Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Electrical Safety Procedures

Establishment: Vice-Chancellor, 19 June 1997
Last Amended: Vice-President (Strategic Finance and Resources), 24 April 2014
Nature of Amendment: In accordance with new legislation
Date Last Reviewed: 24 April 2014
Responsible Officer: Director, Buildings & Property Division

Table of Contents

1.  Purpose
2.  Scope  
3.  Definitions   
4.  Responsibilities

4.1  Senior Executives    
4.2  Buildings and Property Division  
4.3  Competent Persons  
4.4  Workers and students

5.  Electrical Installations
6.  Management of Electrical Hazards   
7.  Inspection and testing of electrical equipment 

7.1  General  
7.2  New electrical equipment    
7.3  Fixed desk-top computers    
7.4  Imported equipment   
7.5  Second-hand electrical equipment   
7.6  Undergraduate student electrical equipment  
7.7  Medical devices and patient connect electrical equipment
7.8  Repaired or serviced equipment  
7.9  Inspection and testing record keeping

8.  Access to switchboards and circuit breakers  
9.  Temporary Power Supplies and Switchboards  
10.  Use of power boards, double adaptors and piggyback plugs, and extension leads

10.1  Power boards   
10.2  Double adaptors and piggy back plugs    
10.3  Extension leads

11.  Residual Current Devices

11.4  Inspecting and testing RCDs

12.  EPODs in furniture 
13.  Reporting of electric shock and electrical incidents    
14.  Legislative and Policy Framework
15.  Review  

Appendix A: Australian Standards relevant to electrical safety


1.  Purpose

The purpose of these procedures is to provide a framework for managing electrical safety in the University and provide protection from the risks associated with electricity.

The technical details which qualified electricians and electronic technicians are expected to know have not been repeated in these procedures.

Additional procedures may be developed from time to time to cover specific areas of concern and are to be read in conjunction with this document.

2.  Scope

These procedures apply to all workplaces owned, managed or controlled by Flinders University and any place where work is performed by a worker on behalf of the University.

3.  Definitions

For the purpose of these procedures, the following definitions apply:

Competent Person

An appropriately qualified person authorised to undertake electrical work as detailed in clause 4.3:

  • for electrical work (other than electrical testing)on energised electrical equipment or energised electrical installations, a licensed or registered electrician or any other person permitted to carry out or supervise electrical work under relevant State or Territory legislation
  • for any other case (including electrical testing), a person who has the knowledge and skills, acquired through training, qualification and/or experience, to carry out the tasks required.
Senior Executives Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Senior Vice-President, Vice-President, Executive Deans of Faculty.
Electrical Equipment

Apparatus, appliance, cable, conductor, fitting, flexible supply cord, insulator, material, meter, powerpack or wire that:

  • is used for controlling, generating, supplying, transforming or transmitting electricity at a voltage greater than extra-low voltage;
  • is operated by electricity at a voltage greater than extra-low voltage; or
  • is part of an electrical installation located in an area in which the atmosphere presents a risk to health and safety from fire or explosion.  
Electrical Installation

A group of items of electrical equipment (eg switchboards, distribution boards etc) that

  • are permanently electrically connected together
  • can be supplied with electricity from the works of an electricity supply authority or from a generating source   
Electrical Lead An assembly of a plug intended for connection to a mains outlet socket, a sheathed flexible cord and a cord extension socket.
Electrical Work Work involving
  • connecting electricity supply wiring to electrical equipment or disconnecting electricity supply wiring from electrical equipment; or
  • installing, removing, adding, testing, replacing, repairing, altering or maintaining electrical equipment or an electrical installation.

Electrical work does not include:

  • work that involves connecting electrical equipment to an electricity supply by means of a flexible cord plug and socket outlet;
  • work on a non-electrical component of electrical equipment if the person carrying out the work is not exposed to an electrical risk; or
  • replacing electrical equipment or a component of electrical equipment if that task can be safely performed by a person who does not have expertise in carrying out electrical work (e.g. replacing light bulbs).
Electrical Portable Outlet Device (EPOD) A device other than a cord extension set which has a single plug for connection to a mains outlet socket, a sheathed cord and an assembly of one or more socket outlets, eg power board.
Residual Current
Device (RCD)
A mechanical switching device intended to isolate a circuit when the current imbalance attains the rated operating leakage current value of the device.
Voltage
  • Extra-low voltage – voltage that does not exceed 50 volts alternating current (50 V a.c.) or 120 volts ripple-free direct current (120 V ripple-free d.c.)
  • Low voltage – voltage that exceeds extra-low voltage but does not exceed 1000 volts alternating current (1000 V a.c.) or 1500 volts direct current (120 V d.c.)
  • High voltage – voltage that exceeds low voltage
Worker A person who carries out work in any capacity for the University including academic and professional staff, contractors and sub-contractors and their employees, labour hire company employees, trainees, persons gaining work experience and volunteers.
Workplace A place where work, study or research is carried out for the University and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while working, teaching, studying or undertaking research.

4.  Responsibilities

The University has a duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers, students and others in the workplace are not exposed to electrical risks in the workplace. This includes eliminating electrical risks or, if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising the risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

4.1  Senior Executives                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Senior Executives are responsible for ensuring that these Electrical Safety Procedures are implemented in their Faculty/Portfolio including:

4.1.1  where required for the work to be undertaken, approving relevant staff in their Faculty/Portfolio as Competent Persons – Electrical/Electronic Technicians and/or Competent Persons – Testing and Tagging;

4.1.2  ensuring that where work is to be undertaken by a licensed electrician, only persons approved by the Buildings and Property Division as Competent Persons - Licensed Electrical Workers, as defined by clause 4.3 of these procedures, carry out such work in their Faculty/Portfolio;

4.1.3  ensuring that procedures for the management of electrical safety in the Faculty/Portfolio are established and implemented in consultation with staff and their health and safety representative(s).  Such procedures must include:

  • hazard identification, risk assessment, risk control, visual inspection, testing and tagging of electrical equipment and recording of results;
  • safety of students engaged in activities involving the use of electrical equipment.

Local procedures must be cross-referenced to these procedures.

4.1.4  ensuring so far as is reasonably practicable that where a contractor is employed to perform maintenance or repair of any item of electrical equipment the person performing the maintenance or repair is appropriately qualified.

4.2  Buildings and Property Division

The Buildings and Property Division is responsible for:

4.2.1  the electrical installation in all University buildings including provision, maintenance, repair, alteration and additions to the electrical installation;

4.2.2  the safety of such installation and its compliance with appropriate legislation and Australian Standards;

4.2.3  ensuring effective residual current devices (RCDs) are installed in certain high-risk environments as defined in the regulations and ensuring the testing and  maintenance all fixed RCDs in accordance with AS/NZS3760;

4.2.4  authorising Competent Persons – Licensed Electrical Workers to carry out or supervise electrical work in the University;

4.2.5  reporting immediately any electric shock incident to the Manager, WHS, who will report it to the Office of the Technical Regulator and SafeWorkSA, WorkSafe NT or WorkSafe Victoria within the required timeframe;

4.2.6  ensuring that electrical work that is required to be undertaken by a licensed electrical worker is undertaken by a worker who meets the relevant licensing requirements in the State/Territory concerned; and

4.2.7  consulting, as far as is reasonably practicable, other persons or businesses which share responsibility for a health and safety matter, including electrical safety.

4.3  Competent Persons

4.3.1  Competent Persons – Licensed Electrical Workers
The Director, Buildings and Property must approve Competent Persons who are to do the following work:

4.3.1.1  install, repair and modify electrical supply circuits, switchboards, fixed lighting, hard wired plant/equipment and electrical devices; test RCDs. A Certificate of Compliance will be required for the majority of work at this level.

Minimum qualifications:
SA: Electrical Workers Registration (formerly A Class)
NT: A Grade Electrical Mechanic
Vic: A Grade Electrical Licence

4.3.1.2  disconnect/re-connect hard wired plant/equipment for repair and maintenance purposes. A Certificate of Compliance will be required for the majority of work at this level.

Minimum qualifications:
SA:  Electrical Workers Registration (formerly A or B Class)
NT: A Grade Electrical Mechanic
Vic: A Grade Electrical Licence

4.3.2  Competent Persons – Electrical/Electronic Technicians
The relevant Senior Executive must approve Competent Persons who are to undertake the following work:

4.3.2.1  build, modify and repair specialist/experimental apparatus capable of connection to the electrical supply installation. Staff authorised under this category will be technical staff engaged in the development of equipment and appliances required for specific use in teaching and research, for which commercially produced equipment is not readily available.

Minimum qualifications:
Tertiary or TAFE certification as an electrical/electronics technician or similar qualifications

4.3.2.2  undertake repair and maintenance on appliances capable of connection to the electrical supply installation. Staff authorised under this category will be technical staff engaged in the repair and maintenance of equipment e.g. computers and peripherals, audio visual equipment, laboratory equipment and other appliances utilized in teaching and research.

Minimum qualifications:
Tertiary or TAFE certification as an electrical/electronics technician or similar qualifications

4.3.3  Competent Persons – Testing and Tagging
The relevant Senior Executive must approve Competent Persons who are to undertake electrical testing and tagging (other than RCD testing) in their Faculty/Portfolio.

Minimum qualifications:
Flinders University Electrical Safety Training, Parts I & II Certificate or equivalent TAFE or similar qualifications

4.3.4  Competent Persons are responsible for:

4.3.4.1  ensuring that all electrical work they undertake complies with relevant mandatory requirements set down by legislation and the safety standards outlined in these procedures.

4.3.4.2  undertaking ongoing training in electrical safety, the details of which will be determined by the person's supervisor.


4.4  Workers and students

Workers and students are responsible for taking care to protect their own health and safety and to avoid affecting adversely the health and safety of any other person in the workplace.

In particular, if electrical equipment is provided by the University, workers and students must use the equipment in accordance with the information, instruction and training provided on its use.

5.  Electrical Installations

No University or external personnel other than those authorised under 4.3.1.1 or 4.3.1.2 are permitted to undertake work on an electrical installation, up to and including the supply outlet, irrespective of a licence or registration they may hold, without the prior written permission from the Director, Buildings and Property. Such permission must be in writing and will only be given on a case-by-case basis.

6.  Management of Electrical Hazards

The general principles and process of risk management (identification, assessment, control and review) must be applied to electrical hazards.

7.  Inspection and testing of electrical equipment

7.1  General

Electrical equipment (including equipment owned by honours and post-graduate students) must be electrically tested and tagged by a competent person in accordance with the procedure and at intervals specified in AS/NZS 3760 :2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment  unless the testing interval has been varied by the completion of a risk assessment. 1

1  Note that AS/NZS 3760:2010 specifically excludes medical devices and electrical devices in patient care areas. For more information see AS/3551: 2004 Technical management programmes for medical devices or AS/NZS 3003:2011 Electrical Installations- patient areas.

7.2  New electrical equipment

New electrical equipment that is entering into service for the first time does not need to be tested and tagged prior to use but must be

  • inspected for damage before being used;
  • tagged with a New to Service tag which includes the date of entry to service, the date when next test is due and the statement This appliance has not been tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3760; and
  • added to a Register recording when the equipment went into service and the next testing date.

The equipment must be tested by a Competent Person – Testing and Tagging at the next round of testing or at a maximum within 12 months of purchase.

7.3  Fixed desk-top computers

Fixed desk-top computers located in standard office locations must be tested and tagged on installation but do not need to be re-tested unless

  • the computers are moved or damaged; and/or
  • the computers are kept for more than 5 years, in which case they must be tested every 5 years.

Note that laptop computers must be tested and tagged every 12 months according to the regular testing schedule.

7.4  Imported equipment

Any electrical items imported from overseas must be safe to use in the workplace and must conform to AS/NZS 3100. Any electrical equipment purchased directly from overseas (ie not through an Australian supplier) must be inspected, tested and tagged by a qualified electrician before it is placed in the workplace and allowed to be used.

7.5  Second-hand electrical equipment

Any second-hand electrical equipment must be inspected, tested and tagged by a qualified electrician before it is placed in the workplace and allowed to be used.

Wiring and maintenance documentation, including any modifications made to the equipment (eg upgraded wiring diagrams), must be acquired at the time of purchase.

7.6  Undergraduate student electrical equipment

Undergraduate student electrical equipment such as laptop computers and related devices that are for their own personal use do not have to be tested and tagged. However, students should be provided with electrical safety information.

7.7  Medical devices and patient connect electrical equipment

Medical devices and patient connect electrical equipment must be tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3551 by a qualified and experienced biomedical engineer.

7.8  Repaired or serviced equipment

Any electrical equipment returned to service after repair or servicing that could have affected the electrical safety of the equipment must be inspected, tested and tagged before use.

7.9  Inspection and testing record keeping

Records of inspection and testing of electrical equipment must be kept in accordance with legislation and include the following:

  • the date of inspection and test;
  • clear identification of the equipment tested;
  • results of the test (whether the equipment passed or failed);
  • name of the person/company carrying out the testing; and
  • date by which the next testing must be carried out.

Records of testing must be kept until the electrical equipment is next tested, permanently removed from the workplace or disposed of. The record may be in the form of a tag attached to the electrical equipment tested.

8.  Access to switchboards and circuit breakers

Access to University switchboards is restricted to Buildings and Property Division authorised staff and those approved by the Buildings and Property Division only.
Resetting of circuit breakers located in University switchboards is to be carried out by authorised Buildings and Property Division staff and those approved by the Buildings and Property Division only.

For the Bedford Park site, reports of tripped circuits and requests for resetting tripped circuit breakers must be directed to Maintenance Section.

For sites other than Bedford Park, resetting of tripped circuit breakers must be carried out by a licensed electrician.

9.  Temporary Power Supplies and Switchboards

Requests for installation of temporary switchboards and/or power supplies should be directed to the Director, Buildings and Property Division.

10.  Use of power boards, double adaptors and piggyback plugs, and extension leads

10.1  Power boards

Power boards used at University workplaces must comply with AS/NZS31 05:2007 - Approval and Test Specification for Electrical Portable Outlet Devices. Power boards must have the following minimum features:

  • must be marked with an appropriate Australian Testing Authority Type Approval;
  • must be fitted with a resettable over current protection device; and
  • must be tested and tagged by a competent person.

The user must ensure that the tag is current prior to use.

Power boards with long leads (ie over 1.8m) must have individual switches on the power board. Power boards must be located in an area which does not cause damage to the board or create a tripping hazard.

In hazardous or wet areas power boards must be secured in a safe position.

Power boards must not be overloaded when in use, and must not be piggy backed.

Power boards which are not compliant with these provisions must be removed from service. Power boards must be inspected and tested as per clause 7.

10.2  Double adaptors and piggy back plugs

Double adaptors are prone to the plugs working loose with potential for overheating or contact with live terminals. The use of double adaptors is not permitted under any circumstances in the University.

The use of piggyback plugs is not permitted except where circumstances require the use of piggyback plugs as part of normal operation, such as the Matthew Flinders Theatre and special functions where audio and lighting equipment is required. Under these circumstances, piggyback plugs will be permitted provided persons requiring the use of piggyback type plugs have written approval from the Director, Buildings and Property.

If written approval has been granted for use of piggyback plugs they are to be used in accordance with established practice and procedure and shall be a moulded type plug fitted to one end of the power lead only, i.e. only the end that plugs into the power point.

Power boards will not be permitted to be plugged into the piggyback plug.

Wherever possible arrangements should be made to install sufficient socket outlets for all of the equipment in the workplace.2

2  Note: WHS legislation requires that portable RCDs must be used where electricity is supplied to movable electrical equipment (see clause 12).

10.3  Extension leads

Extension leads must comply with AS/NZS3199:2007- Approval and Test Specification for Cord Extension Sets. When in use, extension leads must be fully extended, not covered by mats, not placed where they may be lying in water and not placed in such a way that they could be a tripping hazard (eg across aisles, corridors or other areas where people walk).

Extension leads must be inspected and tested as per clause 7.

11.  Residual Current Devices

11.1  Work Health and Safety Regulations require that if a supply of electricity is provided to a socket outlet at a workplace, any risk associated with the supply of electricity should be controlled, so far as is reasonably practicable, by the installation of a non-portable RCD that complies with AS 3190- Approval and Test Specification for Current Operated (Core Balance) Earth Leakage Devices.

11.2  Therefore

  • all new and modified installations must be protected by a non-portable RCD; and
  • existing installations will, wherever practicable, be fitted with a non-portable RCD where there is a significant risk of injury arising from the use of electrical appliances drawing electricity from the circuit.

11.3  RCD protection must be provided for the following electrical equipment and depending on the type of appliance, installation and environment, the RCD protection may be provided by either portable or fixed RCDs:

  • hand held electrical equipment including power tools, electric knives and hair dryers;
  • electrical equipment that is moved during operation, including vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, extension cords, electric  lawn mowers, power boards, portable lighting;
  • electrical equipment which is moved between operation where damage to the equipment or the supply cord could occur, including portable welding equipment, portable bench saws, audio visual equipment, extension cords, power boards, computers on wheeled trolleys; and
  • where electrical safety could be affected by the operating environment:
  • appliances used in wet areas, such as kettles and other kitchen appliances; and
  • electrical equipment used in an environment where it is exposed to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust.

Extension cords used externally must have portable RCDs attached or RCDs integrated as part of the extension cord.

11.4  Inspecting and testing RCDs

All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that residual current devices used at the workplace are tested regularly, in accordance with AS/NZS 3190, by a competent person authorised under 4.3.1.1 to ensure the devices are working effectively, except that push button tests or portable RCDs can be undertaken by local users at any time. This requirement covers RCDs used in all operating environments including non-portable (or 'fixed') RCDs.

If an RCD is tested and found to be faulty it must be taken out of service and replaced as soon as possible.

A record of testing (other than daily testing) must be kept until the device is next tested or disposed of.

12.  Electrical Portable Outlet Devices in furniture

EPODs without a resettable thermal overload may be installed in furniture provided they:

  • have an Approval Number and a Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) clearly displayed;
  • display clearly the voltage and maximum wattage of the device;
  • can only be energized by the action of inserting a 2 or 3 pin plug;
  • are fastened securely to the furniture; and
  • have no more than 2 outlets per EPOD.

13.  Reporting of electric shock and electrical incidents

The University must report to the relevant Regulator(s)3 any accident or incident that involves an electric shock or electric burns as well as any incident involving electricity that had the potential to cause serious injury.

Notification must be immediate.

Hence, any injury or incident involving electricity in the University must be reported to the University’s Manager, WHS as soon as possible after the event. In addition, as soon as practicable, the accident/incident must be reported on FlinSafe.

On receipt of a report the WHS Unit will investigate immediately to ensure that the appropriate corrective actions have been taken to prevent further injury.

3  SA: SafeWork SA and the Office of the Technical Regulator
    NT: NT WorkSafe
    Vic: WorkSafe  Victoria and Energy Safe Victoria

14.  Legislative and Policy Framework

South Australia
Work Health and Safety Act 2012
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012
Code of Practice for Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace 2012
Electricity Act 1996
Electricity (General) Regulations 2012
Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Act 1995
Plumbers, Gas Fitters and Electricians Regulations 2010

Northern Territory
Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011
Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations
Code of Practice for Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace 2012
Electricity Reform Act 2013
Electricity Reform (Safety and Technical) Regulations 2011
Electrical Workers and Contractors Act 2013
Electrical Workers and Contractors Regulations 2009

Victoria
Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
Electrical Safety Act 1998
Electricity Safety Regulations

Flinders University Work Health and Safety Policy (PDF) and Work Health and Safety Risk Management Policy which apply regardless of location.

There are also a number of Australian Standards which apply to electrical safety. These are listed in Appendix A.

Approved Codes of Practice are practical guides to achieving the health and safety standards required under the WHS Act and Regulations. Compliance with the WHS Act and Regulations may be achieved by following another method, such as a technical or industry standard, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the code. Where other methods are used, these must be documented and the documentation must be retained in accordance with the University’s record management system.

15.  Review

These procedures are reviewed regularly in the light of legislative and organisational changes, and in any case, at least every 4 years to ensure they remain effective, relevant and appropriate to the University, and reflect current legislative requirements.

Appendix A: Australian Standards relevant to electrical safety

AS 60204.1 :2005 - Safety of Machinery - Electrical Equipment of Machines - General Requirements

AS/NZS 1674.1: 1997 - Safety in welding and allied processes Set

AS/NZS 60079. Series - Explosive atmospheres

AS 2865: 2009 - Confined spaces

AS/NZS 3000:2007- Electrical installations (known as the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules)

AS/NZS 3001:2008 - Electrical installations – Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies

AS/NZS 3002:2008 - Electrical installations - Shows and carnivals

AS/NZS 3003:2011 – Electrical installations – Patient areas

AS/NZS 3004.1:2008 - Electrical installations - Marinas and recreational boats – Marinas

AS/NZS 3004.2:2008 - Electrical installations - Marinas and recreational boats – Recreational boats installations

AS/NZS 3007:2013 - Electrical equipment in mines and quarries – Surface installations and associated processing plant

AS/NZS 3008.1.1:2009 - Electrical installations - Selection of cables- Cables for alternating voltages up to and including 0.6/lkV- Typical Australian installation conditions

AS/NZS 3012:2010 - Electrical installations - Construction and demolition sites

AS/NZS 3100:2009 - Approval and test specification - General requirements for electrical equipment

AS/NZS 3105: 2012 - Approval and test specification - Electrical portable outlet devices

AS/NZS 3190:2011 - Approval and test specification - Residual current devices (current­operated earth-leakage devices)

AS/NZS 3199:2007 - Approval and test specification - Cord extension sets

AS/NZS 3200.1.0:1998 - Medical electrical equipment - General requirements for safety - Parent standard

AS/NZS 3551:2012 - Management programs for medical equipment

AS 3760:2010- In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment