What Do the Test and Tag Colours Indicate?

Have you ever wondered what the test and tag colours used at your workplace on electrical items indicate?

If you work in an environment where the appliances are regularly tested and tagged, you may have noticed different coloured tags on appliances. Do you always need to have different colours? And what do the different colours indicate?

Why are appliances tagged?

You may have noticed appliances in your workplace with coloured tags attached to their electrical cords. This indicates that the appliance has been tested as part of a ‘test and tag’ process to ensure the electrical safety of all appliances in the workplace. The appliance has been tested by a technician to ensure that it is safe to use. Once the test is completed (and the appliance passes) it is tagged with a tag that indicates the results of the test, the name of the tester, and the date the next test is due.

Why do some appliances have different coloured tags?

In most workplaces, there is no regulation to use specific coloured tags (building and construction is an exception which we cover below) but many test and tag service technicians will adopt the best practice of using one coloured tag for every appliance that is tagged at the same time, then a different coloured tag the next time they visit the workplace and so on.

They do this so that it is easy to spot at a glance if an appliance’s testing tag is current. For example, if all the tags on a site are burgundy and one appliance on the floor has an orange tag, then it’s immediately apparent that the appliance wasn’t tested at the same time as everything else. This could be because someone forgot to get it out of a cupboard when the last test and tag service was conducted or because it came from another site where a different coloured tag was used. Either way, a different coloured tag is a quick way to spot an appliance that should be manually checked to ensure that it isn’t overdue for testing.

Seasonal coloured tags

Some industries including building and construction have mandated testing and tagging because they are considered hostile operating environments where electrical appliances could be easily damaged in the normal course of work.

In building and construction, testing needs to be conducted on a three-monthly basis – ie. seasonally. There are different colours of tags that must be used, depending on when the testing and tagging is conducted.

The colours are:

  • Blue – Winter
  • Yellow – Spring
  • Red – Summer
  • Green – Autumn

If a technician is testing and tagging on a building site, they must tag all appliances with the appropriate colour for the season.

There are very good safety reasons for this procedure. Builders and sub-contractors often work on multiple sites so could be using their equipment in a number of places. Having a designated colour for the season means that a foreman or supervisor can see at a glance if all the appliances being used on their site are compliant or not and can take action accordingly. For example, a contractor using an electrical drill on site in winter that still has a green tag is using an appliance that is overdue for testing and it can’t be used on site.

Jim’s Test & Tag are experienced operators who are highly skilled and trained in the test and tag service. When they visit your premises, they can advise you on everything related to the testing and tagging in your workplace including which appliances need to be tested, how often testing needs to happen and if you’re in an industry that requires mandated coloured tags.

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