and in damp areas.

Testing of repaired appliances

Any electrical repairs or maintenance to an appliance can only be carried out by an authorised person. As stated in ESR 90(external link) the safety of the appliance is able to be verified in accordance with standard AS/NZS 5762.

This standard covers the testing and checking process following the repair of electrical appliances so protection against hazards such as electrical shock, mechanical injury, or electrical fire, is ensured as far as possible. This standard is freely available to licensed electrical workers through the “Standards NZ link” from the EWRB homepage.