Test and Tag for Film and Television Productions

In NSW there are three main documents which cover electrical safety for film and TV work sites:

1. Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW)
2. Australian Standard 4249 - Electrical Safety practices for film and television sites
3. Australian Standard 3760 - In-service inspection and testing of electrical appliances

The basic principle of electrical safety is stated in section 64 of the OH&S Regulation 2001:
"An employer must ensure that any risk of injury from electricity at a place of work is eliminated or, if elimination is not reasonably practicable, the risk is controlled".

The guidelines for testing and tagging are different depending on the type of environment in which the appliances are operating.

Equipment On Set

Any film set is taken to be quite a high-risk environment for electrical equipment. Some reasons for this include:
- Outdoor location or exposure to weather or atmospheric SFX
- Use of Forklifts, boom-lifts, and other vehicles which may damage cables
- Presence of water or other liquids
- Presence of dust, dirt, debris etc.
- Presence of chemicals, solvents etc
- High temperatures associated with film lighting equipment
- Unknown origin of electrical props and practical lighting equipment

Because film sets and locations are a relatively hostile environment for electrical equipment and appliances, it is generally accepted by film electricians that all appliances must be tested and tagged before going to set.

Film & TV Departmental Offices

New laws in NSW lower the test and tag requirements for low-risk work environments. An example of a low-risk work environment might be an accounting firm's office, which is a permanent setup, and all appliances are purchased new by the company, and not provided by individuals.

There are guidelines, but no definite rules for a workplace like film production offices. The regulation is designed so that the employer can make a documented risk assessment for each particular work environment.

The electrical risks in an environment such as a film production office may be assessed as significantly higher than in a permanent business office , such as an accountants' or an architects' office. There are a few of reasons for this:
- It is a temporary workplace - which means a reliance on extension cords and power boards rather than fixed wiring which has been installed and tested by an electrician.
- A variety of appliances which may come from various past productions, or be brought in from home by staff.
- The lack of a specific person who is competent to assess electrical risks, and responsible for identifying and eliminating hazards.
- Past experience of having withdrawn from service in film departmental offices many appliances which were extremely dangerous.

The regulation says that "an employer must ensure that any risk of injury from electricity at a place of work is eliminated or, if elimination is not reasonably practicable, the risk is controlled".

The most practical way to control the risk from the use of portable electrical equipment is to test and tag all items which are to be used on the production.

Film and TV Electrical Testing made Easy:

Sydney Electrical Appliance Testing are the experts when it comes to test and tag for film and television productions. With many years of experience in electrical testing for films such as Moulin Rouge, Matrix II & III, Star Wars III, and Superman Returns, you can be sure that SEAT understands your requirements and special applications.
Contact Us for more information.

Like to know more about the testing procedure and find out how easy it can be? Click on 'FAQ' for answers.

ARTICLE: What is test and tag? Click here

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