Electrical Safety At Work
Electricity can kill if you give it the chance. This page gives a quick reference for employers and self-employed people to carry out their obligations under the legislation. Although it covers the main points for most types of workplace, it is not a complete list.
Even if you survive an electric shock, there can be serious side effects. These can include:
- Eye damage
- Partial loss of limb function
- Neurological disorders such as confusion and memory loss
- Injuries caused after the shock (e.g. falling from a ladder or contact with moving machinery).
The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 sets out specific requirements about electrical equipment and installations at a workplace. The regulation covers some of the things that you must do as a minimum. These requirements include:
- protecting extension leads and flexible cables from damage
- using safety switches in certain situations
- inspecting, testing and tagging certain electrical equipment on a regular basis
- removing defective equipment from service
- removing safety switches from service if they are not working properly
- not using double adaptors and piggyback plugs to do certain work
Extension cords must be regularly tested and tagged.
Employers and self-employed people must also ensure electrical equipment is maintained in a safe condition as part of fulfilling their obligations under the Electrical Safety Act.
There are six classes of test and tag work under the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, all with different requirements for electrical safety management including testing and inspection of equipment and safety switch protection.
The six classes of work are:
- construction work
- manufacturing work
- service work
- office work
- amusement work
- rural industry work
Inspecting & Testing Equipment
Specified electrical equipment and safety switches need to be tested at intervals relevant to the class of work they are to be used in. For construction work this information is contained in AS/NZS 3012 Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites (non-Queensland Government link).
For manufacturing, service, office, work, the information is contained in the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.
A durable tag must be attached to the specified electrical equipment at the completion of inspection and testing, where required, clearly showing the date of test and the scheduled date for re-inspection and retesting.
An appliance showing a Be Smart Electrical compliance test tag fitted.
Intervals for testing are determined AS/NZS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment