Work Health and Safety Regulations describe the requirements for ensuring that persons at work are, as far as is reasonably practicable, safe from the risks of injury caused by electricity; minimising the risk of injury, electrical shock or fire at the workplace; and, ensuring any electrical work performed on an electrical installation or electrical plant is carried out by a competent person.

The Code of Practice Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace provides practical guidance on managing electrical risks in the workplace. In most cases, following the Code of Practice will achieve compliance with the health and safety duties of WHS legislation. However compliance may also be achieved by following other methods, such as technical or industry standards, provided these provide an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the Code.

University Electrical Safety Procedures

The University's Electrical Safety Procedures outline the appropriate standards for management of electrical safety in the University. The technical details which qualified electricians and electronic technicians are expected to know have not been repeated in these Procedures.

The management of electrical safety is designed to provide protection from:

  • Electric shock arising from exposed contacts, damaged insulation on electrical equipment or extension leads, wet conditions in the area of equipment used.
  • Risk of fire arising from heating equipment, overloaded circuits, loose connections, short circuits, inappropriate electrical equipment in hazardous environments.

Testing and tagging of electrical equipment

Electrical equipment must be electrically tested and tagged in accordance with the Electrical Safety Procedures and at intervals specified in AS/NZS 3760 unless the testing interval has been varied by the completion of a risk assessment.

The safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment must be carried out by competent persons. These can be either external companies qualified to do this work or staff members who have undergone training in the use of testing equipment and determination of results. Anyone requiring certification should contact their supervisor/manager.

Testing is carried out at regular intervals:

Table showing intervals between inspection and tests of electrical equipment (PDF 37KB)

Use and Visual Inspection of electrical equipment

All users of electrical equipment should:

  • visually inspect all electrical equipment prior to use to check:
  • equipment is free from obvious external damage;
  • component defects - accessories, connectors, plugs, or socket outlets;
  • supply cords - inner cords not exposed, external sheaths not cut, abraded or damaged;
  • flexible cords effectively anchored;
  • security/alignment of any control knobs;
  • covers/guards are secure;
  • mechanical safety facilities/devices (e.g. cut outs) are in working order;
  • ventilation inlets or exhausts are unobstructed;
  • controls or alarms are in working order;
  • cords are not tangled and do not contribute a tripping hazard;
  • powerboards - warning indicating "maximum load to be connected" is visible and legible;
  • the environment is not detrimental to the safe use of electrical equipment.
  • ensure the appropriate area supervisor is notified of any faults and equipment that is out of service for maintenance or repair;
  • use the correct appliance for the specific task;
  • ensure that electrical appliances are dry and clean;
  • ensure that an appropriate power board is used where more than one appliance is required to be connected to a single GPO;
  • not use double adaptors or "piggy-back" plugs;
  • not withdraw a plug from a socket by pulling the cable.

Visual inspection should be carried out at regular intervals if equipment issued daily and/or before operation if the equipment is used infrequently or moved around.

The following need to be to done when undertaking electrical testing and tagging:

  • Visual Inspection
  • Electrical Appliance Testing

Note: some of the above may not apply to all electrical equipment.

Some items or hazards that require taking out of service and replacing:

Double Adaptors are banned from use in the University Abraded cord on extension lead 
  Abraded cord with fabric outer sheath   Calculator cord trapped between two desks rubbed away at the insulation causing the inner cords to become exposed 
  Powerboard with inner cords exposed    Slit/Nick in extension lead - provides a hazard.
Cable grip is failing to anchor the cord on the plug socket - this could pull the wires from the connectors to provide a hazard Charred double adaptor - overloading electrical items can cause a fire
Lead is not correctly anchored into the cable grip of the plug - again this will put strain on the inner cords    


Electrical Work

Electrical work on University premises must be carried out by properly qualified competent persons. The Buildings & Property Division must authorise Competent Persons – Licensed Electrical Worker to carry out or supervise electrical work in the University.

The relevant Senior Executive must approve Competent Persons – Electrical/Electronic Technicians and Competent Persons – Testing and Tagging who are to undertake work in their College/Portfolio.

Management of Electrical Hazards

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

For more information:

Reporting of electric shock and electrical incidents

Legislation requires the University to notify SafeWork SA and the Office of the Technical Regulator (for South Australian sites), NT WorkSafe (for NT sites) and WorkSafe Victoria (for Victorian sites), of any accident or incident that involves an  electric shock as well as any incident involving electricity that might have caused injury.

See Notifiable Accidents and Incidents for more information.

Notification must be within 24 hours.

Hence, any injury or incident involving electricity in the University must be reported to the Associate Director, WHS as soon as possible after the event. In addition, as soon as practicable, the Accident/Incident must be reported on FlinSafe as soon as possible.

On receipt of a report the Associate Director, WHS will investigate immediately and, if appropriate, contact SafeWork SA, or the relevant interstate authority, which may decide to undertake further investigation.