This edition of POWERtalk is aimed mainly at our QLD customers, but also has some valuable insight for anyone in the Industry, no matter what state you’re in.
The main intention is to clarify changes in the testing and calibration section of the Queensland Electrical Safety Act 2002, and also the new Queensland Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 that came into effect on Jan 1, 2014.
References to testing and calibration* have moved from s17 and s18, to s22 in the updated Regulation. Please note that a slight wording change has also removed the statement that testing and calibration must be carried out 6 monthly, and now does not provide a set timeframe, preferring to place responsibility and liability onto the contractor.
We (Mobile Test n Cal) have met with the Director of Electrical Safety at the Qld Department of Justice, and can confirm this change absolutely does not remove your obligation to have your equipment tested and calibrated. The change has actually been made in case of an incident before 6 months has elapsed from last test, the responsibility no longer lies with the lawmakers, and now with you. The changes are to be interpreted as follows:
- HV Testing of all insulated safety equipment must remain at 6 monthly as referenced in various AS and IEC manufacturers standards, however shall be considered to be done more frequently in ‘hostile’ conditions, or immediately after abnormal use**
- Calibration shall also remain at 6 monthly as this is established and best practice, however shall be considered to be done more frequently in ‘hostile’ conditions, or immediately after abnormal use**. It may in certain circumstances be permissible to extend calibration frequency to 12 months, however a clear and concise ‘Asset Care and Management Plan’ and also ‘Occupational Health and Safety Plan’ (or equivalent) showing how this will be achieved and managed effectively and safely, is needed to do this.
- Best practice of 6 monthly testing is also reinforced in ISSC14 ‘Guideline to electrical workers safety equipment’ (2010). Although this is not an Act or Regulation, it is an industry guide written by experts from all parts of the Industry and should be followed.
The above is the interpretation of the Qld Department of Justice who wrote these new regulations, and is how the Electrical Safety Office (QLD) and its Audit team will be instructed to interpret the new regulations.
*The term ‘calibration’ is not used in the Act or Regulation however the term ‘testing of test instruments’ is used. There is no way to fully and accurately undertake ‘testing of test instruments’, other than to perform a full calibration across all of its ranges, therefore we use the term calibration in this email and all other materials.
**Abnormal use of safety equipment is considered the use of equipment not in its recommended method of use (such as use of insulated gloves without leather protectors, use on a higher voltage than the stated working voltage etc.). Abnormal use of test instruments is considered dropping of equipment, or incorrect connection to a live electrical circuit etc.