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All this testing and tagging stuff? #220589 03/30/20 10:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,327
Trumpy Offline OP
Member
I've been reading an article in a local electrical magazine regarding the testing and tagging regime, that has allowed a lot of new business' to spring up, in the name of Health and Safety over the last decade or so in Australia and indeed New Zealand.

The premise is that all portable electrical equipment, that connects via a flexible cord,
is required to be tested and tagged as safe at regular intervals.

The premise is also that none of the testing or the actual visual and physical
inspections required for the affixing of a safety tag to a given flex, is "prescribed
electrical work", therefore ANYONE and their dog can do it.

Herein lies the rub, you don't have to have any real electrical experience, you may
never have even put a plug on the end of a flex before, you may never have even used or
know what a multi-meter is, but if you pass one of these courses that are out there,
you too can be a "test and tagger"!

In the past few years, I've had to deal with folks like this, mainly because, if a power tool
or a flexible cord fails, they aren't legally allowed to repair it, because THAT is
prescribed electrical work, if you are being paid for it, which requires electrical registration of some sort.

And then, they leave the failed tools, etc, in a pile for someone else that has registration, to repair.

The thing is though, this whole thing that testing and tagging, under the current regulations is MANDATORY, is quite simply bollocks.
It is optional as one way to ensure compliance under AS/NZS 3760:2010. (In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment)

Regulation 26 of the 1997 Electricity Regulations gives options other than testing and tagging, however, these seem to have been ignored in the name of starting a whole new industry where the competence of some of the people providing this service, could be seriously questionable.

Especially when to get more work, these people have to certify possibly faulty equipment as safe and test large amounts of equipment in a very short period of time.

What are your thoughts on this?
I'm aware that the testing and tagging thing is huge in the UK, how do things work over there?
Do you need some sort of electrical qualification/training to do this sort of testing there?

Cheers,
Mike T.

smile

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Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: Trumpy] #220594 03/31/20 01:29 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 48
U
uksparx Offline
Member
Hi Mike - hope you are getting through in this problematic time.
Yes, we have been swamped by all this for years now. I have to agree with you totally, it is utter rubbish. I know, for example, a retired police officer, who got " a little bored", who went on a 3 day course and now speaks as though he has all the electrical experience in the world! I have corrected him on more than one occasion, when he has poured forth the same as comes from the rear of a cow!
It really makes no sense at all to let people like this test things. They are then either giving false confidence in items, or the opposite and throwing away perfectly good things, which only need a very minor repair.
Again, all forced upon us by health and safety gone mad, combined with a sprinkling of over cautious insurance companies, who will try not to pay out, any which way they can.
You cannot beat experience and training, the former you can only get over time.
We do have a similar problem with electricians in general, who now go on a fast track training course. I have a young guy I know, who has been qualified for over 6 years and works for a social housing group, doing maintenance. He also has a small business he set up. He calls me for advice on so many things , as he may have the paperwork, but no actual experience. It worries me - a lot....

Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: uksparx] #220595 03/31/20 08:14 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,327
Trumpy Offline OP
Member
Originally Posted by uksparx
They are then either giving false confidence in items, or the opposite and throwing away perfectly good things, which only need a very minor repair.

THIS, on so many levels!!!

I was talking to a builder about 6-7 months ago and he said that after the test and tagging guy had visited, he was told to throw out (get this) 4 extension leads, a radial arm saw, 2 grinders, a stick welder, a cord-line RCD unit, 2 work lights and the work-site kettle that the guy had had for 20+ years (as unbelievable as that sounds).

Which I thought was strange, because I've known Dave for years and one thing I do know, him and his guys are not rough on their gear (not like some builders). grin
I asked him if he wanted me to come down and have a look at the gear and give him a second opinion.
I had a look at the gear that had been marked as failed, the "faults" were repaired as follows:

  • 4 extension leads - needed new plugs or cord connectors fitted.
  • Radial arm saw - failed because it had a rubber sheathed flex on it (no action taken).
  • Grinders - failed because the commutators sparked "excessively" (fitted new brushes).
  • Stick welder - failed because the electrode (torch) lead had a small cut in it (Applied heavy duty heatshrink tubing to the cut (Bear in mind this was on the low voltage side of the welder, not the mains side).
  • Work lights - needed new plugs fitted.
  • Cord-line RCD - failed because it made a "rattling" sound when shaken. It tested perfectly with the RCD tester, opened it up and a loose screw fell out. crazy
  • Kettle - failed because it looked "old", although it tested perfectly, even the scraping earth connection gave a suprisingly low resistance of 0.02 ohms and in the name of correct functional testing, I made a really nice cup of tea. laugh


The thing that really annoys me is that some people wouldn't even give this a second thought and all of that stuff would end up in a land-fill somewhere. mad
Don't get me wrong, if some bit of equipment is dangerous and can't be repaired, sure,
it needs to be disposed of, after having been made inoperable beforehand and marked as unsafe.




Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: Trumpy] #220605 04/01/20 09:37 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,483
T
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member
Not 100% sure about the situation in Austria, Germany is pretty rigid about it. Apparently some hotels are harassing guests for plugging in their own phone chargers because those obviously haven't been PAT tested! I do remember a ban on private heating appliances (i.e. in reality kettles and coffee makers) at school in the mid-2000s but enforcement was non-existent. The Germans require any testing to be done by trained and qualified personnel but some contractors crank out tests at such high volumes that I really doubt the quality of those tests. We recently ran into the issue at work (I'm currently in a non-electrical position in a large museum) because we needed a power strip with shorter flex and my manager suggested checking with the in-house electricians instead of doing the work outselves. I asked the electricians about testing since I'd never seen any stickers and they just got a huge grin.

I do think testing is a good idea, especially on power tools and anything that's used in shops and on construction sites. I see some pretty sad stuff on a regular basis, even just as a customer! Damaged flexes and flexes ripped out of the strain relief are by far the most common issues, followed by appliance and extension leads spliced and taped with anything at hand, including paper painter's tape. And of course plugs and trailing sockets that are completely un-suitable for heavy use. Overheating because of poor connections isn't uncommon either.

Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: Trumpy] #220608 04/01/20 02:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 114
D
dsk Offline
Member
I would get problems here with those rules, for fun I still have an electric table fan with new twisted cloth covered wires and an old porcelain plug with no strain release crazy:-) It has to be at leas t from before WWii grin and I guess the term grandfathered is not among what they consider banghead

dsk

Last edited by dsk; 04/01/20 02:30 PM.
Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: dsk] #220669 04/09/20 12:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,327
Trumpy Offline OP
Member
Originally Posted by dsk
I would get problems here with those rules, for fun I still have an electric table fan with new twisted cloth covered wires and an old porcelain plug with no strain relief, It has to be at least from before WWII

dsk,
Personally, if the fabric and insulation is still in good, safe order, I can't see an issue with it.
Back in the day, that stuff was made to last forever!
I have an ancient valve (tube) AM radio here, in my workshop that I suspect was made between the wars, I refurbished it with new capacitors, a new speaker choke (that I had to rewind myself) and a new dial cord was fitted.
It still has the original rubber-sheathed fabric-coated flex which was in brand new condition.

You can't beat the sound that comes from one of these oldies, although it's hard to find something to listen to on AM these days, apart from talk-back radio, some low power community stations and the odd religious station.
I used to listen to the cricket on it during the summer, but now that's all done by streaming on the Net. frown


Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: Trumpy] #220674 04/09/20 12:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,483
T
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member
AM's pretty much extinct in Europe. I think there's one French station left and a few in Russia and further east but that's about it. The last Austrian tower was demolished in 2010. The "funeral" was quite an event, hundreds of people hiked up there that day to bid farewell!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rleK6VHvFNs

Re: All this testing and tagging stuff? [Re: Trumpy] #220743 04/26/20 06:31 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,482
G
gfretwell Offline
Member
Originally Posted by Trumpy
[quote=dsk]I
You can't beat the sound that comes from one of these oldies, although it's hard to find something to listen to on AM these days, apart from talk-back radio, some low power community stations and the odd religious station.
I used to listen to the cricket on it during the summer, but now that's all done by streaming on the Net. frown



Same on this side of the world. It was summed up fairly well on "WKRP" a TV show about an obscure AM station in the 70s. In one episode they had a consultant explaining that the AM signal was only suitable for voice, not the quality of music the public came to expect. These days with all of the apps on your phone, I think radio itself may be on it's last legs. The last time I had a radio on was listening to a TV simulcast on FM during a hurricane. I would have watched TV but my antenna got spun around pointing out into the gulf and I wasn't going up on the roof in 130 mph winds to turn it back.


Greg Fretwell

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