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Test and Tag Services Whangarei: What is a PAT Tester Device

test and tag

Keeping your workplace safe is not as easy as 1,2,3.

Electrical experts are required to ensure our work environments remain safe and compliant.

You need a competent individual with the proper industry knowledge and training to do all the safety and inspection tests. This is also in line with regulations:  AS/NZS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment

What is a Test and Tag?

Test and Tag, is a safety procedure conducted to ensure safety prior to usage for various electrical appliances.

A full Test & Tag is a routine inspection carried out to prevent electrical accidents from happening in the workplace.

The standard procedure involves two main steps:

What Do They Exactly Look Out For?

This first step is conducted usually by an electrician, with adequate experience in Test & Tag.

Outward signs of damage which goes beyond a scratch on the surface of the item. For example, a cracked surface showing the electrical innards of the unit, leaving it exposed to the elements. Dents are also a red flag.

Another common sign of damage is gnawed or exposed wiring. Sometimes pests such as rodents can chew away on wires leaving it exposed. Imagine, plugging that appliance in and having a current coming in contact and the shock shooting through your body.

If the appliance passed the visual test, the second step commences:

Testing The Appliance’s Circuitry Using A PAT Tester Device.

The preferred device often used in the “Test and Tag” procedure is a handy PAT Tester.

What is a PAT Tester Device?

It is an electrical safety testing device used to test the circuitry of appliances.

PAT stands for “Portable Appliance Testing”. The appliances which need to be tested as part of a Test and Tag by a PAT Tester Device are any appliances that have a cord and plug that connects to an outlet.

This first step is conducted usually by an electrician, with adequate experience in Test & Tag.

Class 1

Appliances that are grounded. These are items such as toasters, kitchen kettles, microwaves, electric heaters, fridges and washing machines.

Class 2

Double-insulated appliances. These units have a plastic casing that serves as a back-up protection. These include hair dryers, electric drill, screens and televisions, computers, and photocopy machines.

The PAT Tester Device, tests the three (3) electrical safety parameters of an appliance, which are referred to as “Earth Continuity, Insulation Resistance and Polarity”.  It may sound like a mouthful of science fiction, but these tests are important and based on a mountain of hard science.

Earth Continuity, Insulation Resistance and Polarity

These safety parameters are tested if it is within the standard allowable levels using the tests as follows:

Earth Continuity Test

This test is done only on Class 1 appliances during a PAT Test. Its goal is to determine whether the connection between the ground wire and metal casings have the least resistance. Why? So the excess current will flow through the ground from the metal casings without causing a shock.

The maximum allowable resistance is at 0.1 ohms, values less than the prescribed value guarantees that the appliance is safe. However, it is noteworthy to try multiple tests and get its average to have the optimum value of resistance, usually three (3) to five (5) times.

If an appliance fails this test, the appliance is considered unsafe regardless of the outcome of the other test outcomes.

Insulation Resistance

This test is done on Class 1 and 2 appliances during a PAT Test. The aim of this test is to ensure that there are sufficient insulation between the live and neutral wires and the touchable parts of the appliances.

The minimum resistance value between the two must be at 1 mega ohms and 2 mega ohms for Class 1 and 2 respectively.

Polarity Test

This test is applicable to all appliances. Its goal is to determine whether the existing circuit is not affected by other external factors or faulty wiring connections. The test determines whether all the wirings are connected properly. If fluctuations on current are detected, then the appliance has either faulty wiring or incorrect wiring connections or both.  

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How a Test & Tag Concludes

If the appliance passed the circuitry test, it is tagged using a standard “passed test tag” confirming it is indeed tested. The test tag requires the necessary information as follows:

  1.  Name of Tester
  2.  Test Date
  3.  Next Test Date

An appliance tagged as passed is considered safe to use until the next test date marked on its durable tag.

If an appliance fails a test, it is tagged using a standard “failed test tag”.  The equipment is immediately taken out of circulation, and a tag should be attached warning employees not to use the equipment.

A record of the Test & Tag should also be archived by both tester and employer for future reference.

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