Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answer to your electrical safety testing question

PAT – What is a PAT?

PAT stands for “Portable Appliance Testing”. These instruments are made to test electrical equipment better than any other instrument simply because this is what they have been specifically designed to do.

Why is a PAT tester different from a multi meter?

Although a multimeter is a useful tool, it’s testing capacity does not meet the requirements of AS/NZS3760.

A multimeter will not normally do a 500-volt Insulation Test or a high-current Earth Test for Class I equipment (earthed) or a Leakage test. As a megger will show if earth is intact, but not its integrity.

What is an RCD?

An RCD (Residual Current Device) is designed to protect against electrocution in a narrow range of circumstances only. The RCD measures an out of balance between the active and neutral currently only.

It is quite common for socket outlets in commercial and industrial buildings to be unprotected by Residual Current Devices, known as RCD’s. Cleaners, trades people and others visiting offices or workplace sites could be at risk of electric shocks if a fault occurs in an electrical appliance such as vacuum cleaner or drill when it is connected to a socket outlet that is not protected by an RCD.

Any socket outlet which may be used for portable and handheld equipment requires protection from an RCD which is easily fitted to your standard. It is simply madness not to have one!!

Does second-hand electrical equipment require testing?

Yes, second-hand equipment needs to be tested before the use or sale of a second-hand item, this is done to reduce the risk of electrocution or fire from the item. The OCEI (Office of Chief Electrical Inspector) has initiated a program to ensure that all relevant suppliers of second-hand electrical equipment sold to the general public are required to ensure that these items are tested and appropriately labeled.

You will notice that charity shops and most op shops no longer sell second-hand electrical equipment now that awareness has been made of the risks involved.

Do Generators require testing?

All Generator that is used on works site should have an RCD fitted. These RCDs are required to be tested monthly. A generator without an RCD should not be used and cant be tested. All generators should be earthed at all times. It is easy to overlook this simple safety action when starting up a generator. A 240 Volt generator conducts the same type of power as supplied to your location by the electrical utility provider. Earthing of the generator will help protect users from serious injury.

Why do I need to test and tag power supplies?

Some importers of extra-low voltage electrical devices may be supplying them together with unapproved and potentially dangerous power supplies or chargers. If you have a suspect item, please discontinue its use immediately or have it tested. Dangerous power supplies and battery chargers that are typically found with electronic games, cordless drills, rechargeable torches, etc. must be tested and approved for supply in Australia. Approved devices must exhibit the approval markings allocated by the approving authority. The markings may be alphanumeric format comprising of the first letter of the state of the issuing authority followed by between one and six digits.
Non-compliant power supplies pose serious risks including electric shock, fire, and damage to connected equipment.

What are the potential dangers of International Adaptors?

Travel adaptors used to accommodate non-standard plug-pin configuration may in themselves be poorly designed and constructed, proving a hazard. Make sure that they comply.

Won’t the circuit breaker in the switchboard protect me from electrical shock?

Won’t the circuit breaker in the switchboard protect me from electrical shock?
People should be aware that the fuses or circuit breakers on your switchboard are not designed to protect you from electrical shock they are designed merely to protect the circuit wiring of the building from fire and short circuit.

What is an Earthed appliance?

An Earthed appliance is designed to protect the appliances and persons from electrocution when a fault occurs. These should be checked on a regular basis. Common earthed items include Toaster, Fridge, Computer. These can usually be identified by having the earth pin on the plug and or having exposed metal somewhere on the casing.

What is a double insulated (2 Pin) appliance

E.g. a drill, angle grinder, kitchen appliances, that only has two pins (an active and a neutral) and sometimes may have an earth pin which is not connected. These items usually have the markings of a square box within a square box or double D, stating that it is double insulated.
Double insulated appliances will not trip the Earth Leakage detector (except when exposed to water).

Do I need to test RCD Portable Units?

Portable RCD units are recommended to be used when using any power tool inside or out. These devices are designed to trip in less than 30 milliseconds which will most likely save you from electrocution and are designed to trip quicker than your circuit breakers.

Why shouldn’t you piggyback power-boards and double adaptors?

The piggybacking of power-boards is not recommended as this causes excessive heat and may cause current overload. If you need to piggyback have a registered electrician install an extra power point.

Double adaptors are not recommended and should be replaced by an approved power-board with RCD fitted and surge protection device

What is Australian Standard AS3760?

Portable Appliance Testing – The Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2022 clearly defines the requirements of routine inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment.

In-service testing is necessary for the safety of persons using the equipment and for the proper discharge of the obligations of employers and employees, as listed in legislation covering occupational health and safety matters.
The Standard specifies the minimum testing and inspection intervals for electrical equipment.

Inspection and testing intervals can range from 3, 6, 12 up to 5 years testing schedules.

What are your obligations?

Legislation covering occupational health and safety places an obligation on employers and employees to ensure the safety of all persons in the workplace.

Owners, Managers, Supervisors and Employees alike must realise that they are responsible for safety in the workplace.

Faulty or damaged electrical appliances can KILL or injure in the blink of an eye.
In your own workplace, YOU are responsible every minute of every day for PEOPLE’S LIVES.
Friends and work colleagues, visitors to the worksite, Doctors, Nurses Chefs, Cleaners, School Teachers, Contractors, Students Mums Dads and Kids.

Why do I need to Test and Tag?

Having your workplace tested and tagged helps to avoid the risk of an injury to an employee, client or another third party. Compliance with Occupational Health & Safety requires that an employer must ensure that any risk of injury from electricity at a place of work is eliminated or that the risk is controlled by regular testing, maintenance and inspection of all electrical equipment to ensure that it remains safe for use.
Records must be kept of all inspections made and maintenance carried out on all electrical appliances, specific details need to be kept as required by the act.
The purpose of testing electrical equipment is to detect any adverse conditions that could render it electrically unsafe.

What are the benefits of testing and tagging?

• Increased safety for employees, clients and third parties;
• Reduced insurance premiums;
• Reduced liability;
• Asset Register and tracking systems;
• Repairs of equipment can be made onsite to minimise down-time.

What do you do with failed appliances?

If any electrical equipment fails the testing, it must be withdrawn from service immediately and have a label attached to it warning against further use AND sent for repair or safely disposed of.

What is the ISO 9001:2015?

‘ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact ISO 9001:2015 is implemented by over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries.’

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Our head Office

A1 Testing & Tagging

5a Hartnett Close

Mulgrave Vic 3170