Test and Tag Regulations Western Australia
Regulation 4.37 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 places an obligation on a person who is an employer, a main contractor, a self employed person, a person having control of a workplace or a person having control of access to a workplace, to ‘ensure that plant at the workplace is subject to appropriate checks, tests and inspections necessary to reduce the risk of injury or harm occurring to a person at the workplace.
A electrical testing and tagging regime for electrical equipment is the way to demonstrate compliance with the above regulation.
The following licensing requirements apply when testing electrical appliances and equipment in workplaces other than construction sites:
Electrical Testing using a plug-in tester:
When testing is carried out by plugging equipment into a commercially available ‘plug-in’ PAT testing device, the person conducting the testing need not hold any electrical licence and may fix the appropriate tag. Note that if the equipment is found to be defective, it can only be repaired by an appropriately licensed electrician.
Electrical Testing using electrical test instruments:
Where testing is carried out using an instrument with hand-held probes or clip-on leads, such as an insulation resistance meter and the equipment needs to be partly dismantled, then the person performing the testing must hold an ‘A’ grade electrical mechanic’s or electrical fitter’s licence or a restricted electrical licence endorsed with the ‘scope of work’ relevant to the type of equipment being tested.
Regulation 3.61 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 specifies that electrical installations, appliances and equipment on construction sites must comply with Australian New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3012 “Electrical Installations – Construction and demolition sites”. Clause 3.6 of AS/NZS 3012:2003 specifies that electrical equipment shall be inspected and tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3760 “In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment”. Regulation 3.62 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 requires that persons who test and place their licence number on the tag must be electrical workers as defined in the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991. The electrical worker must be the holder of either an ‘A’ grade electrical mechanic’s or electrical fitter’s licence or a restricted electrical licence endorsed with the ‘scope of work’ relevant to the type of equipment being tested.
Regulation 5.27 of the Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations 1995 specifies that portable apparatus normally used in heavy operating environments must be examined, tested and tagged quarterly. The electrical licensing requirements for persons who carry out the testing at mine sites are the same as for “workplaces other than construction sites” above. In all cases, if the equipment or appliance requires dismantling or repair, only the holder of an electrical mechanic’s or electrical fitter’s licence or a restricted electrical licence endorsed with the ‘scope of work’ relevant to the type of equipment being dismantled or repaired, may carry out the necessary electrical work.
Advice to Employees
Electrical testing and tagging of all portable appliances as per AS3760 should now be the norm in all workplaces. If this is not the case in your workplace, you as an employee should approach your employer and request that this be done as soon as possible. If it is not done, then the employer is breaching his/her duty under Regulation 4.37 of the Occupational Safety