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 (PCBU – the new term that includes employers) 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 conditions that 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.
Competent person for inspection and testing
A competent person to carry out the task of inspecting and testing electrical equipment is someone who has acquired, through training, qualification or experience, the knowledge and skills to carry out the tasks.
The Australian Standard AS/NZS 3760 In service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment provides guidance on inspection, testing and tagging methods.
Electrical equipment used on construction or demolition sites must be regularly inspected and tested in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3012: 2010 Electrical installations - Construction and demolition sites.
Regular testing requirements
The frequency of inspection and testing will vary depending on the nature of the workplace and the risks associated with the electrical equipment.
Equipment hired to construction and demolition sites must be regularly inspected and tested in accordance with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3012: 2010 Electrical installations - Construction and demolition sites.
Record of testing results
A record of testing must be kept until the electrical equipment is next tested, permanently removed from the workplace or disposed of. A record of testing must specify:
- the name of the person who carried out the testing
- the date of the testing
- the outcome of the testing
- the date on which the next testing must be carried out.
The record may be in the form of a tag attached to the electrical equipment tested.
The draft code of practice Managing electrical risks at the workplace provides more information on inspection and testing of electrical equipment.
The Electrical equipment risk assessment checklist was developed under the previous OHS legislation and provides some relevant content. It will be updated soon to reflect the new WHS legislation.
Call 13 10 50 for more information about inspection and testing of electrical equipment.