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Is an Electrical Tester the only measure for Electrical Inspections and Tests?

Date: 02 September 2020

Portable appliance testers are necessary for testing the safety of a wide variety of equipment in offices, construction sites, warehouses and any place of business. They are used to perform crucial electrical tests required by the AS/NZS 3760.

Is this the only way to measure the safety of an electrical appliance? Interestingly 90% of defects detected in an electrical inspection are detected by visual and physical inspection. So what is involved with the visual and physical inspection?

The Visual and Physical Inspection

When investigating potential electrical issues, electrical testers must follow a very specific checklist. The checklist is designed to both help determine the cause of the problem and help the tester determine whether it is safe to continue on with the repair, or if additional safety precautions are needed. When dealing with electrical issues dealing with plugs, outlets, cords and accessories, the visual and physical inspection checklist includes:

  • Looking for discoloration (including burnt pieces)
  • Identifying burnt pieces, loose components, or snags, cuts or kinks in the wiring
  • Investigating the guards, covers, controls, brush caps and switches to make sure everything is in working order
  • Searching for moisture or exposed conductors
  • Looking for problems with plug pins, issues with the insulation and frayed wiring due to the cord being pulled in an improper manor from the socket


If the electrical equipment does not pass the visual and physical inspection then the appliance must be tagged as ?failed? and sent to a qualified repairer or replaced if beyond repair. If the equipment has passed then the portable electrical testers can be used as the next step in the inspection process.

Portable Electrical Testers

The portable testers are testing for the following:

  • Earth testers are used to test connection between appliance and the connected earth pin.
  • Insulation tests are performed to identify potential problems with the insulation used around electrical currents.
  • Leakage tests are used to identify possible current leaks in wiring.


Understanding how to use an electrical tester is an important part of the inspection and testing procedure. There are different testers used for varying electrical issues.

There are many types of portable electrical testers that are used to identify possible problems. Some of the key elements you need to consider when purchasing a portable electrical tester are; your budget, the number of tests you are likely to conduct and how your will report on the test inspections.

Knowing how to select the right portable electrical tester based on your needs is covered in our training courses or you can call us to talk through your requirements.

Learning the correct procedure for conducting proper testing of electrical equipment and ensuring the right safety measures are in place is a requirement of a number of Codes of Practices and Standards for workplace safety in Australia. If you would like to know more about electrical testing courses for your organisation, you can learn more about our Test Tag Course here.

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