Legislation across Australia requires all small and large organisations to introduce a continuing safety maintenance program for electrical appliances and equipment under plant and equipment maintenance “duty of care” obligations. This is required for the safety of all staff, customers and visitors.
Regardless of mandatory regulation for specific electrical safety (which has been introduced in some states) all state and territory OH&S legislation refers to “duty of care” obligations for directors, managers and staff of a workplace. You are legally and duty bound to introduce a management process for maintenance of all plant and equipment (including electrical) regardless of the size of the business or organisation. You and everyone in the business, including every worker is responsible for the protection and safety of all workers and visitors at the business.
The integrity of most insurance policies fine print requires companies to fulfil all legal requirements to ensure that the business remains covered. A failure to comply with this legislation provides an easy out for insurance companies should you have a fire or workplace injury – even if an electrical fault was not the cause of the problem.
Electrical faults in equipment are one of the greatest causes of fires in the workplace. This is where the regular testing and tagging of the company’s equipment and recording the condition of its assets plays an important role in maintaining assets and safety compliance. Can your business afford the loss of equipment and productivity, loss of records and loss of client confidence that inevitably follow a fire? Testing also highlights minor problems before they become major more expensive problems.
The AS/NZS 3760:2003 electrical safety standard recently revised (February 2004) is generally recognized as the procedural guidelines for electrical safety nationally. In most businesses and organizations the AS3760; 2003 electrical protocols are the safest, most convenient and cost effective methods available. Alternative risk assessment procedures can also be used in some low risk environments, however your organisation must have a qualities system in place which is equal to or better than the minimum requirements and the qualified staff available to manage this process.
Electrically related hazards feature highly on the list and unlike others they have the potential to impact on all workplaces. In every type of industry electric shock or damage resulting from failure of electrical items, electrical circuits, power tools, plant and equipment can impact on the safety of every type of small and large business in Australia. Injury, loss of life or property from electrocution or fire caused by electrical failure is potentially devastating for everyone in every business. From general offices, food stores, retail outlets, entertainment and service businesses through to medical, institutional, community, factory, building and heavy industry sites.