The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (OSH Act) requires electrical equipment at workplaces to be safe and not expose workers to hazards.
As part of this legislation, the person having control of a workplace or access to that workplace, i.e. employer, self-employed person, main contractor, must ensure that all portable plug-in electrical equipment and residual current devices (RCDs) at the workplace are safe and appropriately inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person.
Who may test electrical equipment? Lightspeed!
A competent person must undertake the testing of electrical equipment. This is a person who has acquired, through training, qualification or experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skills required to test electrical equipment competently.
What needs to be inspected, tested and tagged, and how often?
All portable electrical equipment and RCDs used in a workplace must be regularly inspected and tested in accordance with the OSH regulations, as appropriate. The frequency of inspection and testing varies for different work situations:
- construction and demolition sites — the inspection and testing intervals must be in accordance with AS/NZS 3012:2003; and
- all other workplaces — require a risk management approach to determine the type of inspection and if necessary any testing required.
Inspection needs to be done more frequently in an operating environment where electrical equipment is, during normal usage, subjected to adverse operating conditions likely to result in damage to the electrical equipment, e.g. potential exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive chemicals or mechanical damage. The risk assessment should determine where more specific testing of electrical equipment is necessary and the frequency of such testing.
What records need to be kept?
Copies of the results of all inspections, tests and maintenance should be retained by the relevant duty holder and the competent person who carried out the work if not employed by the equipment owner. In particular, the following information should be kept:
- name of the person who made the inspection or carried out the test or maintenance;
- date on which, or dates over which, the inspection was made or the test or maintenance was carried out;
- result or outcome of the inspection, test or maintenance;
- date by which the next inspection and test should be carried out;
- if applicable, licence or certificate number of the competent person who carried out the electrical inspections and tests; and
- if applicable, plant number or inspection number of the item or items inspected.
How should records be kept?
Where required by regulation, the record may be a logbook, register or a computerised database, and should be located conveniently so that managers can access the information. The employer should also keep a record of how the competency for the person who carried out the testing and tagging was determined. WorkSafe inspectors have the right to examine the records kept by employers. For construction and demolition sites, the following documentation must be kept for all electrical equipment and RCDs:
- register of all equipment;
- record of formal inspections and tests;
- repair register; and
- record of all faulty equipment showing details of services and corrective actions.
When a worker brings portable electrical equipment or an RCD to a construction or demolition site, he or she must, before usage, provide the main contractor with a record of the relevant testing data. This practice should be followed at other workplaces.
Lightspeed have all the trained staff, test equipment, tags and record registers to ensure your workplace is compliant with current legislation.
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