Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Testing, tagging and workplace inspections

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

After the work area has been determined as an electrically hostile or non-hostile area, an inspection schedule can be developed. It is recommended that regular workplace safety inspections are synchronised with the checking periods which are required for electrical equipment.

The Department of Commerce, WorkSafe; Guide to testing and tagging portable electrical equipment and residual current devices at workplaces; April 2014, treats construction and demolition sites separately to other workplaces such as UWA work areas.

The classification of an electrical environment and inspection frequency is displayed using the Workplace Safety Inspection Schedule wall poster (below) which shows the frequency of workplace inspections. These inspections are normally carried out by the local Safety Officer, Safety and Health Representative and the workers in the area as they may be aware of hazards, risks and changes to the environment, such as newly introduced equipment, which are not evident to a less familiar observer . When recorded on a suitable checklist, these regular inspections demonstrate a proactive approach to workplace safety.

  1. UWA work areas
  2. Construction and demolition sites

UWA work areas as hostile or non-hostile environments (AS/NZS 3760)

A risk management approach must be taken to determine the type of inspection and, if necessary, the type of testing required. Inspection needs to be done more frequently in an operating environment where electrical equipment is, during normal usage, subjected to adverse operating conditions likely to result in damage. UWA uses a risk management approach to determine where specific testing of electrical equipment is necessary. This is achieved by defining workplaces as hostile or non-hostile electrical environments and then specifying the required frequency of either Visual Inspections or Testing and Tagging. White visual inspection tags are available from Safety, Health and Wellbeing. The following guidelines may assist in defining areas as hostile or non-hostile:

  1. An internal working environment is distinct from other environments by virtue of being enclosed by walls, windows and doors.
  2. Subdivision of internal working environments for non-hostile versus hostile is not practicable.
  3. If a single item or process is the cause of ‘hostile’ status then it makes sense to control or eliminate it such that the environment can be classified as non-hostile (i.e. either eliminate the cause and/or reroute cables to eliminate the potential for damage).
  4. If required, physical separation of hostile area within a non-hostile area can be achieved by effectively enclosing and isolating the area.

Hostile electrical environment (requiring testing and tagging)

This is a workplace wherein the equipment or appliance may be subjected to events or operating conditions which could result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected lifespan. This includes but is not limited to physical abuse, exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, chemical damage and other harsh conditions where cables could be damaged. White, visual inspection tags are applied to new electrical equipment prior to its initial use. Regular electrical testing and tagging using coloured tags (denoting the year of testing), must be carried out for the workplace by an authorised competent person. Any white visual inspection tags are then removed and replaced with the coloured test tag. The UWA Electrical Equipment Test and Tag Unit Register is provided to assist in the location of the required resources.

Non-hostile electrical environment (requiring visual inspection)

This is a workplace that is dry, clean, well organised and free of operating conditions that may result in damage to electrical equipment or the flexible supply cord. It is sufficient to visually inspect equipment and cords for damage prior to use and thereafter on a regular basis. Tagging is not a requirement but white visual inspection tags can optionally be applied to supply cords if workplaces wish indicate the date when new equipment enters service.

Using the Workplace Safety Inspection Schedule wall poster

This poster includes a method of assessing risks presented by different types of workplace and then classifying them as either non-hostile or hostile electrical environments in accordance with the provisions of AS/NZS 3760. Once you have worked out the electrical environment classification, the poster will help to define the type of tagging required, the retagging frequency (and testing frequency if required) and who is allowed to replace/apply tags. From this information, the required frequency of workplace inspections can be set to keep in step with the electrical tagging requirements (maximum period between inspections is 12 months). After each inspection, the dates on the poster below are to be adjusted before it is printed in colour and displayed in a prominent position in the area as a very visible, bright reminder of when the next inspection is due.

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Construction and demolition sites (AS/NZS 3012)

After inspecting or testing portable electrical equipment or an RCD used on a construction or demolition site, the item must be tagged. Tagging should also be undertaken following the inspection or testing of a non-portable RCD. The tagging must be done by a competent person and in accordance with AS/NZS 3012:2003. The name of the competent person who performed the test must be clearly and legibly marked on the tag. Workers who bring portable electrical equipment or an RCD to a construction or demolition site operation must ensure the attached tag is current and bears the name of the competent person who conducted the test, and the test or re-test date.

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