Testing and tagging of electrical equipment is gaining momentum as awareness regarding the hazards of electrical appliances is increasing day by day. Since we are surrounded by electrical appliances, it becomes much more important to ensure that all equipment is safe and in perfect working condition through the use of test and tag colors.
Why test equipment at all?
Testing of equipment refers to the process whereby electrical equipment is tested to ensure safety of use. Like all appliances, equipment around us suffers wear and tear as well. This reduces its ability to perform at optimum levels and may lead to a condition where the use of the appliance could render harmful results for the user.
What is meant by testing?
The testing of equipment takes two main forms.
- Visual inspection
During this phase of testing, equipment is observed for any visual signs of damage. For this purpose, equipment is usually viewed from all angles for which it might be altogether removed from its place of residence and then inspected. Visual signs of damage include frayed wires, damaged seals and switches among others.
- Electrical inspection
Electrical inspection is performed by the use of appliances. These appliances have been specifically formulated to test devices and assess performance.
Following inspection and evaluation by certified practitioners, the equipment is tagged to reflect condition.
With increasing awareness, more and more countries are now drafting legislation to enforce the testing of equipment and standardize procedures. Test and tag New Zealand, for instance is now done according to legislative laws and rules to reflect uniformity in procedures.
“Tags” and all that they represent.
Once equipment has been tested both visually and electrically by certified and trained professionals, their condition is then evaluated. After evaluation of condition, the appliances are tagged.
Tagging refers to the process whereby tags are adhered to equipment which reflect the condition. These tags are color coded and typically display the following information:
- The date at which equipment was tested or re-tested
- The date at which a re-test becomes due
- Details of the practitioner performing the test
- The tags are color coded as well.
Color coding of Tags
Many countries have standardized color coding of tags applied to electrical equipment. This has been done so that a particular system is followed throughout an industry. One system of tagging provides the benefit of a recognizable and thorough system leading to uniformity, easy identification and comprehension of the information that a tag contains. The end objective is of course a safer working environment for all.
It would be easier to understand the system of color coding through an example of the system being followed by the mining, construction and demolition industries in Australia and New Zealand. The four colors that are used normally on a quarterly basis are:
- Red for December, January and February
- Green for March, April and May
- Blue for June, July and August
- Yellow for September, October and November
Other colors such as orange, white, black, burgundy and grey might also be used, however they aren’t used on a routine basis.
Should all equipment be tested?
Generally equipment falls into two broad categories:
Class I:Appliances that are earthed for example electrical iron, toasters.
Class II:Appliances such as electrical drills which are double insulated.
All equipment should ideally be tested and tagged. Even mundane everyday objects can be exceedingly harmful. An example of something used multiple times a day in offices, homes as well as large and small restaurants is a microwave. The microwave operates through waves, which energize water particles in food.
These water particles then oscillate to produce heat energy. The wear and tear of microwave through repeated rough handling for instance closing the door with force could lead to damage and leakage of radiation that is very harmful to people operating it in routine.
Testing and tagging of electrical equipment may well be the next step forward for increasing protection of all workers interacting with equipment in everyday office life, as well as people working around equipment at home.
Test and tag colors in particular play a major role in the identification of equipment that has been tested and corresponding information. Always remember: Better safe than sorry !