Government regulations require business owners to minimize the risk of electrical shock to employees using electrical equipment in higher-risk workplaces by using an appropriate RCD (Residual Current Device). RCDs must be tested regularly and records of the test results must be retained.
What is an RCD (Residual Current Device)?
An RCD is a very important safety switch that can protect someone from electrocution caused when a jolt of electricity passes through the body to the earth. The electric currents travel along the nervous system, burning tissue. RCDs prevent this from happening by immediately switching off the electricity when it detects electricity leaking to the earth at a harmful level, usually 30 milliamps or less. RCDs, when properly installed and maintained, can prevent an accidental death or serious injury in the workplace in most instances.
There are Four Types of RCDs
If in doubt, consult a competent technician concerning which types of RCDs would be best for your workplace. The four types of RCDs include:
- A fixed, or non-portable, RCD that can be installed at the switchboard, protecting both the wiring that is connected to the RCD and any electrical equipment plugged into this protected circuit.
- A fixed, non-portable RCD that can be installed at a fixed socket outlet, protecting any electrical equipment plugged into this outlet.
- A portable RCD that can be attached directly to a power cable.
- A portable RCD protected power board.
What Types of Businesses Need RCDs?
This is a very broad requirement applying to:
- Construction and demolition sites;
- Any workplace where someone manages or controls electrical equipment, including electrical installations;
- Any workplace where electrical work is carried out near or on electrical equipment, including electrical installations.
How Often Do RCDs Need to be Tested?
In an operating environment where the equipment receives hard use, testing for RCDs should be done more frequently.
- At a minimum, RCD Testing Requirements state that RCDs should be tested at least once a year for operating time.
- In a portable factory environment, RCDs should also have a push button test prior to use.
- In other portable environments, RCDs should be tested every three months.
- RCDs should be tested every six months if they are fixed.
Records Must be Kept
Copies of the results of the tests must be kept by both the business owner and the tester. The record can be either a register, logbook, or computer database. Records should include:
- The name of the tester and any license or certificate number if applicable;
- The date of the inspection;
- The outcome of the test;
- The date of the next inspection;
- Plant or inspection number of the inspected item if applicable.
For the safety of all concerned, it is critical that RCDs be functioning properly. Contact us today for all your RCD Testing and Fire Safety Requirements.