How To Choose Your Test & Tag Service In Australia: Working Through The Compliance Minefield

There’s a lot of test and tag PAT services out there – choosing the best compliance contractor for your office or business can be harder than you’d think

Test & TagSo you’re up-to-date with your responsibilities as an employer or manager, right? You know all about WHS compliance and you  realise that you’re going to need to get your electrical appliances checked and certified.

Sounds easy.

But even a quick trawl through any business directory or search engine will tell you that there are great multitudes of companies out there offering test and tag services.

And there seems to be no rhyme or reason between what they’re offering and what they’re charging.

Take a look at our checklist below to work out some of the things you should be talking to your PAT provider about.

Money, money, money: How much is too much for a test and tag electrical safety check?

  • Some are quoting hourly rates. Others are giving you a per-item price. And there are huge discrepancies from company to company.
  • One thing that should instantly eliminate many providers is pricing. Depending on your industry and equipment, you’ll have to decide whether you want to pay by hour or item – but whatever you go with, make sure you check against the competitors.
  • Always ask about extra charges, and remember that in the test and tag field a larger price tag is no guarantee of quality. You don’t want to shell out for someone to wander about slapping stickers all over your business without actually checking, which leads us to…

Is your test and tag service provider performing visual checks or actual safety checks?

  • Considering that many workplaces are going to need a test and tag routine check pretty frequently, it’s not entirely unheard of for some operators to provide a sub-optimal performance.
  • Sure, the price may be right, but the warning bells should be going off if your contractor is just using a DIY kit or no equipment at all. Remember, you’re paying for the skills of a trained professional.

Make sure you’re getting what you pay for from your safety compliance contractor

  • There’s an absolute thicket of standards legislation to cut through when you’re dealing with test and tag, so make sure you’ve checked the appropriate state and industry bylaws. However, one thing that applies across the board is that ultimate responsibility for checking the competency of the tester lies with the person who has control over the workplace; i.e., if the contractor passes an appliance that later causes damage through negligence, the fault is actually yours.
  • What this means is that you need to be sure that whoever’s doing your testing and tagging has the right skills and training for your particular needs; that they’re up-to-the-minute with amendments to WHS legislation and the AS/NZS 3601 (In-Service Safety Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment); and that they have the appropriate insurance and coverage. To be totally safe you might want to consider signing up for a one-day course in test and tag yourself, but if so you might even want to consider…

Do your own test and tag services to make your workplace or home safe and compliant

  • If you’re really concerned about safety and liability – and you should be, for both legal and other consequences – then you should really thinking about running your own test and tag operation.
  • With a short course, a PAT device set up for Australian standards and some cheap tags from a vendor like Test Tag Outlet you can ensure that your checks are done properly and, after the initial outlay cost, you’ll actually save money in the long run.


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