As part of the test and tagging process, and after performing the visual inspection and electrical testing of an appliance, you need to attached a tag displaying the overall PASS / FAIL outcome and other information that includes the date it was checked and when it is due for retesting.
The idea behind using a colour coding system for your tags is it makes it quicker and easier to identify appliances that were checked on a certain date or are overdue for retesting. A simple colour coding system cycles through a number of different coloured tags over several rounds of retesting.
For example if you did six monthly retesting you could start by applying BLUE tags and when you retest all the appliances you could then apply GREEN tags and then RED tags and so on. There are several advantages in using a simply colour coding system like this;
- When you finish doing a round of testing it is easy to identify any appliances you may have missed because they would have the old colour tags still on them. ie using the example above; the ones you missed would still have BLUE tags on them.
- It makes it easy for any person about to use the appliance to identify if it is OK to use the appliance – if it has a BLUE tag it is overdue and shouldn’t be used, if it has a GREEN then it is current and should be OK to use.
- If your role is to oversee the test and tag program in your workplace, then it is easy to do a “walk through” and identify if any overdue appliances are still in service or being used.
Many workplaces have a number of different environments that requires different retest intervals to be applied. You can create a colour coding system that assigns a series of colours to the different intervals used in different environments. For example the six monthly interval could cycle through BLUE, GREEN & RED whilst the twelve monthly interval could cycle through WHITE & ORANGE. It’s important to keep in mind when setting up a multiple retest interval system there should be no period where the same colour is being used at same time.
The choice of colours you use is up to you as the Standard AS/NZS 3760 (2010) doesn’t have any specific requirement on what colour tags should be used. There is however a clause that informs the reader some other standards do have specific colour coding systems. One of them is 3012 ( Electrical Installations – Construction and Demolition Sites) which uses a four colour system for the three monthly retest interval. This system is what is commonly known as the system for “builders tools”. It is used in Victoria and all other states except for NSW where they have adopted a different system due to their requirement for monthly retesting.
Problems can arise where an appliance is tagged with the correct interval and colour coding system for their State and is then moved to a workplace inside or outside NSW; especially so for mobile workers near the NSW border.
When setting up your test and tag program a colour coding system can deliver many benefits, however if some or all of your appliances will be used off-site, then you need to check if there are any specific colour coding requirements you need to implement as you wouldn’t want to arrive on-site and then be told you can’t use your tools because they have the wrong colour tag on them.
By John Blackburn
See also my article June 2011 published on our former blog site http://www.testtagmelbourne.net/new-tagging-requirements-building-sites-victoria .