According to Safe Work Australia, an average of 11 workers died each year in Australia between 2003-2015 due to contact with electricity. While half of these deaths were in the construction industry, electrical safety is also important across a broad range of industries. A safety management system with risk mitigation strategies should be in place for all businesses and should highlight the importance of electrical safety. Each Australian state regulates the legal requirements for businesses to adhere to their Electrical Safety Codes of Practice. These establish clear guidelines for managing the risk of an electrical fault in the workplace and allow for heavy penalties if a safety audit finds they are not adhered to.
Have Clear and Concise Electrical Safety Standards
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is a general term used to define all forms of business structures and working arrangements. These can include sole traders (or self-employed persons), an unincorporated body or a company. A PCBU is responsible for the primary duty of care of everyone covered under the Workplace Health and Safety Act. This means you must have robust procedures in place to identify, assess, control and monitor safety in regards to electrical risks. You can use multiple tools to do this or you can employ consultants to help you adopt an appropriate risk management system for your business. You can learn more about this at the Safe Work Australia website.
Make Sure It’s Tested and Tagged
PCBUs are responsible for ensuring that electrical items are regularly checked if they are normally plugged into an electrical outlet and operated in a hostile environment. Hostile environments are defined as operating environments that exposed the equipment to conditions that are reasonably expected to cause damage or reduce its lifespan. This includes chemicals, corrosion, dust, heat, moisture and anything else causing damage beyond normal wear and tear. Examples of these environments include anywhere outdoors, workplaces that use corrosive substances, commercial kitchens and manufacturing facilities.
These checks must be conducted by either a licenced electrician or electrical inspector depending on your state regulations. A general rule is for equipment operating in hostile environments need to be tested and tagged every 12 months. More or less frequent inspections may be required depending on many factors. It is best to seek advice from professionals in order to develop an inspection and maintenance schedule for your equipment.
Higher Risk Environments
In high-risk environments, there should be multiple levels of risk mitigation in place, of which test and tagging is only a part. Identification of high-risk environments is part of the safety inspection process and professional advice has no substitute here. Inspectors will map out threats such as overhead or underground power lines or equipment that can pose an abnormal level of risk outside of common sense. Photovoltaic systems (solar power systems) pose a risk outside the scope of normal awareness. Systems can hold a charge, either in the solar cells or in batteries attached to the system. Adding in the environments that they can normally reside such as on roofs where height, weather and old toxic roof/ceiling materials are a factor and you have a high-risk situation.
Residual Current Detectors (RCD) are key devices used to provide backup protection to electrical equipment failure. These safety switches measure tiny fluctuations in the electrical supply and cut if a leak to earth is identified (such as what happens in the case of electrocution). They need to maintain a long with the rest of your equipment and electrical network.
Not Sure If You Are Up To Standard? Contact Asset Power Solutions Today!
At Asset Power Solutions, we specialise in commercial and industrial environments and can work with you in all areas of risk assessment, mitigation and maintenance. Whether you need an inspection of your power grid, your equipment tested and tagged, a maintenance plan or a knowledgeable advisor, we bring years of experience to the table. Contact us today to learn more and discuss your needs.