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News : May 2017

RCD Testing Requirements NSW

rcd testing requirements nsw

If you’re a New South Wales based business, you’ll know that RCD Testing is an essential. Without maintaining your residual current device/s, you can put both your employees and your livelihood at risk. Luckily, you can avoid any nasty mishaps by knowing the RCD testing requirements NSW businesses need to adhere to.

As of the 22nd of May, 63 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2017. In 2016, a total of 8 workers were killed by electrocution.

SafeWork NSW published a Code of Practice in September 2016 for Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace. This code states that “a person conducting a business or undertaking has the primary duty under the WHS Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that workers and other persons at the workplace are not exposed to electrical risks arising from the business or undertaking”.

This includes regular safety switch maintenance and testing conducted according to the current Australian standard.

What is a residual current device?

A residual current device (RCD) or safety switch, is a protective piece of equipment that monitors electrical circuits and switches off the electricity when a fault is detected. It provides protection from electrocution (where electricity passes through the body and into the earth) and can also be effective for the prevention of electrical fire.

You can use fixed RCDs, socket outlet units, and portable devices in your workplace. The most functional model will vary based on the nature of your work.

Safety switches are life-saving devices and an absolute necessity in every working environment. In order to be effective, they need to be maintained in accordance with the relevant safety standards. The frequency and nature of testing will vary according to your industry, environment, and usage.

RCD Testing Requirements NSW

According to SafeWork NSW, “RCD requirements” only apply to working environments where plug-in electrical equipment is in use or in hostile operating environments. A hostile working environment means a workplace where electrical equipment may be damaged as a result of exposure to the environment. This exposure can be to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals, and dust.

According to safe work Australia, electrical equipment used in hostile operating environments needs to be tested and inspected at least once every 12 months.

You can refer to this Code of Practice from SafeWork NSW that includes a guide to electrical risk management in your workplace. This guide includes:

  • How to identify a hazard
  • Assessing risks associated with hazards
  • Implementing and maintaining risk control measures (for example, testing RCDs, electrical testing and tagging, etc.)
  • Reviewing risk control measures

There are two standards that we work to at Kerfoot to ensure absolute compliance with the state standards RCD test and inspection requirements. They are:

  • AS/NZS 3760: 2010 – In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment
  • AS/NZS 3012: 2010 – Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites

If your workplace is not on a construction or demolition site. Please refer to the following guide of testing intervals according to the AS/NZS 3760: 2010. The RCD testing requirements NSW businesses should meet are as follows:

  • In factories, workshops, places of manufacture, assembly, maintenance, or fabrication, residual current devices must be tested every 12 months by a trained technician (for both an operating time and push button test). A push button test by the user should be completed daily for portable devices and 6 months for fixed.
  • In an environment where the equipment or supply flexible cord is subject to flexing in normal use or is open to abuse or is in a hostile environment, both portable and fixed RCDs need to be tested every 12 months (operating time & push button) by a technician. The user should complete a push button test every 3 months for a portable device and every 6 for fixed.
  • In an environment where the equipment or supply cord is not subject to flexing in normal use and is not open to abuse and is not in a hostile environment, the technician needs to test both types of safety switches every 2 years, completing all the necessary testing. The use needs to do a push button test every 3 months for portable devices and every 6 months for fixed.
  • In residential type areas of hotels, residential institutions, motels, boarding houses, halls, hostels, accommodation houses, etc. the safety switches need to be tested every 2 years by a technician (operating time & push button) as well as every 6 months by the user (portable and fixed).
  • If the electrical equipment is used for cleaning, portable RCD inspection needs to occur every 6 months (where both the operating and push button test are completed) and daily from the user (just the push button test).
  • Hire equipment needs to be inspected prior to hire by the hirer. RCDs need to be tested and tagged every 3 months (if portable) and every 12 months (if fixed).
  • Repaired, Serviced, and second-hand equipment needs to be tested after the repair or service or before reintroduction to service.


For more information about RCD testing requirements NSW businesses can follow this link with specific information for construction and demolition sites.

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