Electricity is an indispensable component of our daily lives, empowering our homes and facilitating the modern comforts we enjoy. Yet, when it comes to dealing with electrical systems, safety is of paramount importance. DIY projects can be gratifying, but in the realm of electrical work, the risks associated with mistakes are notably elevated.
The Hazards of DIY Electrical Work
Electrical Shocks: Tinkering with live wires without the essential training and equipment places you at risk of experiencing an electric shock, which can range from a mild jolt to severe harm and, in extreme cases, even prove fatal.
Fire Hazards: Inadequate wiring or incorrect installations can lead to electrical fires, which may result in property damage, personal injuries, and, tragically, loss of life.
Code Violations: DIY electrical work may not adhere to the standards set by local building codes, potentially exposing you to fines or complications when selling your property.
Concealed Issues: A lack of proper training might hinder your ability to identify hidden electrical problems that can worsen over time, eventually leading to more significant and costly issues.
When to Seek Professional Assistance
Major Electrical Upgrades: When planning substantial home renovations involving electrical modifications, such as adding new circuits, rewiring, or installing new electrical panels, it’s essential to consult a licensed electrician who has undergone appropriate Test and Tag training courses.
Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips: Frequent tripping of circuit breakers or fuses can be an indicator of an overloaded circuit or other underlying electrical issues, which require professional assessment by someone with Test and Tag certification.
Flickering Lights and Non-functional Outlets: Experiencing flickering lights or non-functional outlets may indicate loose connections, faulty wiring, or other electrical complications that demand the attention of a professional electrician with Test and Tag knowledge.
Aging Electrical Systems: Older homes may feature outdated electrical systems that are more susceptible to problems. If your home is over 40 years old, it is advisable to have a professional electrician with Test and Tag certification inspect and update your electrical infrastructure.
Electrical Emergencies: In the event of electrical emergencies, such as exposed wires, sparks, or smoke emanating from outlets, it is crucial to deactivate power to the affected area and immediately contact a professional electrician for swift resolution.
Rectifying DIY Errors: If you’ve attempted DIY electrical work and suspect errors have been made, it is in your best interest to engage a professional who can assess and rectify the issues while ensuring proper testing and tagging to avert potential hazards.
Benefits of Hiring a Professional
Safety: Licensed electricians possess the knowledge and experience required to ensure the safe installation and repair of electrical systems, including the accurate testing and tagging of equipment.
Compliance with Codes: Professionals ensure that all work adheres to local building codes, reducing the risk of legal complications and insurance issues.
Quality Work: Employing an electrician guarantees that the task is executed correctly, diminishing the likelihood of future electrical problems while adhering to proper testing and tagging procedures.
Peace of Mind: Entrusting your electrical system to capable hands, with knowledge of testing and tagging, provides a sense of assurance, freeing you from the perils associated with DIY mistakes.
Though DIY projects can be a source of pride and cost savings, electrical work stands out as an area where the potential dangers outweigh the advantages of a DIY approach. The hazards associated with DIY electrical work are substantial, and recognizing when to summon a professional electrician, particularly one with Test and Tag expertise, can preclude accidents, ensure your safety, and uphold the integrity of your home’s electrical infrastructure. When it comes to electrical work, remember that erring on the side of caution is the wiser choice, and involving professionals that offer Test and Tag service ensures safer and more reliable outcomes.
Electrical safety is a paramount concern in both our homes and workplaces. Ensuring that electrical appliances and equipment are safe to use is not just a legal requirement in many places, but it’s also a fundamental responsibility. The process of testing and tagging, which involves inspecting, testing, and labelling electrical items, is a crucial aspect of maintaining safety. To effectively carry out test and tag procedures, you need the right tools and supplies. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the must-have supplies for testing and tagging to help you power up your safety measures.
Portable Appliance Tester (PAT)
A Portable Appliance Tester is the heart of the test and tagging process. It’s a device designed to assess the safety of electrical appliances and equipment. Investing in a reliable PAT is essential for accurate testing.
Test Tags and Labels
Test tags and labels are the visual evidence of an item’s safety status. They typically include important information such as the test date, the person who conducted the test, and the next test’s due date. Stock up on a variety of tags and labels to accommodate different items.
Cable Ties and Clips
Cable management is essential for safety and aesthetics. Cable ties and clips help you keep cords and cables organized and prevent tripping hazards. They also play a role in ensuring that tags and labels stay securely attached.
Insulation Resistance Tester
This device checks the integrity of an item’s insulation. It’s especially crucial for appliances and equipment with exposed wiring. An insulation resistance tester can detect potential safety hazards that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Residual Current Device (RCD) testers are used to assess the effectiveness of safety switches. Ensuring that these devices work correctly is vital for protecting against electric shock.
Extension Cord Testers
Extension cords are commonly used in both residential and commercial settings. Testing these cords for safety is essential. Extension cord testers help you identify potential issues like frayed wires or faulty connectors.
Professional labelling equipment, such as label printers, allows you to create clear, durable labels for tagged items. Legible and durable labels are essential for easy identification and record-keeping.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Safety should always come first. Invest in PPE like insulated gloves, safety glasses, and ear protection to protect yourself during the testing process.
Maintaining accurate records is a crucial part of compliance. Keep notebooks, digital cameras, or smartphones on hand to document your testing process and results.
Knowledge is power. Invest in training materials, books, or online training courses to stay updated on best practices and compliance regulations related to test and tag procedures.
When it comes to test and tagging, having the right supplies is not just about complying with regulations; it’s about ensuring the safety of everyone who interacts with electrical equipment. By equipping yourself with these must-have supplies, you empower yourself to create a safer environment, reduce the risk of electrical accidents, and contribute to a culture of electrical safety in your workplace or home. Power up your safety efforts with the right tools!
Our test and tag training does need to be updated and there are several important reasons why (which other companies may avoid telling you). How you do this is up to the individual as there is more than one way to keep your competency according to the AS/NZS3760: 2022.
Let’s look at what another training provider says:
At first glance the above site appears to say once deemed competent BY THEM you are ‘competent’ for life. Now this article is a little misleading at worst and confusing at best (we have had some clients come to us confused if they should or shouldn’t be retrained by it).
It’s interesting to note, (and we found this surprising), that this company reuses a very similar Australian article-which makes no mention of being competent for life! This is odd because Australia and New Zealand both use the same Standard AS/NZS3760.
So, which is it? You do or you don’t need to have your training refreshed? Are you competent or not competent for life?
Metrotest says you should have retraining, but others leave it confusing. Well, let’s look at the Standard AS/NZS3760 to see what it actually says about ‘competency.’
What the Standard AS/NZS3760 says:
We will use AS/NZS3760: 2022, BUTplease note that as of writing this, whilst the 2022 version has superseded the 2010 version, the AS/NZS 3760:2010 is what is still cited in the New Zealand Electrical Regulations, which is really important to know! Many get confused about this, including the ‘experts’, because there is a difference between a ‘Standard’ and an ‘Electrical Regulation’. (We’ll leave it up to the reader to decide, but we were a little confused why the above-quoted article writer struggled to appear to not know the difference between a Standard and a Regulation as they state, ‘Standards NZ do change the Regulation from time to time’).
1.4.5 Competent Person – A person is one who the RESPONSIBLE PERSON ensures has the necessary practical and theoretical skills, acquired through training, qualification, experience, or a combination of these, to correctly undertake the required tasks.
(1) A competent person is not required to be a registered or licenced electrical practitioner. Requirements for registration vary between jurisdictions.
(2) Competency levels should be maintained; this includes updating skills and knowledge as necessary following technological advances in both the testing instrumentation available and the equipment being inspected and tested as well as changes to this standard.
What’s important to note here are 3 things:
1. The testing person must be competent, and it must be maintained.
2. Competency DOES NOT necessarily need to come through formal training.
3. The Responsible person MUST ensure the competent person is ‘actually competent’ to undertake the REQUIRED TASK (varying levels of competency for numerous reasons)
Let’s think for a moment about why we inspect and test and tag. Is it not to ensure the safety of the users of electrical equipment? This is not a minor thing, and this is why the Standard puts LEGAL responsibility onto the Responsible Person (definition of who is the Responsible person is also found under 1.4.20 a-c).
Remember also, it is all about safety, not mere compliance; people’s lives matter.
At Metrotest, we really don’t want to confuse people, no one wants that. If you read the Standard in context, it becomes very clear, that you are NOT automatically competent for life or that you won’t need another training for life.
Why you should also keep your training up to date
Metrotest employs people who actually have decades of electrical experience with EWRB Practising Licenses in the electrical industry and who have to update their licenses. Why? Obviously, to make sure they know their stuff because with the electrical industry, not knowing what you’re doing, can be deadly.
Having qualified trainers with real electrical experience means you will be less likely to miss picking up serious faults when testing equipment, faults that could easily electrocute. Don’t think it couldn’t happen; it does, even to the ‘experts’.
Whilst you may not be replacing sockets and plugs (you need to be a fully qualified and registered electrical worker with a current Practicing Licence for this), in the latest version of the Standard, a competent person is not required to be a registered or licensed electrical practitioner, however when you are performing testing and tagging, you are still working around electricity.
Imagine you believe you don’t need to do retraining, it’s been 5 years since your training, and it’s okay because you were led to believe by the company that trained you that it was for life. You also feel pretty confident because you also had a quick flick through the Standard. You start performing testing, but you don’t quite remember the order of a visual inspection and start at the appliance end with the plug still plugged into the mains. If there’s a fault, what could happen?
And this is the point we are making; people forget and create bad habits (like attaching earth clips to grinder discs-we’ve seen it!), and it does happen, and as a training provider, we see it all the time.
So, to recap, yes, absolutely you should get your test and tag training refreshed because:
The new Standard makes it clear that the responsible person should ensure/maintain competency and keep up to date; competency isn’t for life!
In the electrical industry, electrical workers have to renew their Practising Licenses because they work with electricity – while you don’t need to be registered, test and tag workers also work around electricity.
Making sure you haven’t created any bad habits or forgotten key best practices (the grinder)
You may be using a new unfamiliar testing instrument or testing unfamiliar appliances, take 3-phase for example.
Companies won’t guarantee support for life if something happens because you did a course with them 5 years ago; generally, only if their own licensing system is up to date will they help if something goes seriously wrong.
Hopefully, this gives you a much better understanding of why yes, contrary to other training providers, you should get refreshed/retained and why Metrotest’s training isn’t for life.
Metrotest, have been providing competency training and assessments for testing based around AS/NZS 3760 back as far as 1999 both in New Zealand and Australia. Right from the very beginning we knew training had to be thorough and fully supported. We recognised the need for ongoing retraining, and encouraged it, however, at no time did we ever say trainees had to do retraining, nor did we say you in fact had to receive formal training. We introduced a voluntary licensing regime designed to encourage best practices.
Unlike some training providers, when we introduced online training, we believed the best training also included a one-on-one assessment over video – we’ve never done ‘online group assessments’. We understand the financial benefits of doing this as a group for a training provider, but this would not provide the individual evidence of ‘competency’.
One of Metrotest’s founding Directors, Mark Goldthorpe, entered the electrical industry shortly after leaving secondary school and holds electrical registration with the New Zealand EWRB (Electrical Workers Registration Board). Most of his work experience has been in the electrical industry and has also been on the Standards Committee responsible for writing AS/NZS3760 since before 2000.
Metrotest’s, other big difference is that we teach what we do. That’s because we operate an NZ-wide electrical testing service with permanent staff from Auckland to Dunedin.
Changes to the Standard
As a last note, as already mentioned, the AS/NZS3760:2022 has come out which makes some changes to the AS/NZS 3760:2010 and below are some of the major changes you should know about. Please, note these are some of the major changes and it is highly recommended you read through the new Standard yourself as these are not all the changes and remember it hasn’t been cited in the New Zealand Electrical Regulations yet.
Some of the changes are:
Change to the title, it’s now called In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment and RCDs (in Australia it has requirements for the testing of fixed RCDs).
Changes to the requirements for a ‘Competent’ person, there’s a greater requirement to ensure competency is maintained-see 1.4.5 note 2 under Competent person for some of these changes.
The introduction of the term ‘Third party’ – this comes up under Definitions, see 1.4.23, this is completely new to the Standard and creates another category of testing providers, these were already in existence, but now they have been categorised.
I’m not sure if this is a typo, but currently, the Standard requires both the name of the person and entity who performed said testing to be written on the tag; I suspect the name will be replaced with an alternative.
Big changes have been made around documentation requirements. There are now far more requirements including keeping/supplying the actual test values of tests performed. No longer is a simple ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ acceptable in some circumstances – changes are different depending on who is doing the testing and what jurisdiction testing is being performed in. See heading 2.6 Documentation for full details. If you’re looking to purchase test equipment or a PAT check this out carefully as record keeping can be either very slow or very quick, depending on your test equipment.It could possibly successfully be argued that if the test values are printed on the actual test tag, that this may meet the minimum requirement – I believe that both the METROiPAT2 SupaPAT and the METRO EasiPat10 have the best recording/printing systems, these are worth checking out.
Clarification on leakage testing, including more info on 3-Phase testing requirements- there is normally no alternative to a powered-up leakage test, the 500V Insulation test, though frequently done, is in practice only suitable for 3-Phase leads
Clarification of diagrams in the Appendices, including colour diagrams
A note under Appendix D – Earth Continuity testing, now makes mention of when a higher earth test current may be applied, see note under D.2 Instrumentation.
In summary, if you perform testing to the requirements of this Standard, we suggest you get a new copy and get familiar with it now, there are also many more changes, we have just mentioned some of the bigger ones. https://www.standards.govt.nz/ shop/asnzs-37602022/
In today’s world, whether in the cozy confines of homes or the bustling spaces of businesses, the smooth functioning of wiring systems is crucial. Multifunction testers operate silently yet effectively. These testers ensure electrical systems work seamlessly and uphold the highest safety standards.
Exploring Multifunction Testers
Imagine a single tool that can check the health and security of electrical installations – a multifunction tester is simply that. With a wide range of testing capabilities packed into a single device, electricians and technicians can proficiently carry out various tests for evaluating wiring systems’ condition.
Residential Wiring: A haven
Ensuring Family Well-being – Within residential surroundings, the safety of residents takes precedence. Multifunction testers spot potential risks like faulty grounding, incorrect connections, or insulation weaknesses that could lead to electrical trouble.
Rapid Issue Resolution – When electrical glitches surface, multifunction testers empower electricians to promptly diagnose and locate problems, ensuring minimal inconvenience and downtime for occupants.
Commercial Wiring: Boosting Productivity
Uninterrupted Operations – Disruptions can result in significant financial setbacks. Multifunction testers contribute to preemptive maintenance by pinpointing potential issues before they escalate into operational disruptions.
Holistic System Evaluation – Multifunction testers provide a panoramic view of system health, making identifying vulnerabilities and areas of concern easier. Compliance Assurance – Businesses often face regulatory inspections to ensure adherence to safety standards. Multifunction testers provide accurate data, streamlining the inspection process and promoting efficiency.
Multifunction testers boast user-friendly interfaces. This design allows users to select desired testing functions effortlessly. The devices are adept at measuring many parameters, including voltage, continuity, and insulation resistance. Some advanced models go the extra mile, offering features such as data logging and connectivity options for remote analysis. In order to gain a comprehensive knowledge of the functioning of these advanced devices, it is recommended to undergo a product training course for Multifunction Installation Testers.
In today’s world, where electricity is one of the most essential in our lives, safety is a must. Residual Current Devices (RCDs) have emerged as one of the foundations of electrical safety, protecting against electrical accidents such as electric shocks and fire hazards. To make sure of their effectiveness, RCDs need to be tested regularly.
Why Test RCDs?
RCDs are designed to detect and respond to electrical faults quickly, such as leakages of current which can cause electric shocks or fires. Factors like pollution, damage, and electrical interference can impact RCD’s ability to function correctly. Regular testing helps ensure that these devices remain safe and effective to prevent potential hazards.
When Should RCDs Be Tested?
1.Initial Installation – When RCD is first installed, it should be tested to check if it functions correctly before use.
2.Monthly Push-Button Test – RCDs are equipped with a test button. This will allow users to make a quick and simple test of the RCD’s responsiveness. It’s recommended to press the test button every month to see if the device is still safe to use.
3.After Power Outages – If your area experiences a power outage or other electrical disturbances, it’s better to test your RCDs afterwards to ensure they haven’t been compromised.
4.After Maintenance or Repairs – If the electrical system has been repaired, it’s better to test the RCDs afterwards to check that they are still working as expected.
5.When in Doubt – If you think an RCD is not working correctly, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Arrange a professional electrician to perform a comprehensive test.
What RCD Tester To Use?
Here with MetroTest, our range of RCD testers lies exceptional features that elevate electrical safety testing standards. These advanced devices are equipped with the latest technology, ensuring accurate and precise results for fault detection and RCD response evaluations.
Whether you’re a homeowner, a business owner, or a facility manager, the responsibility of testing the electrical system should never be underestimated. Remember, electrical safety is a shared responsibility that protects you and those around you. If you want to learn about the device, please book your RCD Tester Training or contact us.
Any business owner has an obligation to take care of their representatives and clients in their workplaces. They must have a healthy and safe place for those who work for their business and support them. Many owners consider this a burden rather than an obligation, thinking it’s a waste of money when it’s one of the best ways to save them from a considerable cost when electrical faults suddenly occur.
To better understand how this can help not just save the cost of money and ensure all lives are safe inside your establishment, continue reading.
Potable Appliance Testing involves checking all the electrical products on-site to make sure they are functioning well and safe to use. If not, general repairs should be carried out by professionals. If any products fail, the establishment should take them out of the service. While performing a PAT, electricians may encounter faulty appliances that can be repaired instead of removing them from the place.
All electricians that should do this must have extensive knowledge of PAT to replace faulty or damaged plugs, fuses, or cables. Some service providers often need to find defective parts that are causing a massive problem for some establishments. This may cost you a ton of money, plus the stress you didn’t imagine you’d have from not taking it seriously. Choosing a PAT testing company with a good reputation saves you money and lives on what matters to your business.