OH&S and Australian Standard
Did you know that under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) employers have a legal liability to provide and sustain a safe working environment which is without risks to employee's health. This means identifying any dangers related with electrical equipment in a workplace.
Worksafe Victoria has advised the Victoria Trades Hall Council that they are now "actively enforcing the standard and inspecting all types of premises to confirm introduction of minimum safety testing programs consistent with AS3760." This standard applies to all types of electrical appliance including leads and power boards in offices, factories and so on (ie computers, microwaves, kettles, tools and even mobile phone charges).
If the workplace is a construction site, then the Industry Standard for Electrical Installations on Construction Sites must apply. Section 4.3 states all portable electrical equipment and flexible electrical cords, must be tested in accordance with AS3760 “prior to its first use, and every 3 calendar months thereafter, while being used on the site.” results must be recorded and made available for an audit. Testing and tagging of electrical appliances can be done either by a qualified electrician or a competent technician/person.
In the Managing Safety in Your Workplace CDROM (distributed by Work safe Victoria), it is advised that all electrical testing and tagging for all portable non hard wired appliances, leads and power boards is completed to uphold the employers duty of care under Section 21(2)(a) of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act.
(To receive a free CD ROM Contact WorkSafe on 03 9641 1333)
Unless the Australian Standards AS3760 is used as minimum safety measure then OSH/DOL/WorkCover will not consider that you have 'taken all the responsible steps' and will likely use non-compliance with AS3760 as the basis for prosecution should the need arise.
A well planned program of preventive maintenance, with regular electrical safety checks, is the ideal way to avoid unnecessary and unfortunate accidents, as well as the legal ramifications that follow.
Link to legislation:
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