Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all employers are required to minimise risks to employees’ health and safety, including risks which are presented by the use of electrical appliances.
In NSW, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 Section 64(2)(a3) says that all portable electrical articles in a workplace where the “safe operation of the electrical article could be affected by a hostile operating environment” must be regularly inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person to ensure that they are safe for use”.
The regulation goes on to explain that “hostile operating environment” means an operating environment “where an electrical article is in its normal use subjected to operating conditions that are likely to result in damage to the article, and, for example includes an operating environment that may:
(a) cause mechanical damage to the article, or
(b) expose the article to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive substances or dust that is likely to result in damage to the article.”
Parts (a) and (b) above give us some common examples of operating conditions that may be considered to constitute a hostile environment. Other factors which may contribute to a hostile operating environment may be careless use of equipment by staff, or abuse by members of the public. Some appliances are just used so much that everyday wear and tear amounts to mechanical damage that presents a risk to users of the equipment.
Most workplaces present at least one or two of these factors that may constitute a hostile operating environment, some workplaces such as construction sites or factories may present all of these harsh operating conditions.
What is the solution? Inspection, testing and tagging by a competent Test and Tag technician. Sydney Electrical Appliance Testing technicians can help you to identify hostile operating conditions, and to regularly maintain your electrical equipment so that it is safe for use by your staff.
Whether you run a workshop, school, a kitchen, a university or a construction site, electrical safety is paramount. All levels of management are legally responsible for workplace safety, and a documented risk management approach is required.
Contact Sydney Electrical Appliance Testing on 02 9086 9068 to discuss your electrical testing and maintenance requirements.
To learn more about your electrical appliance safety obligations under the WHS Act, click on ‘Why test and tag?‘.