Testing and tagging
Certain types of electrical equipment must be regularly inspected and tested by a competent person when used in a hostile environment. Regular inspection can identify obvious damage, wear or other conditions. Regular testing can detect electrical faults. A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that the electrical equipment is regularly inspected and tested by a competent person if the electrical equipment:
- is supplied with electricity through an electrical socket outlet (‘plug in’ equipment) and
- used in an environment in which its normal use exposes the equipment to operating conditionsthat are likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span. This includes conditions such as exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust.
The frequency of inspection and testing will vary depending on the nature of the workplace and the risks associated with the electrical equipment. A record of testing must be kept until the electrical equipment is next tested, permanently removed from the workplace or disposed of.
Precision Power Electricians provides on-site inspection and electrical testing of appliances to Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760.
A residual current device (RCD) or a residual current circuit breaker (RCCB) commonly known as a safety switch is designed to isolate power when it detects an in-balance commonly of 30 mA (milliamps) between the active and neutral conductor. These in-balances are commonly caused by current leakage through earth. This leakage can be caused via a faulty appliance or through the body of a person accidentally touching an energized piece of equipment. RCD/RCCB’s are designed to disconnect power to the circuit when a difference of 30mA is detected. This disconnection or tripping of these breakers should happen without due delay, if the RCB/RCCB takes too long to trip the results could be fatal.
Workcover NSW, Electrical Practises for Construction work, Code of Practice 2007, paragraph 5.8, states that all RCD devices either portable or fixed is subjected to a tripping time test using an RCD tester that is carried out by a licensed electrician.
An RCD is an abbreviation for Residual Current Device and commercial workplaces in NSW are required to have them installed and tested to comply with the current NSW Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Your RCD needs to be tested at regular intervals if your workplace is to comply with the current NSW work cover policies. RCD testing intervals should at least be every three months and carried out by a certified RCD tester.
Emergency and Exit Light Testing
Imagine you are sitting at your desk and all the power was cut to the premises. For people inside your workplace, it could be a frightening or dangerous experience – especially if there were no exit signs or emergency lights to help them evacuate safely.
Even if you know where all the exits are located and all the exit lights seem to be in working order, regular testing and maintenance is the only way to minimise the risk of faulty exit lights in an emergency situation, which will ultimately help to increase the safety for employees and clients in your workplace.
All emergency and exit lights must undergo a 90-minute discharge test of the battery every 6 months as stated under the Australian Standard: AS2293.1. By having the Emergency Exit lights on your premises inspected, tested and data managed, your company will be fulfilling its obligations under legislative requirements.
Emergency Exit Lighting Test Switch: The Australian Standard AS/NZS 2293.1, section 4 requires an Emergency Lighting Test Switch be installed to facilitate the testing of Emergency Lights without the need to isolate individual circuits placing work/trading areas into darkness.