THE TEST AND TAG THREAD
For the last 10 or so years, I've run a mobile test and tag business in Christchurch, as first under Jim's Test and Tag, lately under our own business name Port Appliance Test and Tag, over the years I've developed a fair amount of expertise the standards and regulations that swirl around TnT, some time ago Safeguard did a feature piece which I helped fill in some of the gaps (
A Live Issue
) since that was printed, what's changed?
From my perspective, not a lot, things are still getting "pass tags" put on them that shouldn't pass (
see my little shop of test and tag horrors
) the scary thing is, the folk getting this wrong aren't all from a tick and flick "competent person" course, they're a mixture of CPs and "qualified folk", who seem to barely understand what it is that they are there to do. Some of the "CP's" are part of franchise groups, none from Jim's TT that I've seen, probably due to the extensive in house training course that JTT run for their Franchisees and the in group support that is part of the deal- but the rest,hmm.....
I think that in part this is down to Test and Tag training companies not having a Code Of Practice that they have to adhere to, I spend two days per month
running test and tag training courses
in Christchurch.I know we do a reasonable job in the time we have available, and a common comment from anyone who has done a TnT Competent Person Course with another provider, is that we cover way more than other ones do, we try to cover what the test and tag standard AS/NZS 3760 states is the body of knowledge required to test and tag competently and safely,it would be nice to have a little more time to do that, but we have to follow the market on length.
Another part of the issue is a lack of NZQA Standards that could be used to ensure that all are operating from the same page, I envisage a generic "Test and Tag to 3760 requirements" paper, and a "Test and Tag to 3102" extension paper for building site test and tag, along with pulling in a standard electrical NZQA paper covering basic safety while working with electricity. I see this evolving into a "test and tag" qualification in its own right, able to be completed by anyone, but subject to some external scrutiny (maybe from the EWRB) that would put a stop to the tick and flick brigade by either having to prepare their trainees for an externally assessed competency test, or at least having some external oversight on their training activities. Having two test and tag unit standards that could be pulled into various classes of electrical registration would help lift the qualified folks game.
Anyway, that's my two cents worth- what are your thoughts? Do you have any questions about test and tag?
Electrical Installations- Construction and Demolition Sites
Over year ago, the
joint standard for electrical work on construction and demolition sites went into review,
I hope everyone who has some interest in this standard put in a submission on changes they'd like to see, hope they got their wish, Standards New Zealand released
A quick look through,shows there have been some tweaks around PSOAs (RCD protected Portable Socket Outlet Assemblies). The standard has caught up with the requirement laid out in AS/NZS3000 that all Residual Current Devices used for personal protection in New Zealand shall be Type A. (we cover why in the C&D testing appendix that I add to the Test & Tag Courses that I run).
A small title change, Table 3 Periodic Verification Intervals in the 2010 becomes Table 6 in the 2019 version- but there is no change in the retest intervals portable equipment of three months for (wish I had a dollar for everyone who told me they were going to six months).
There isn't any change in the requirement (in order to comply with this standard) of the requirement to keep a register of all equipment, a record of all inspections and tests, a repair register and a record of all faulty equipment- Clause 3.10 in 2010 goes to 3.9 in the 2019 version. So just buying the cheapest PAT on the market, and putting stickers on items, isn't necessarily going to get you to "deemed safe" under
Electrical Safety regulation 25 D,
unless you've taken the time to record those details.
I've had a bit of skim through the new version of AS/NZS3012, and covered what changes I've noted so far in the blog I maintain on our website, you can read those
Buy a copy of the new standard from
Standards New Zealand
Haven't updated this for a while, thought it was time now that I've pulled the pin on working for a living
Visual Inspections When Test and Tagging (Extension Leads, IEC Leads)
First disconnect and remove the plug end from the socket outlet (if it's plugged into one), if you do the visual checks in the order I've listed them, you'll find any issues and get through a pile of leads really quickly- if a lead "Fails" any of these, Danger Do Not Use tag and next please. Don't assume that the person who put a pass tag on a previously tagged lead, actually knew what they were doing- frequently taggers both of the electrically qualified or The Competent Person persuasion don't know this stuff
(1) Check that the safety features fitted to the plug and socket are present and unmodified
Gladys, it's a Fail if the shroud is missing/damaged on the socket, or the insulation on the shank of
the Active and Neutral pins of the plug is damaged missing, any signs of overheating/over loading.
Are the grommet/strain relief devices fitted to plug and connector ok, shake the plug and connector, are there any sounds that indicate conductor terminations may be loose?)
2) Does the current rating of the plug match or exceed the current rating of the socket connector ?
(sorry Bob,fitting a 15A Socket to a 10A plug is also a Fail- unless there is a 10A MCB
limiting the load carried by the plug to 10 Amps, filing down the Earth pin on a 15 Amp Plug so
it's fits a 10 Amp outlet is also a cause for celebrating by sticking a Fail Tag on the item)
(3) Is the lead rated for use at 230V?
(Give a ways that it isn't are weird plugs/sockets Doris)
(4) Are the plug and socket fitted to the lead compliant with AS/NZS3112?
(Insulated pins, a
safety skirt on the socket connector are clues to look for here Fred, if the lead exits from the top
side, it's a domestic Chinese plug and N/C for NZ Use, we also want confirm that if the lead has a
3 pin plug and a 3 pin socket connector, that the lead has three cores, a 2 core lead would fail as
would having a two pin plug supplying a 3 pin connector)
(5) Ok, now we want want to visually examine the entire length of the lead from the plug to the socket connector
(do one of Test & Tag Training's courses and you'll find out how to do this quickly and
effectively-but we're looking for any exposed conductors, banding tape covering damaged
insulation, or heat shrink tubing- HS isn't a compliant repair. The outer layer of insulation will
frequently pull out of the plug top exposing the underlying conductors, if there is only one layer of continuous insulation, it's a Fail even if it's covered with tape or HS. Is ya head spinning yet
Having completed a thorough visual examination to the requirements of AS/NZS3760, we now perform the required electrical tests.
It's important to note that your PAT machine DOES NOT DO VISUAL CHECKS
That's up to the person doing the testing, are you getting the picture that there is actually quite a bit to this testing and tagging caper yet? Also important to note, where an appliance has a detachable lead, the lead gets tested as a lead and gets it's own tag, then the appliance gets tested as an appliance connected by that lead. Typically, this is where electricians go wrong, they'll test something, god knows what and how, and then stick a tag on the lead telling the world it's a "computer". Same deal with laptop chargers, lead first, then power supply connected to your PAT machine as an appliance, tag on lead, tag on power supply.
Guess you have a number of questions about the above, hopefully, you are coming to the conclusion that it's not (or at least shouldn't) be some random Tom, Dick or Harry, giving a lead a bit of a look and then, hooking it up to their PAT machine and slapping a pass tag on.
(1) Safety Features-
why do these have to be present, unmodified and undamaged to pass any
item when testing and tagging to the requirements of AS/NZS 3760:2010? To gain deemed safe
status the responsible person on the site we are testing items at, has decided to comply with the
recommendation that Electrical (Safety) Regulation 26 provides. To pass a 3760 lead test,, we
follow the guidance of clause 2.3.2 Inspection and perform the checks listed there (time to buy
that copy of
from Standards NZ $82 +GST for a PDF license to print two copies,
absolutely necessary for your Competent Person to have a copy with them at all times when
testing ) FYI Insulated plug pins and skirts on socket connectors were required on new leads and
appliances sold after March 2006.
(2) Does the current rating of the plug match or exceed the current rating of the socket connector ?
This is to comply with Electrical (Safety) Regulation 23
An appliance is deemed to be electrically
unsafe if the appliance is fitted with a plug of a
rating less than the rating specified on the
This means a lead with a 10 Amp plug and a 15 Amp socket connector is an illegal device as it
has to be regarded as unsafe, likewise an item that draws more than 10Amps must have a plug
of a suitable rating (15Amp, 20Amp 32Amp. It's scary the number of electrically "qualified"
taggers who will happily put their name and PL number on a Pass tag. This is one of the
regulations that Worksafe don't seem to be aware of, or prepared to enforce
(3) Is the lead rated for use at 230V?
Nominal Voltage:Electricity throughout New Zealand is
supplied at a nominal voltage of 230 volts and frequency of 50 hertz.
Electrical (Safety) Regulations- Interpretations:
standard low voltage means,—
(a) in respect of electricity supplied by either a single-phase MEN system or a multiple-phase
MEN system, a nominal voltage of 230 volts AC between phase and neutral;
4) Are the plug and socket fitted to the lead compliant with AS/NZS3112?
Wiring installations in
New Zealand have to comply with AS/NZS 3000:2007 Clause 4.4 specifies that socket outlets
shall comply (mandatory statement from a Standard cited in legislation. with either AS/NZS3112,
AS/NZS3123, IEC 60309, or AS/NZS3131, in practice most outlets taggers encounter will be ones
that comply with AS/NZS3112 for single phase leads and appliances.
Essential PPE For Test & Taggers
If you,or anyone whose life you are responsible for tests and tags electrical appliances and leads, do yourself (and them) and obtain one of these.
It's a 10mA Type1 Inline RCD, plug this into the nearest outlet to the spot you/they are testing at, and plug your PAT into it. In the event that you,or the test probe on the PAT into exposed live metal on the item under test, it will trip when 10 mA of current inbalance is detected, as opposed to the more usual Type 2 RCD which trips when it detects 30mA of current inbalance. Unlike a lot of things in this life, where electrical current flowing through you is concerned- less is best
Can't buy these off the shelf, you'll need to get your friendly "qualified electrical worker" to make one up for you.
Thin gloves are also good precaution when handling items that punters have sneezed and wheezed over, or in the case of plumbers, drainage contractors and civil engineering workers may have been in contact with ...................????
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