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What is an RCD And What is RCD Testing?

Regarding electrical safety, RCDs and RCD testing is an essential concept to understand.
The use, testing and maintenance of RCDs are specified in your state/territory's occupational health and safety laws.


Here's everything you need to know about RCD testing and your primary duties about these devices.

RCDs are also called safety switches or residual current devices and can be portable (in distribution boards or fixed sockets) or mounted in distribution panels (in main switchboards).

When RCDs are tested, they are intentionally tripped to check that they function in the event of a mains failure. The faster your RCD. is tripped, the less likely it is that someone will be electrocuted. Safety switches must be tested regularly to ensure that they meet prescribed safety standards.

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Why do companies need RCDs?

Safety Switches can protect your employees, contractors and others on your premises from the risk of electrocution, injury and even death. Other potential hazards include the following.

  • Falls: RCDs can minimise the risk of injury or death from falls from ladders, scaffolding and other elevated platforms in the event of an electric shock.
    Burns and tissue damage: GFCDs can prevent electrocution from causing severe and permanent burns to the skin, internal tissues, and heart.
  • Fires and explosions: RCDs can also minimise the risk of fires and explosions, especially if flammable or combustible materials are present on site. Be aware that dusty working environments are potentially flammable. RCD.s could also improve safety if undiagnosed electrical faults lead to fires and explosions.
  • Wet conditions: A wet working environment or a natural disaster such as a flood can increase the risk of electrocution. An RCD could prevent these incidents.
  • Equipment and exposed parts and wiring: Exposed live parts and wiring, as well as faulty machines and equipment, can endanger your employees and others on site.
  • Electrical outlets and extension cords:  Damaged or overloaded electrical outlets and worn or crowded extension cords can pose a potential shock hazard in your workplace.

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Complying with safety switch requirements as a company

If your business operates in a high-risk environment as defined by the Work Health and Safety (W.H.S.) regulations.
As a person running a business or carrying out a PCBU. (e.g. as a construction site manager or inspector), you have a duty under the C.S.R. Regulations to use appropriate CDR. where necessary.
This duty also includes the obligation to test it and ensure its proper functioning.

Hostile operating environments

When to install RCDs?
The Work Health and Safety  regulation clarifies, hostile operating environments.
These can include locations exposed to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, dust or corrosive chemicals. This consists of an operating condition that may cause damage or shorten the life of electrical equipment in use.
For example, equipment such as drills, saws, power knives, jackhammers, floor grinders, electric welders, concrete mixers and portable table saws may require an RCD.

Managers or site managers must have the RCDs tested periodically and record the test. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in a fine.

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Experts who can help

As a manager or site managerin a workplace, you are responsible for ensuring that a competent person carries out all electrical work. Therefore, you should always work with a licensed and qualified electrician.
An electrician can not only help you maintain and inspect your RCDs  but can also help you choose the right RCD for your workplace.

Suitable RCD – As suggested by the Workplace Electrical Shock Management Code of Practice, your electrician can help you select a suitable RCD. for the application.

 All circuits: Although RCDs are only required in hazardous operating environments, installing RCDs on all your circuits can minimise the risk of electric shock and associated injury or even death.

Other laws: Your electrician can also advise you on compliance with other codes and regulations, including local building and electrical safety laws in your state/territory.

A licensed electrician with commercial or industrial site experience can also help you with electrical safety precautions and make your job site safer.

Understand your RCD or safety switch obligations

If you manage or control a construction site, you have certain obligations to using R.C.D.s. These may vary by state/territory, but it's essential to know them so you can meet them.
Understanding how safety switches work and maintaining them can make your workplace safer and more pleasant for employees, customers and others.
Occupational health and safety regulations and Australian Standards govern the use, testing and maintenance of RCDs.
You should work with an experienced electrician to ensure that you comply with your legal obligations.
This will help to create a safe working environment.

Do you need expert advice and testing for your residual current devices?
Brissy Electricians has extensive experience in commercial and industrial installations.
We can help you with compliance with RCDs and other electrical safety requirements. 

Please contact Brissy Electricians for more information about our services.

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