Working environments are filled with undetectable hazards, especially when it comes to electrical installations and associated electrical equipment. Electrical shocks, arc faults or failures can occur in any workplace, potentially resulting in serious injury or death. Not to mention the catastrophic impact that these events can have on businesses and business goals. While businesses may feel immune to electrical danger, the risks are far more real than they appear.
Maintaining a safe workplace is good for business, good for employees and good for the community as a whole. It not only protects employees from injuries and sickness, but it also boosts efficiency, reduces operating costs, and boosts morale. And if you’re self-employed, you’re legally responsible for your own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of everyone who visits your workplace. Staff, customers, guests, and the general public are all included.
We often don’t hear about the infringement notices or fines issued for unlicensed electrical work by the Electrical Safety Office (ESO), though they are not an uncommon occurrence and some of the reported outcomes are devastating.
Furthermore, there is often the misconception that electrical work is ‘just three wires’, this may seem the case to the average person, though there are multiple factors that determine such things as cable size, protection devices and how they are to be safely installed along with their associated equipment. Not to mention the vast amount of compliance with regulations and standards that determine how and where they can be used. This of course is a very simplistic example, with commercial, industrial, construction and mining all falling under their own set of rules and regulations.
Every workplace needs to effectively establish a sound safety system, and electrical safety forms part of this. Undertaking an electrical safety audit will meet the need for detecting and mitigating possible electrical hazards. Such an audit may include the identification of defects in the existing installation, identification and elimination of safety hazards, compliance with government and industry specific safety practices, and importantly seek to ensure the longevity of your electrical equipment.
Top tips for business owners:
- Ensure you are engaging a licenced and competent electrical contractor.
- Ensure you have clear access to your distribution board/s and safety devices.
- Ensure your electrical test and tag and Residual Current Device (RCD) testing is being undertaken at the specified intervals for your workplace or industry.