Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1What is test & tag?

Test and tag is the process of checking the safety of portable electrical appliances to ensure compliance with Australian WHS and Electrical Safety regulations and workplace safety.

Our technician will visually inspect the electrical item for any damage, followed by mechanically test to make sure its components meet the minimum electrical thresholds. Once tested, the item is placed with a tag to confirm that it has in fact been tested, along with displaying who tested it, the test date and when the next test is due.

In addition to the inspection, the following electrical tests are performed as a minimum:

  • Insulation resistance
  • Polarity
  • Earth continuity

The AS/NZS 3760 is the Australian standard that provides guidelines and regulations for the test and tag industry with regards to electrical safety of appliances.

2Why should electrical equipment be tested?

The reasons for conducting electrical inspections and electrical testing are varied. However, it is apparent that the dangers associated to using electricity and electrical products both as a consumer and worker led to a regime to develop good industry practice which is in addition to any legal requirement that exists.

Due simply to normal use electrical equipment can develop a fault and stop working, it can become dangerous without any signs and can cause damage to other equipment.

Inspection and testing programmes are integral in management procedures that demonstrate compliance with local legislative requirements. This forms the basis of an effective and up-to-date maintenance program.

Insurers consider complaint companies are a ‘good risk’ in terms of reducing the likelihood claims. As such, companies will benefit from reduced premiums as offered by the insurer.

At the very least repairing an identified fault prior to breakdown allows for business continuity and minimises losses due to repair or lost productivity.

3What items should be tested and tagged?

As a general guide any electrical item that has a flexible power lead and plug into a power point or socket need to be inspected, tested and tagged on a regular basis.

Our technicians will be able to offer advice and support for this question in more detail on site.

4How often should appliances be tested and tagged?

The Australian Standards recommend particular test and tag frequencies are based upon both electrical item and the environment the item is used. Sometimes, this might differ depending on a workplaces individual risk assessment.

Once we have your items listed on our database, our client support will give you a friendly and timely reminder before the next test’s due date to ensure that all your equipment is in line with the Australian Safety Standards.  

If you would like to know more, the following links provide further details.

Australian Standards

  • AS/NZS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment and RCD’s
  • AS/NZS 3012 Electrical installations - Construction and demolition sites
  • AS/NZS 5762 In-service safety inspection and testing - Repaired electrical equipment


Safe Work Australia

  • Model Code of Practice: Managing electrical risks in the workplace
5What is the meaning of different tagging colors?

It is not a legislative requirement to use specific tag colors. We adopted the practice of tag colors to visually identify items that are due at a particular time.

Frequency of 12 months or less

1st quarter     Red

2nd quarter  Green

3rd quarter   Blue

4th quarter   Yellow

Frequency of greater than 12 months

2 years Grey

3 years Burgundy

5 years Black


Each site has a nominated registration date which is the basis of flagging when test cycles are due.

For example, the registration date is 1st January 2000. In July 2005 items with a blue tag or a black tag are due. The technician will seek out items which are tagged blue, black or new to service or the item is untagged.

6What are the benefits of a single provider?

Managing the assets of an organisation involves managing people and personalities and also systems. As the volume of assets grow so does the number of people, personalities and systems. This aspect alone creates an increasing administrational task and is resource demanding. Using a single provider means dealing with one personality, one unform system, one point of call enabling your entire organisation as required to be also deal with a single provider.

Reporting, record keeping, and all functions are channelled through a consistent system for all your sites across Australia. This single management will highlight any sites or services required which have inadvertently been overlooked. It will also expose duplication in the case where the same equipment is being serviced by multiple providers.

As a single source of safety testing supplier, we are able to provide a comprehensive suite of services across the whole of Australia, which means the project management will become simple due to communication with fewer people, and the administrative and other costs will be reduced.

7Why choose Testel to manage emergency services?

Testel deliver the following:

  • Credentialed and qualified technicians and electricians
  • Pre-qualification processes in place and maintained
  • Quality assured since 2003
  • National provider covering all locations in Australia
  • Single client manager for your entire organisation
  • Bespoke data management system


Testel attained assurance certification in 2003 which has been externally audited and maintained since that time and we are certified to the current standards:

  • QMS ASNZS 4801 Occupational health and safety management systems
  • QMS ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems
  • QMS ISO 14001 2015 Environmental Management Systems
8What is an RCD?

RCD is acronym for residual current device. RCDs are also known as safety switches or earth leakage core balance (ELCB) units.

Current flows into an electrical item via a live conductor then powers the consuming device and leaves via a second live conductor. The RCD is placed in the electrical circuit and measures the current in both conductors. It measures the electrical current entering the item and the current leaving the item. In the case where less current is measured leaving than that entering the RCD will trip and stop current flow as current leakage has been identified. This stops current entering the item.

This action has measured a fault or undesired leakage within the device and is designed to trip to protect the circuit and user from any further current.  

Various styles of RCDs are manufactured and they all operate using the same fundamental method. For example:

  • Fixed wired RCDs which are installed in a switchboard
  • Portable RCDs that can be easily moved
  • Plug-top RCDs fitted to the end of a lead.
  • Socket Outlet RCD’s
9Why should I conduct electrical safety testing when RCDs are installed?

RCDs are designed to work in particular cases only. When current leaks to earth or there is a leakage to earth, the RCD is designed to trip as described above. In the case where a person is in contact with both live conductors and completes the electrical circuit, the RCD will measure the same current leaving as measured entering the device and is not designed to work or trip. In this case current enters the item, passes through the person and leaves the item. This is the cause of an electrical shock.

10What is microwave leakage testing?

Microwave leakage testing measures the emissions or the quantity of microwave rays that are emitted from the microwave unit. Whilst the microwave unit is operating with a container of water inside the microwave leakage detecting meter is passed around the perimeter of the microwave unit and the meter counts the number of rays detected or the emission rate.

The measured emission rate is compared to the known safe levels. Regular testing will identify how the leakage changes over time.

11How regularly should a microwave be tested for leakage?

Gazetted requirements are difficult to source and generally though good industry practice microwaves are tested annually in accordance with Australian Standards: AS/NZS 60335.2.25 Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety particular requirements for microwave ovens, including combination microwave ovens and AS/NZS 60335.2.90 Household and similar electrical appliances - Safety particular requirements for commercial microwave ovens.

12Can a microwave leak?

Generally, the biggest threat from microwave use is the result of burns from hot foods and liquids. Less obvious to the senses is microwave leakage because you cannot smell or see the microwave radiation. Old or faulty seals are an obvious area of leakage and microwave leakage testing will measure the leakage levels. Links for further information:

  • CSIRO Microwave Oven Safety
  • Australian Government Microwave Ovens and Health
13Why are my emergency and exit lights on a dedicated circuit?

The nature of the emergency and exit light testing requires turning off the power to the circuit for 90 minutes. This permits the back-up battery to energise the emergency and exit points as a feature of the test process. In so doing all lighting on the circuit will be unpowered for 90 minutes. Being on a dedicated circuit the emergency and exit light test will not interfere with the general lighting.

14What can thermal imaging or thermography detect?

Thermal imaging or thermography uses infrared radiation to measure differences in temperature between materials. Different materials release heat at different rates and in such cases a temperature difference will be detected.

Thermography is used to

  • identify hot spots in electrical installations
  • detect cracks or leaks in pipes
  • monitor the temperature performance of an oven or conveyor system over a period of time.