Electrical safety in the workplace is an important topic for both employers and employees alike. In Australia, the management of electrical risks at the workplace is a critical aspect of ensuring a safe and compliant working environment. Today, we want to explore into the essential aspects of workplace electrical safety compliance in Australia, and provide guidance to business owners on how to manage electrical risks effectively.
First and foremost, let’s define what an electrical risk is. In the context of workplace safety, an electrical risk is any risk that poses a threat to a person’s life, such as electric shock or other injuries, directly or indirectly caused by electricity. These risks are associated with several main hazards, including:
The severity of the risk depends on the conditions and circumstances in which electricity is used. For instance, risks are higher in outdoor or wet environments where equipment may become wet and more susceptible to damage. Additionally, confined spaces with earthed metalwork, like tanks or bins, can increase the likelihood of electrical shock if a fault develops.
PCBUs bear the responsibility of managing electrical risks at the workplace. The primary objective is to eliminate these risks wherever reasonably practicable. When elimination is not feasible, the focus should be on minimising the risks to an acceptable level. For detailed information on risk management, refer to the Code of Practice: “How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks.”
PCBUs with management or control over electrical equipment, including electrical installations, must ensure that this equipment is safe for use. This duty extends to situations where multiple PCBUs share a workplace. Regardless of ownership, the equipment must be safe.
To mitigate electrical risks effectively, consider implementing these common risk control measures:
Regular inspection and testing of electrical equipment are crucial for ensuring electrical safety. Visual inspection can identify visible damage, wear, or conditions that might compromise electrical equipment safety. However, some defects may not be detectable through visual inspection alone. Therefore, regular testing is essential to uncover hidden electrical faults and deterioration.
It is important to note that testing and tagging should be performed exclusively by professionals or by trained technicians at the very least. As a leading test & tag and emergency services brand in Australia, Testel’s technicians possess the requisite expertise and experience to accurately identify potential hazards. They are also equipped with the tools and equipment to properly carry out the task safely and effectively.
The nature and frequency of inspections and testing depend on various factors, such as the type of equipment, its usage, and the operating environment. For workplaces classified as ‘hostile operating environments,’ specific requirements from the WHS Regulations apply.
RCDs provided for use in the workplace must be fit for purpose, regularly maintained to ensure effectiveness, and tested as required by regulations.
Maintaining electrical safety compliance in the workplace is essential to protect the well-being of employees and the integrity of the business. PCBUs and workers should be alert in identifying and mitigating electrical risks, adhering to safety measures, and regularly inspecting and testing electrical equipment. By following these guidelines, Australian workplaces can create a safer environment for all.
If you would like to learn more about how Testel can assist you in managing electrical compliance for all your business, please contact us now on 1300 881 116.
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