What are the WHS Regulations

National WHS Regulations – January 2014 and Model Code of Practice – Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace – March 2015 state that for specified hostile environments (other than construction or demolition sites) all plug in electrical equipment must be regularly inspected and tested.

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What is a hostile environment?

The National WHS Regulations define a hostile environment to be either:

(a) electrical equipment used in an environment in which the normal use of electrical equipment exposes the equipment to operating conditions that are likely to result in damage to the equipment or a reduction in its expected life span, including conditions that involve exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals or dust;

(b) electrical equipment moved between different locations in circumstances where damage to the equipment or to a flexible electricity supply cord is reasonably likely;

(c) electrical equipment frequently moved during its normal use.

According to the regulations, portable equipment that is frequently moved is defined as being hostile.

What about RCDs (safety switches)?

For these same hostile environments outlined above, the National WHS Regulations state that RCDs must be fitted to all hostile circuits. Additionally, all RCDs must also be tested regularly.

Which States have adopted the National WHS Regulations?

NSW, ACT, QLD, SA, NT, TAS and the Commonwealth have adopted the National WHS Regulations. It is anticipated WA will follow suit shortly.

The Victorian Government has announced that it won’t adopt the new legislation. You can find out more on the Victorian Worksafe website, located here.

Additional information

  • Click here to download your copy of the Electrical Safety Code of Practice.
  • Click here to download your copy of the model WHS Act and Regulations
  • Click here to read the regulations from Safe Work Australia
  • Click here< to download your copy of the QLD Electrical Safety Act
  • Click hereto download your copy of the QLD Electrical Safety Regulations
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