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Bec Sparky, Clipsal Brand Ambassador and qualified electrician

TESTING AND TAGGING:

©iStockphoto.com/Tatiana Popova

FULFILLING YOUR DUTY OF CARE

Regular testing and tagging of your organisation’s electrical equipment is not just a legal requirement but a smart way to protect your business and its employees from the dangers of faulty electrical equipment.

A

t the extreme end, faulty equipment can cause electrical fires or shock, resulting in injuries that can sometimes be fatal. There is also the risk of equipment failure. While perhaps more benign from a safety perspective, the failure of a key electrical device can have serious impacts on business continuity. Routine inspections can identify obvious signs of wear and tear but also other conditions that may render electrical equipment unsafe such as wiring faults or ineffective safety switches. For all of these reasons, it’s critical that you’re familiar with the regulations around testing and tagging and the steps you can take to protect your business.

UNDERSTANDING THE REGULATORY LANDSCAPE Organisations of all sizes are bound by regulatory obligations

30 SAFETY SOLUTIONS - OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016

to regularly test electrical equipment. These regulations vary amongst the different states and territories in Australia but all require testing at scheduled intervals. In manufacturing or other high-risk environments, routine testing is generally required every six months. There are also specific tests such residual current device (RCD) testing which need to occur as often as every three months. In addition, Safe Work Australia mandates that any person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty of care under the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act “to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons at the workplace are not exposed to electrical risks arising from the business or undertaking”. Safe Work Australia’s Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace Code of Practice also calls for regular testing of electrical equipment, which it

says may involve, in part: • looking for obvious damage, defects or modifications to the electrical equipment, including accessories, connectors, plugs or cord extension sockets; • looking for discolouration that may indicate exposure to excessive heat, chemicals or moisture; • checking the integrity of protective earth and insulation resistance; • checking that flexible cords are effectively anchored to equipment, plugs, connectors and cord extension sockets; • looking for damage to flexible cords; • checking that operating controls are in good working order ie, they are secure, aligned and appropriately identified; • checking that covers, guards, etc are secured and working in the manner intended by the manufacturer or supplier;

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Safety Solutions Oct/Nov 2016  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...

Safety Solutions Oct/Nov 2016  

Launched in April 2003, this bi-monthly magazine provides vital information on safety products and services in the industrial, construction,...