Electrical equipment

Persons conducting a business or undertaking have a duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) to provide a safe work place and to manage all risks in the workplace regardless of their operating environment.

To meet this duty of care it is necessary to ensure that risk of injury from electric shock for all people at the workplace is reduced as far as is reasonably practicable. Regular inspection and testing of in-service electrical equipment by a competent person is a way to ensure this safety duty is met.

Failure to maintain electrical equipment in a safe condition, or to use equipment not in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions may result in injury or death to yourself, workers, or other parties.

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the Regulation) prescribes mandatory testing and tagging for electrical power equipment used in an environment in which the normal use of electrical equipment exposes the operating conditions that are likely to result in damage or a reduction in its expected life span. This includes conditions that involve exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust.

Inspection and testing

Electrical equipment identified as being in a high-risk environment needs to be inspected and tagged on a regular basis. Inspections are to be carried out by a licensed electrician or a person certified as competent to undertake the testing.

Inspection and testing needs to be in accordance with the performance specifications of Australian Standard:

  • 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment;
  • 3012:2010 Electrical installations - Construction and demolition site; and
  • 3002:2008 Electrical installations - Shows and carnivals.

In-service procedures

Where applicable, in-service testing and inspection shall include:

  • external inspection of the equipment and the connecting facilities for example flexible supply cord;
  • protective earth continuity tests for class 1 equipment, power boards and cord sets;
  • insulation testing, which may be achieved by measuring insulation resistance, or leakage current; and
  • confirmation of the correct polarity of live connections in cord sets with re-wireable plugs and cord extension sockets.

Checks for damage to flexible supply cords that include:

  • the inner cores of flexible supply cords are not exposed or twisted;
  • the external sheaths of flexible supply cords are not cut, abraded, twisted, or damaged to such an extent that the insulation of the inner cores is visible; and
  • unprotected conductors or the use of banding insulation tape are not in evidence.

Refer to Australian Standard 3760:2010 for more information relating to physical Inspection of electrical equipment.

Compliant equipment

Following testing, compliant equipment shall be fitted with a durable, non-reusable, non-metallic tag or other indicator.

Additional procedures

Operators should be appropriately trained in the use of the electrical equipment and familiar with the relevant Australian Standard for the location and type of work performed. All machine guards must be in place, and equipment operation complies with safety procedures. All personnel should use the appropriate personal protective equipment.

Unsafe equipment

For a person conducting a business or undertaking to meet their duty of care and to comply with the Australian Standard 3760:2010, equipment that may be unsafe should be withdrawn immediately from service and have a label attached warning against further use.

Arrangements should be made, as soon as possible, for such equipment to be disposed, destroyed, or repaired by an authorised repair agent or competent person/suitably qualified person. The owner or person responsible for the safety of the site shall determine the choice of remedial action, disposal or other corrective action.

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