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How A Safety Switch Works

Why I need a safety switch | How an rcd works

Residual Current Device (RCD) is the industry term for a safety switch. Safety switches are in place as a preventative measure against electrical shock – without a working RCD in place, your home or office is at risk.

Jim’s Test & Tag team are expert in RCD safety switch testing. Our team uses their knowledge of the latest industry standards and testing equipment to maintain electrical safety in your home or office.

Why do I need a safety switch?

An RCD is essential for the ongoing safety of your building’s occupants. Without an RCD safety switch installed and tested regularly, your co-workers and loved ones are unnecessarily vulnerable to electrical shock. Recently, after the tragic death of a young electrician, there has been a call for compulsory safety switches in all homes. Unfortunate accidents like this are easy to avoid – having a safety switch installed and tested will eliminate unnecessary risk.

The following table illustrates the number of deaths in Australia occurring via electrical faults.

table 1 RCD

Table via Master Electricians “Switch Thinking”.

How an RCD works?

An RCD safety switch will constantly monitor the electrical circuit in your home or office. It will detect any faults in the electrical circuit by identifying a change in current, and switch off the power when it finds one. If you are wondering which RCD to use for each piece of equipment read this article.

For more information on the mechanics of a safety switch, follow this link.

How often do I need my RCD tested?

Testing your RCD safety switch is easy with Jim’s Test & Tag. Knowing when your RCD needs to be tested depends on the nature of your home or office. The following table (from the AS/NZS 3760 safety standard) includes some of the environments in which testing is required, and details the kind of testing that needs to be done, as well as the frequency of each test.

testing table

Types of safety switches

Jim’s Test & Tag are committed to minimising electrical risk in your home or workplace. Their thorough knowledge of RCD safety switch maintenance and risk management can be applied to your building, regardless of the type of switch you have installed.

The three types of safety switches are:

Switchboard Units – these are installed/located on the main switchboard.

Power Point Units – these are inbuilt in a standard power point.

Portable Units – these are used with an extension cord for portable electrical devices.


Want to know more about RCD safety switches?  For a comprehensive guide about how they work, the risks, laws, and maintenance, take a look at this report from Master Electricians. Ready to have your safety switch tested? Contact Jim’s Test and Tag for a FREE QUOTE today.

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