All You Need to Know About Workplace Electrical Safety
All workers have a fundamental duty to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of their colleagues and the public. In today’s workplaces, electricity and electrical appliances are ubiquitous, which poses the risk of electric shock. However, taking simple and necessary precautions before handling any electrical equipment can help prevent electric faults or shocks in all workplaces. Proper isolation of equipment and adherence to safety procedures are essential, as they can prevent work downtime, injuries, and even save lives.
Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760
The AS/NZS 3760 Standard specifies procedures for the safety inspection and testing on low voltage single phase and polyphase electrical equipment, connected to the electrical supply by a flexible cord or connecting device.
The AS/NZS 3760 states that all electrical equipment needs to be subjected to regular inspection and testing to detect obvious damage and wear or other conditions which might render the equipment or appliance unsafe. Refer to Table 4 for testing and inspection intervals for electrical equipment.
All workplaces have a National Standard to follow. With each state or territory holding their respective regulatory bodies, a workplace is responsible for ensuring they comply with the requirements set out. See below links for your workplaces’ regulatory body.
National Safework Australia www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au
VIC Work Safe www.worksafe.vic.gov.au
NSW Safe Work http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/
QLD Work Safe https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/
WA Work Safe https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe
SA Safe Work https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/
ACT Work Safe www.worksafe.act.gov.au
TAS Work Safe https://www.worksafe.tas.gov.au/
NT Work Safe http://www.worksafe.nt.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
Under the common law, the WHS/OHS Acts require you to exercise a duty of care to ensure a secure working environment. The Australian WHS/OHS Acts specify that employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees work in an environment that is safe and free from health risks. As a crucial aspect of this responsibility, all portable electrical appliances must be tested according to the AS/NZS 3760 Standard.
The danger of electricity is not solely limited to high voltage; it can be lethal even at lower voltages. Workplace fatalities are often the result of defective equipment that has become live or contact with damaged flexible cords, switches, and other components. Every year, investigations into electrical safety incidents are conducted to determine the causes of injuries and deaths. Many such accidents can be attributed to laziness, inadequate procedures, or untrained and uncertified personnel performing tasks beyond their expertise. Conducting regular safety inspections and testing of electrical equipment can significantly reduce or eliminate accidents similar to those described above.
Does your workplace meet the National Standards? Please call us on 1300 881 116 and we will help you to maintain compliance.
With headquarters in Adelaide and multiple offices across the nation we can assist with all your safety testing requirements.