Potentially Fatal Electrical Hazard
A recent photograph taken by a Fire Safe ANZ electrician conducting testing and tagging of electrical equipment is an excellent example of the value of following “best practice” in regard to electrical appliance testing in Australian and New Zealand workplaces.
The power board lead (shown) had 240v live and exposed copper conductors; the power board was underneath a retail store’s point of sale equipment, being utilised to power computer equipment. This created a serious electrical hazard that could have easily resulted in a life threatening injury.
It would appear the hazard was caused by the power board being removed from a stock area after it had been crushed by pallett moving equipment, then placed back into service by another user who was not aware of its condition. The power board should have been destroyed when it was first discovered to be damaged.
Luckily, the retail store had a testing regime in place for Fire Safe ANZ electricians to identify unsafe electrical practices and faulty appliances. The hazard was identified and removed before it was able to cause any harm to the store staff.
Do I Have to “Test and Tag”?
WH&S outlines the requirements for inspection and testing of electrical equipment, leaving the decision to conduct this testing to the persons undertaking or conducting business. Where testing is completed, Fire Safe ANZ inspects and test to AS/NZS 3760:2010 (the testing standard). This is the nationally recognised standard for the inspection and testing of electrical equipment as it outlines both the testing protocol and intervals for testing.
WH&S maintains that electrical equipment requires testing dependant on the environment it is operated within. The decision regarding the nature of the operating environment, and if equipment requires testing, is made by the persons conducting or undertaking the business. A risk assessment process should be followed to make and support this decision. WHS maintains that equipment in a hostile environment should be regularly tested; a hostile environment is described as an area affected by moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust.