Electrical safety

Did you know every householder in NSW has a legal responsibility to keep their home safe, including the way it uses electricity? Or, that if you own or run a business you’re responsible for the electrical safety of employees and everyone else on your premises?

Five simple rules

The good news is meeting your responsibilities is much easier if you remember five simple rules:

1. Regular maintenance

It’s vital to keep your appliances, electrical wiring, fittings, switchboard and earthing connections (particularly for properties over 25 years old) in good working order. If you ever have, or suspect a problem, always contact a licensed electrician. You can check if your electrician is properly licensed by asking to see their electrical contractor’s licence, doing a licence check or call Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

2. Certificate of compliance

If you have electrical work done, your electrician should give you a unique numbered ‘Certificate of Compliance Electrical Work’ (CCEW) to show the work has been tested and checked to make sure it complies with the regulations. Your electrician may be required to provide a copy of the certificate to the electricity network operator or NSW Fair Trading. Often a CCEW is required for warranty purposes for the electrical article that has been installed.

3. Safety switches

If you haven’t already done so, seriously consider installing an electrical safety switch, also known as a Residual Current Device (RCD). If you already have a safety switch, be sure to test it every three months and if it fails, have a licensed electrician check it. Also, if your house was built before 1977 it is unlikely to have an earth rod and you should seriously consider having one installed.

4. Contact your landlord or agent

If you’re renting, report electrical problems to your landlord or managing agent immediately. These should be repaired as a priority as landlords have a legal obligation to ensure all electrical installations and fittings on their property are kept in safe order.

5. Report electrical accidents

By law you must report any electrical accident where medical treatment is required, either by calling your electricity provider or NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20. Employers must also report accidents to SafeWork NSW.

What to do in an emergency

If urgent medical attention is required, call 000 for assistance. You should also call the emergency number on your electricity bill to arrange to make your electrical installation safe.

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