Every so often we hear of a business having a major fire caused by substandard electrical equipment. The disruption to life and business could have easily been avoided if the electrical equipment had been tested and tagged.
Being compliant with the national Test and Tag Safety Standard, NZS 3760, not only gives you peace of mind, but lets you know if an appliance, new or old, is a possible hazard.
The reasons you should test and tag are:
- Duty of care to ensure the safety of your employees.
- If someone is hurt from an appliance that was not tested and unsafe, you could be found liable.
- If a fire is started due to an appliance not tested and tagged, your insurance provider may not pay out.
What type of equipment should be tested and tagged?
Any device that has a flexible cable, a removable plug and has a voltage exceeding 50V. This INCLUDES Extension Cords and Power Boards.
What can you do NOW to ensure your Extension Cords and Power Boards are safe to use?
1. Extension Cords (also called Extension Leads)
- Make sure cords are in good condition. Frayed, cracked, or damaged cords are dangerous and may result in fire or electrical shock.
- Check there are no external wires that are exposed or twisted, and there are no signs of overheating or burning of plugs.
- Do not use any cords that have been repaired using tape.
- Extension cords are for temporary use only. If a permanent power source is required where an extension cord is in use, ask a licensed electrician to install a power socket.
- Always unplug the extension cord when not in use.
- It is a good idea to connect the plug and socket of the extension cord together when not in use, in order to prevent the pins from getting damaged.
2. Power Boards (also called Electrical Portal Outlet Devices (EPODs))
- These are intended for low current devices only.
- Poor electrical connections and overloading of power boards are a major cause of electrical fires, especially if the appliances connected, either individually or in combination, draw heavy current loads.
- You can check your power board by giving it a gentle shake. If you hear rattling inside, this means one or more of the connections are loose. If you unplug one of the sockets and see/hear sparks, feel tingles or there is an unusual smell, these are signs that there is something wrong. For all of these, STOP using the power board immediately and replace it.