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Your Electrical Tag and Testing Obligations

Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Electrical Equipment) Regulation 2006 specifically identifies working environments where testing and tagging of electrical equipment is required
Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Electrical Equipment) Regulation 2006 amends the previous legislative provisions contained in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 (the Regulation). The amending regulation now specifically identifies working environments where testing and tagging of electrical equipment is required, such as electrical equipment used for construction work (as defined in the Regulation) and electrical equipment used in other ‘hostile operating environments’.
WHAT ARE THE LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS REGARDING TESTING AND TAGGING?
If you are an employer or self-employed person, you have a duty of care to ensure that employees and visitors to the workplace are safe from injury and risks to health. You must, therefore, manage any safety risks surrounding electrical hazards, in accordance with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (the Act) and the Regulation.
To support the application of a risk management approach to electrical safety, you must also comply with the specific legislative requirements outlined in clause 64 and 65 of the OHS Regulation 2001.
Clause 64 (2) requires,
• all electrical equipment that is used in construction work to be regularly inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person to ensure it is safe for use, and
• all electrical equipment that is used at a place of work where the safe operation of the electrical equipment could be affected by a hostile operating environment is regularly inspected, tested and maintained by a competent person to ensure it is safe for use, and
• all electrical equipment at a place of work that is found to be unsafe is disconnected from the electricity supply and is repaired, replaced or permanently removed from use.
Clause 65 (1) requires,
• that an employer must ensure that a record is made and kept of all inspections and tests made and maintenance carried out on electrical equipment.
WHAT IS A HOSTILE OPERATING ENVIRONMENT?
In clause 64 of the Regulation a hostile operating environment means an operating environment at a place of work where an item of  electrical equipment is, in its normal use, subject to operating conditions that are likely to result in damage tothe item of equipment. This includes an operating environment that may:
• cause mechanical damage to the item of equipment, or
• expose the item of equipment to moisture, heat, vibration, corrosive substances or dust that is likely to result in damage to the item of equipment.
DOES ALL ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT HAVE TO BE TESTED AND TAGGED?
No, Clause 64(2) of the OHS Regulation only requires testing and tagging of those items of electrical equipment that are used for construction work or used in a hostile operating environment where the safe operation of the electrical equipment could be affected.
Note: In addition to the above legislative requirements employers may following completion of a risk assessment determine that inspection and testing of identified electrical equipment is warranted.
WHAT HAPPENS TO ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT THAT IS NOT USED IN A HOSTILE OPERATING ENVIRONMENT OR FOR CONSTRUCTION WORK?
Clause 64(1) of the OHS Regulation requires the employer to ensure that any risk of injury from electricity at a place of work is eliminated or, if elimination is not reasonably practicable, the risk is controlled. A risk assessment must be carried out on electrical equipment that does not fit into the above categories. After the risk assessment, you can then implement a range of control measures to manage the safe operation of electrical equipment that is used in the workplace, including:
• routine visual checks by the equipment user
• formal visual inspections
• maintenance
• repair
• replacement
• use of fixed or portable residual current devices (RCDs) more commonly known as safety switches
• training and instructing employees in the safe use of the electrical equipment
• and, if determined as an outcome of a risk assessment, inspection and testing of identified electrical equipment.
Sydney Facility Services offers a comprehensive and cost effective solution to test and tagging.  For more details, please contact one of our team.
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