Electrical risks in the workplace

Public news

You can detect many electrical defects such as damaged cords just by examining them, but regular inspection and testing will make sure you detect electrical faults and deterioration you can’t see.

Inspections and testing must be carried out by a competent person. The nature and frequency of inspection and testing depends on factors such as the nature of the electrical equipment, how it is used, and its operating environment.

Some operating environments have the potential to seriously affect the safe operation of electrical equipment. Examples of these include wet or dusty areas, outdoors, workplaces that use corrosive substances, commercial kitchens and manufacturing environments.

If you own equipment that is required under regulation 150 to be tested, but it hasn’t, it’s best not to use it until you can do so. To ensure this happens, store the unsafe equipment in locked areas to prevent usage, or you could utilise ‘lock out’ labels and tags.

As a general rule, electrical equipment used in the higher risk operating environments specified in WHS Regulation 150 (1) should be tested at least once every 12 months. More frequent testing may be prudent, for example, in relation to:

  • Electrical equipment used in manufacturing and workshop environments (for example, at least once every six months)
  • supplied with electricity through a socket outlet (plug-in electrical equipment)
  • used in conditions likely to damage or reduce its expected life span.

You must use a residual current device (RCD) if the electrical equipment used in your workplace is:

The timelines for reporting electrical accidents depend on the severity of injuries sustained in the incident:

  • Death must be reported immediately by phone.
  • Any accident where a person requires medical assistance must be reported within one working day.
  • All other accidents involving electricity must be reported to the Office of the Technical Regulator within 10 working days of the day of the accident.

For advice or help to report an electric shock or incident, contact the Office of the Technical Regulator online or by phone on 8226 5518.

If the accident occurred in a workplace you must also lodge a report of the incident to Safework SA or call them on 1300 365 255.

More information can be found in the following code of practice and AUS Standard.

If you need more information or assistance, contact the WR team on 8291 2000 or at wr@mtasant.com.au.