Most Frequently Asked Questions
A ‘Person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) such as company directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the business or undertaking complies with the WHS Act and Regulations. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that the business or undertaking has and uses appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise electrical risks at the workplace.
Unfortunately not all businesses in Australia conform to these regulations, having the right attitude towards the safety of your workers, contractors, customers and the public is an important first step. WHS shouldn't be seen as an additional cost - it's better to deal with health and safety issues before they escalate. Knowing and understanding the WHS laws, previously known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), will help you avoid unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by workplace injury and illness.
Some companies we visited weren’t even aware that WH&S regulations affected their industry, however make no mistake regulators don’t recognise ignorance.
Basically any appliance or machinery which has a plug attached and needs to be plugged into a power point (Single phase or Three phase).
RCD’s known as (Safety switches) these could be portable or fixed.
Regular visual inspection can identify obvious damage, wear or other conditions that might make electrical equipment unsafe. Many electrical defects are detectable by visual inspection.
Regular testing can detect electrical faults and deterioration that cannot be detected by visual inspection.
The nature and frequency of inspection and testing will vary depending on the nature of the workplace and the risks associated with the electrical equipment.
Lower-risk workplaces include those workplaces that are dry, clean, well-organised and free of conditions that are likely to result in damage to electrical equipment, for example an office, retail shop, telecommunications centre etc. Electrical equipment commonly used in these types of lower-risk workplaces includes computers, photocopiers, stationery or fixed electrical equipment.
High risk environments are areas where the equipment or appliance is normally subject to events or operating conditions likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span. This includes, but is not limited to mechanical damage, exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive chemicals, and dust.
Guidance on inspecting and testing electrical equipment in the above risk categories/operating environments is included in AS/NZS 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment. This standard sets out indicative inspection and testing intervals for certain electrical equipment, including RCDs (Safety Switches) used in a variety of different operating environments.
- A person with electrical qualifications (Electrician) or
- A Competent Person who has the theoretical and practical skills, acquired through training qualification, experience or a combination of these to competently undertake the tasks required by the standard AS/NZS3760:2010
A Competent Person is not required to be a licensed Electrician nor does this person need to get qualified through a Registered Training Organisation
- It is expected that the competent person will
- Be able to use test equipment safely and effectively
- Have an understanding of the dangers of electricity, leading to an appreciation of the need for inspection and testing
- Have an understanding of the construction of Class I and Class II equipment, and of the terms basic insulation, supplementary insulation, reinforced insulation and double insulation, protective earth and earth continuity, insulation resistance and earth leakage current
- Have an understanding of the application and requirements of this Standard AS/NZS3760:2010
- Have an understanding of the relevant legislative requirements appropriate for the jurisdiction they are operating in
AS/NZS3760:2010 does not apply to Electrical Equipment above 2.5m, there isn’t a reasonable chance a person will come in contact with the appliance.
NGTA have spoken to many trades people that are employed in the construction industry and in normal industry and the feedback we get is shocking, they tell us that some companies employ an in house person to go around the site and place tags onto equipment without even testing, they do this to save money and time.
If an accident occurred and investigators found a company to be negligent the repercussions could be devastating.
NGTA are committed to WH&S and every item will be tested according to AS/NZS3760:2010, and AS/NZS3012:2010 standards.
Work Health and Safety regulation 2011
150 Inspection and testing of electrical equipment
(1) A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that electrical equipment is regularly inspected and tested by a competent person if the electrical equipment is:
(a) Supplied with electricity through an electrical socket outlet, and
(b) Used in an environment in which the normal use of electrical equipment exposes the equipment to operating conditions that are likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span, including conditions that involve exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust.
(a) In the case of an individual—$3,600, or
(b) In the case of a body corporate—$18,000.
Division 5 Electrical equipment and installations and construction work—additional duties
163 Duty of person conducting business or undertaking
(1) A person conducting a business or undertaking that includes the carrying out of construction work must comply with AS/NZS 3012:2010 (Electrical installations—Construction and demolition sites).
(a) In the case of an individual—$6,000, or
(b) In the case of a body corporate—$30,000.
165 Testing of residual current devices (Safety switches)
(1) A person with management or control of a workplace must take all reasonable steps to ensure that residual current devices used at the workplace are tested regularly by a competent person to ensure that the devices are operating effectively.
(a) In the case of an individual—$3,600, or
(b) In the case of a body corporate—$18,000.
(2) The person must keep a record of all testing of a residual current device (other than any testing conducted daily) until the earlier of the following occurs:
(a) The device is next tested,
(b) The device is permanently removed from use.
(a) In the case of an individual—$1,250, or
(b) In the case of a body corporate—$6,000.
According to Australian standard AS/NZS3012:2010
Defines construction work as being:
(a) Building work, excavation work, compressed air work and diving work;
(b) Parts of buildings that undergo structural alterations, such as extensions, major repairs or demolition, to the extent that the work necessitates the provision of a temporary electrical installation;
(c) Work on or in connection with the construction or maintenance of roads, airfields or airstrips, civil engineering works or bridges, or of the permanent way of a railway or tramway;
(d) Dredging or salvaging work;
(e) The laying, lining or maintenance of pipes or cables;
(f) Earth moving work carried out with equipment requiring the use of other than manual power;
(g) Any work in which explosives are used;
(h) Site offices, cloakrooms, meeting rooms, dormitories, canteens, toilets, appliances and other facilities provided during any work referred to in (a) to (g); and
(j) Land clearing in preparation for any work referred to in (a) to (g)
At NGTA we prefer to replace the word cost with the word investment. Let’s be honest the most important asset your business will ever have, are your employees.
Your investment will vary depending on how many tests need to be completed and what kind of service your company requires. Give us a call, we will make an appointment to come to you, we will sit down face to face and discuss your business needs and then we will personalise a WH&S plan that suits your business.
Things to consider
- How much to spend?
- How many test does your business have?
- How are you planning to record your test results?
These questions will be discussed in detail face to face, NGTA will sit down with you and together work out the best options that will suit your business.
Comcare Safework SA
Workcover NSW/SafeWork NSW
Workplace Health & Safety Queensland
WorkSafe Western Australia
Workplace Standards Tasmania
Inspection and testing intervals: Construction Sites
|Equipment class||Testing intervals|
|Construction wiring, including switchboards||Inspected and tested at time of installation, then re-inspected every 6 months|
|Re-locatable structures, fixed and transportable equipment||6 months|
|Portable equipment and flexible electrical cords (extension leads)||3 months|
|Equipment in amenities and site offices||3 months|
|Portable RCDs – push button test||Before each use of equipment|
|Portable RCDs – operating time||3 months|
|Fixed RCDs – push button test||1 months|
|Fixed RCDs – operating time||12 months|
|Hire equipment||Upon introduction to service, then in accordance with the testing intervals appropriate to the equipment class.|
Some construction sites may have a different policy when it comes to their test intervals. For e.g. instead of 3 monthly they may want them tested monthly.
Also it’s not mandatory to have colour coded tags on construction sites, however it may be the policy of the construction site to do so.