We have found that in some previously untested sites up to 10 percent of all appliances are not safe to use. This means there is a lot of unsafe electrical equipment out there!
Under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) employers have a legal responsibility to provide and sustain a safe working environment which minimizes risks to employees’ health. This includes identifying any dangers associated with electrical equipment in the workplace.
Worksafe Victoria has published recommendations that electrical testing and tagging for all portable non hard wired appliances, leads and power boards is completed to uphold the employer’s duty of care under Section 21(2)(a) of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Along with an employer’s duty of care, insurance coverage in the event of an electrical accident may be voided if the employer has not carried out a systematic check of his electrical equipment. Insurance policies require you to fulfil all legal requirements to remain covered. A failure to comply with OH&S legislation provides an opportunity for your insurance company to refuse a claim should you have a fire or workplace injury.
Apart from the safety benefits, workplace relations may be improved when employees see that their employer cares about their safety.
The standard for testing and tagging in Victoria is AS/NZS 3760. It defines the types of tests required for the various classes of electrical equipment as well as the electrical values required for each test that constitute a pass or fail.
Duty of care requires everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to be done to protect the health and safety of others at the workplace. This duty is placed on:
- all employers;
- their employees; and
- any others who have an influence on the hazards in a workplace.
Specific rights and duties logically flow from the duty of care. These include:
provision and maintenance of safe plant and systems of work;
- safe systems of work in connection with plant and substances;
- a safe working environment and adequate welfare facilities;
- information and instruction on workplace hazards and supervision of employees in safe work;
- monitoring the health of their employees and related records keeping;
- employment of qualified persons to provide health and safety advice;
- nomination of a senior employer representative; and
- monitoring conditions at any workplace under their control and management