Health+Safety Dental|Tag & Test electrical standards and avoid harm to personnel and patients!

Updated: Oct 29, 2018

Health + Safety Dental| Be compliant with the relevant Tag & Test electrical standards and avoid harm to personnel and patients!

I had promised to have a look into the Tag & Test requirements in relation to Dental Practices, there are three relevant AS/NZ Standards that dental providers need to consider in relation to treating patients. Here is a great link to some FAQ’s about medical and dental equipment needs I found from Meditest. However, the Worksafe website says it's not mandatory to tag & test. What is legally required is that equipment is electrically safe and maintained in a safe condition. But what standard of testing are they referring to? I’ve talked to electricians including an electrical inspector, I’ve looked at the standards and searched the web for information and if I thought this was going to be a simple answer, I was wrong!

Which Standard where?

All equipment inside a dental surgery treatment area falls under AS/NZS 3551 which is the correct standard for testing medical electrical appliances. Some examples were this may be debated are as follows:

· If a computer is used in a surgery

· Television for patient viewing in the surgery

Does it come under AS/NZS 3551 or AS/NZS 3760, the standard used by electricians to test & tag for general appliance testing, a much more cost effective and simpler level of testing? The issue becomes trickery if the computer has equipment used on the patient, run through it like an intra-oral camera, or a television is mounted on the dental chair?

If it is used to run any device used during patient treatment, for example an intra-oral camera that is plugged into the computer, it must fall under AS/NZS 3551 however if it never comes into “contact with the patient” you may be able to use AS/NZS 3760 a much simpler and cost effect standard of testing. AS/NZS 3760 would also be acceptable in all non-treatment areas like the office/reception areas, kitchen facility and possibly the lab. Think about where you place appliances, TV’s for instance, should be attached to ceilings and limit what is run through computers.

So, what is the difference between the two testing standards?

Any medical electrical appliances must be tested, calibrated and tagged after any repair or adjustment and serviced annually. The electrical service provider should produce a report on the equipment testing that must be filed and retained by the practice. This can be costly as the number of separate pieces of equipment soon add up.

Who is qualified to carry out testing?

For general appliance testing, anyone who has undergone tag & test training and has the equipment can do this, see the WorkSafe link above. My electrical inspector tells me according to the Regulations the electrical service provider must be qualified to work on that equipment. Even if they say they are qualified ask them to provide assurance and keep a copy in your files. This is a specialist area and the provider must be familiar with the equipment and the manufactures standards to insure it is tested and calibrated correctly.


Get your specialist equipment electrical provider to decide on what fits the standards being tested, document it and file a copy for your records. Remember in dental / medical environments we have a cross over of electricity and water, not a good mix if any of your equipment is leaking electricity. I did find the Meditest FAQ link helpful. I have also included a list of standards that should be referred to below.

Relevant AS/NZ Standards

Testing for all body protected electrical area’s and cardiac electrical area’s (Annual)

· AS/NZS 3003:2011 Electrical Installations – Patient areas

· AS/NZS 2500:2004 Guide to the safe use of electricity in patient care

· AS/NZS 3551:2012 Management programs for medical equipment

General electrical testing

· AS/NZS 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment

Autoclave Validation

· AS/NZS 4815:2006 Office based healthcare facilities – Reprocessing of reusable medical and surgical instruments and equipment, and maintenance of the associated environment. (Autoclave)

· AS/NZS 4187:2014 Reprocessing of reusable medical devices in health service organizations (Autoclave validation?)

X-Rays and x-ray equipment compliance testing

· Codes of safe practice for radiation use| Ministry of Health

o CSP5 Use of x-rays in medical diagnosis

o CPS 7 Use of x-rays in dentistry

· Code of practice for Dental Radiology:

o ORS C4 (came into force 28 June 2018)


(Meditest, n.d.)

(Worksafe, n.d.)

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