Testing & Tagging News - New Zealand & Australia
There's a new fleet in town
There's a new fleet in town, and it comes with a message of electrical safety. The team at Test & Tag Training are pleased to announce the recent update to our company fleet of Mitsubishi Triton vehicles.
The new vehicle skin will highlight the Test & Tag Training logo and graphics, but it is also the hope of our Director Jason Kiekebosch that the new fleet serves as a constant presence and reminder to ensure people don't forget the importance of checking electrical appliances and its overall safety.
We look forward to seeing you on the road!
REPORT: Overloaded power boards a main cause behind house fires
A recent interview with Metropolitan Fire Brigade fire investigator Steve Attard has shed some light on some alarming trends when it comes to house fires and our over trustworthy nature with certain electrical devices.
Last year in Melbourne alone there were 450 house fires caused by a wide variety of faulty electrical appliances, from oil heaters, laptops and mobile phone chargers.
Mr Attard stated that one of the biggest mistakes was leaving a laptop charging while sleeping, which then created a much higher risk due to overloaded power boards and piggybacking.
Power boards in particular are a common problem in the test and tag industry and it appears that people aren’t seeming to catch on with regards to overloading them.
“There’s a bit of an issue of people being too trusting and too reliant on their electrical devices”, Mr Attard said.
Because of the sheer high number of electrical incidents involving piggybacking, overloading and general wear and tear, Energy Safe Victoria are now testing the quality of imported power boards, as they appear to be the root cause for a number of fires.
Although it’ll be interesting to see if imported devices are indeed a higher risk, it’ll hopefully provide people with greater knowledge and enable them to take better precaution with their electrical devices.
What the 2016 Federal Budget means for Test and Taggers
There’s been plenty of winners and losers from the 2016 Federal Budget, but there appears to be a few things to smile about for any test and tag business owners and sole traders.
These positive changes mainly come in the form of both business and tax cuts, as explained by Treasurer Scott Morrison. If you are actively testing and tagging as a service provider, here’s what you need to know.
Tax cuts for small businesses
If you’re a small business owner, you’ll be pleased to hear that another tax cut is heading your way. In last years budget the government reduced the tax rate from 30 per cent to 28.5.
Now again, it’s going to be reduced by a further 1 per cent to 27.5 per cent this year.
Likewise, unincorporated businesses (i.e. test and tag sole traders) won’t be left in the dark either. They’ll see their tax discount increased from 5 per cent to 8 per cent from July 1, which is capped at $1000. This will continue all the way to July 1, 2026, where it will reach a final rate of 16 per cent.
You’ll remember last year the government introduced instant tax reductions for any business equipment under $20,000. This was especially useful for buying a new portable appliance tester or any additional PAT equipment and accessories.
This has remained intact and will expire as of June 30, 2017, so we suggest you make the most of it while you can.
People earning about $80,000 a year
For people who test and tag and earn over $80,000 a year – they’ll now be given a tax cut on their personal income.
This will be achieved by increasing the upper limit for the middle tax bracket from $80,000 to $87,000. While someone would have previously been taxed at 37 per cent, it now means they’ll remain at 32.5 per cent.
In other words, this effectively allows a saving of up to $315 every year for people in this tier.
What’s my next step?
There’s a difference between knowing about the changes and knowing what to do about it.
Research previously conducted by Accounting firm H&R Block suggested that only 32 per cent of businesses were utilising the $20,000 equipment write-off to its fullest potential. It is for this reason that we highly suggest you speak to your accountant on how you can take advantage of these changes.
REPORT: Concerns raised in Testing and Tagging construction sites
If we ever needed a reminder that all portable appliances need to be tested on construction sites, this could well be the reminder we need.
An inspection program that targeted construction sites in Perth found that testing and tagging was a major concerning point, highlighted by 65 improvement notices and 6 prohibition notices being handed out.
Indeed, this lack of testing and tagging is a major worry, especially since construction sites have more stringent rules and compliance than other industries. This view was reflected by the WorkSafe Acting Director Johny Reilly.
“The consequences of using unsafe electrical equipment can be disastrous, but it’s relatively easy to ensure that all portable electrical items are tested and tagged and that all leads and so on are in a safe condition.”
“We plan to continue conducting these proactive programs on sites to ensure the construction industry maintains its standards.”
This program was conducted in February by construction inspectors, which involved looking at the overall safety standards of construction sites, with the goal of identifying risks. Although other problem areas were found at the various locations, test and tag was clearly one of the failures in this instance.
With more planned inspections set to continue in the months ahead, we’re hoping these results will improve.
Further information on this inspection can be found on the WorkSafe WA website.
Apple recalls adaptors: what it means for testing and tagging
Tech giant Apple has announced an enormous recall of product adaptors for its iPads, iPhones and MacBook models sold between 2003 and 2015, including both Australia and New Zealand.
This voluntary recall was initiated after it was discovered there was an electric shock risk if touched.
It is important to remember that even faulty products are capable of passing standard tests.
This means if you come across any of these affected Apple products while testing and tagging, you need to inform your client that they've been deemed faulty, as well as withdrawing the item from service with a failed tag.
Also, to be on the safe side, you'll need to be extra vigilant for when you come across Apple wall plug adaptors and check them properly if you're unsure.
To help discover if the adaptor has been affected, Apple have released instructions, advising that you can check it by removing the adaptor from the power brick and then checking the inside slot.
An affected wall plug adaptor will contain 4 or 5 characters or no characters at all on the inside slot. If this is the case for the adaptor that you own, you need to take it into an Apple store to be replaced.
If there is a country code written instead, for example AUS or EUR, then your adaptor model isn't one of the affected ones.
Staying up-to-date with product recalls
Test & Tag Training has discovered that a lot of students (and professionals) are generally not staying up-to-date with product recalls issued by the ACCC. This is an area that's often overlooked and quite easy to forget about, but it does in fact represent an important part of testing and tagging, as these items are still capable of passing the standard tests even if they are in fact considered faulty.
To understand how you can keep track of recalled products and what you need to do when you come across one, read our blog on Product Recalls.
Test & Tag Training changes its brand colours
As part of Test & Tag Training's re-branding approach, we have now officially changed our corporate colour to green! This particular change is a result of a new direction Test & Tag Training is heading towards and the strong growth we've had over many years within the industry.
This change in corporate colour will also help unite our different brands together, which will in turn create many new and exciting products and services for us to offer you. As a whole, we expect all of these changes and new offerings to undeniably benefit our loyal customer base.
Budget 2015: How it affects the Test & Tag industry
The federal budget for 2015 has seen some positive changes made for people working in the test and tag industry, especially for current small business owners, sole traders and for anyone tempted to start their own test and tag business.
Highlighting this was the government’s decision to allow businesses with an annual turnover of less than $2 million to instantly claim tax reductions for any purchases under $20,000. This means if you’re looking to upgrade your portable appliance tester, or you simply want a brand new one – now is the time to act before the end of the financial year.
Nevertheless, any asset used to run the business is covered by this as well, so this would also include buying additional PAT equipment and certain accessories.
In addition to having the ability to immediately claim tax reductions, these businesses will have their tax rate lowered from 30 per cent to 28.5 per cent – this is the lowest it’s been in almost 50 years. Moreover, any unincorporated businesses (i.e test and tag sole traders) have been given extra support with a 5 per cent tax discount up to $1000.
Anyone looking to start up their very own test and tag business should also be quite pleased with these changes.
Start-ups will be able to immediately deduct the professional costs that are associated with starting up a new business, such as getting accounting or legal advice. Likewise, registering your new business will become a more streamlined process – certainly a handy improvement.
We suggest you seek appropriate advice from your accountant before you proceed with anything. But overall, the 2015 budget has certainly created a positive environment for current test and tag business owners and has provided an easier and cost-effective way for future business owners to enter the test and tag market.
Online Refresher Course now available
We've recently unveiled our new and exciting Online Refresher Course for any past Test and Tag students.
Designed by our testing and tagging experts, its sole purpose is to refresh your test and tag knowledge and skills, while also updating you on the current standards and regulations.
What's the exciting part you ask? The way it's delivered online is a true one-on-one and dynamic learning experience. It contains various state-of-the-art animations, highly interactive videos and customised information.
Upon completion, you'll receive a Certificate of Completion that will allow you to show customers and/or an employer your commitment to maintaining your competency level - a requirement of AS/NZS 3760. Undeniably, being able to demonstrate this will be a great distinguishing factor moving forward.
Want to know more? Have a closer look at our Test and Tag Refresher Course, or call us on 1300 848 302
Test and Tag USB Chargers
Over the last month, there's been a substantial amount of media attention surrounding the death of a woman from a faulty USB charger.
The mother-of-two was wearing headphones at the time and it is believed the $4.95 charger sent a high voltage surge through her phone and up towards her earphones.
Test & Tag Training have discovered that there's quite a bit of confusion surrounding how to test and tag chargers, or if they should be tested at all. With the aim of clearing up the issue, we've created a short video to highlight how to test and tag USB chargers to the AS 3760 standard.
Although they're considered a low voltage appliance, it's important that USB chargers be visually inspected and electrically tested on the AC side of the transformer (the side that plugs into the wall), as this side carries 240V AC current.
To see other helpful test and tag tips, please see our Useful Resources.
New Certification Card for Students
We are excited to announce that we've recently released our new customised ID cards for students who complete the Nationally Recgonised Test and Tag Course. It includes your unique certificate number so that you can show your qualifications to anyone who requests to see it, such as auditors or workplace safety officers.
This highly beneficial card also proves that you've completed a Nationally Recognised Test and Tag Course from a Registered Training Organisation, an important factor in some circumstances.
Changes to Test & Tag Unit of Competency
Following recent changes to the Electrotechnology Training Package in March 2012, the unit UEENEEP008B Conduct in-service safety testing of electrical cord assemblies and cord connected equipment is now superseded with UEENEEP026A Conduct in-service safety testing of electrical cord connected equipment and cord assemblies.
The unit of competency remains unchanged, however there is a pre-requisite unit UEENEEE101A Occupational Health & Safety regulations, codes of practices in the workplace which must be completed.
What does this mean?
Essentially, the nationally recognised qualification that relates to the Testing & Tagging of portable appliances remains unchanged, but you are now required to complete an additional pre-requisite unit that relates to basic Occupational Health & Safety.
Still confused? Call our team on 1300 848 302 and we can explain the changes in more detail.
Changes to AS/NZS 3760
AS/NZS 3760: 2003 has been updated to AS/NZS 3760: 2010
Australian & New Zealand Standard 3760 has been in its current form for the past 7 years & has now been changes & updated to a new version as of October 2010.
Following several drafts that were released for public comment the Standard has undergone some changes & those of you undertaking testing & tagging to this standard need to adhere to the guidelines of the new updated version. The full version of the standard is available for purchase at www.saiglobal.com Those attending our courses will be given this essential information as part of their course material.
The standard has been completely re-written & whilst there are many changes to the wording & certain sections have been moved & edited, there are no major changes to the actual process of testing & tagging & parameters programmed into automated Pass/ Fail portable appliance testing equipment will remain valid. Below is a brief summary of the new or revised content for your guidance.
AS/NZS 3760:2010 gives greater power to the “responsible person” of the workplace which is normally the owner (or someone who the owner appoints) of the business. The standard now better defines the role of the responsible person & also gives them guidelines to ensure that the knowledge of the person conducting the testing & tagging is sufficient & that they have undergone a level of training to deem them to be a “competent person”. Appendix B defines the knowledge required by the competent person (see below).
APPENDIX B (AZ/NZS 3760:2010)
GUIDELINES ON THE ELECTRICAL KNOWLEDGE OF A COMPETENT PERSON (Informative)
Guidelines on the electrical knowledge and other principles with which a competent person is likely to be familiar are provided below on an indicative basis only.
NOTE – Additional information may be available from electrical or OH&S regulators in the
B1.1 Basic electrical principles
(a) Introduction to electricity, AC and DC;
(b) Electrical units: Amps, Ohms, Volts.
B1.2 Circuit protection
(b) Circuit breakers;
(c) Residual current devices (RCDs).
B1.3 Electrical safety
(a) Working with electricity;
(b) Effects of current flow.
B1.4 Inspection and testing to AS/NZS 3760
(a) Inclusions and exclusions;
(b) Classes of equipment;
(c) Types of insulation;
(d) Protective earth operation;
(e) Insulation resistance;
(f) Leakage current;
(g) Correct and safe use of test equipment.
B1.5 Applicable to jurisdictional regulations
Regulatory requirements of country, state or territory.
Changes to test periods as per Table 4.
Essentially the majority of test periods for the different classes of equipment & environments have remained the same with the exception of;
- Time frames for Class I & Class II items in Manufacturing environments have been aligned & are now both required to be tested & tagged every 6 months.
- The Cord extension sets & EPODS column has been removed & these now align with the testing requirements of Class I & Class II
- Equipment used for Commercial Cleaning has been brought into 6 monthly testing & all portable RCD’s used in this environment need to have a manual push button test done daily or before each use.
Items that are New to Service
The standard still makes mention that new items are covered under manufacturer’s warranty for the first test period but they must now be tagged to say that the item is “New to Service” and has not been tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3760. The tags must also state the date of introduction to service & when the first test is due.
Changes to information on Test Tags
The new version of the standard requires some additional information to be recorded on the Test Tags. The tag must now include a re-test date as well as the test date & there must also be a reference to AS/NZS 3760 on the tag.
Testing Items with functional earthing
Some Class II items may contain a functional earthing connection which is an integral part of the operation of the appliance & not part of its safety mechanism. Conducting an earth bond (not part of a standard Class II test anyway) on these items may place the item in danger. The new standard now defines these items & specifies pass/fail limits for testing purposes.
Leakage Current testing on submersed items.
The standard now specifies a specific testing procedure for all items that are designed to operate underwater (such as pumps) & stipulates that such equipment must have a leakage test carried out whilst submerged. Care should be taken when conducting this test as water & electricity can be lethal if proper care is not taken.
The above are the major changes. There have been some additional diagrams added to certain sections which are designed to illustrate the testing process for various items.
We recommend that all persons carrying out testing & tagging check with the regulatory bodies in their jurisdiction as there are variations in OHS regulations across the States & Territories. Essentially they all refer back to the standard as the basic guideline but they may require different levels of qualification in order to carry out the testing.
For business owners or “responsible persons”, we recommend that you ensure that whoever carries out your testing & tagging has the suitable level of training & qualifications required.
If there are any questions regarding testing & tagging to the Australian & New Zealand requirements, please feel free to contact us at Test & Tag Training on 0800 111 779