Every business has an obligation to provide a safe workplace for its workers and visitors. Some of the areas of concern are electrical and fire safety. Inspections and precautions can help minimise the risk of harm and ensure the health of your equipment, staff and business. Here are five safety tests that can help prevent the worst from happening in the workplace.
1. Testing & Tagging
Testing and tagging is the process of inspecting, electrically testing and tagging (labelling) electrical equipment at regular intervals. This process is carried out to minimise the risk of electric shock to workers and visitors of the workplace.
Without regular testing and tagging, the workers run the risk of operating faulty and hazardous electrical equipment. It could cause severe or fatal injuries such as electric shock and even potentially start electrical fires.
The frequency of testing and tagging is set out in the AS/NZS 3760 Standard. It is a joint Australian and New Zealand Standard created by Standards Australia that outlines the in-service safety inspection, testing method and frequency of electrical appliances. If your equipment is found to be non-compliant with the Standard, you are liable for negligence and subjected to penalty.
2. Fire Protection Testing
Fire protection equipment such as fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire hose reels are crucial for fire safety. Therefore, it is crucial that you ensure your fire protection equipment is always functional.
Fire protection testing helps achieve this. It involves regular inspection, testing and maintenance of fire safety equipment. This ensures it performs as it should when you need it most and protects you, your workers and workplace visitors from harm.
Fire protection equipment, particularly fire extinguishers should be tested every 6 months in accordance with the AS/NZS 1851 Standard. The Standard outlines the routine service of fire protection systems and equipment.
3. RCD Safety Switch Testing
RCD is short for residual current device, or more commonly known as a safety switch. An RCD acts like a life-saving device by protecting you from electric shocks. It provides protection by detecting and immediately disconnecting the circuit or power in an electrical socket if there is a leakage current.
If your electrical appliance is faulty and your RCD does not function in time, harmful and fatal injuries like electric shock can occur. Regular RCD safety switch testing can help ensure it is in good working condition and prevent the worst from happening.
The frequency of RCD testing depends on the type of environment and/or equipment, as outlined in the AS/NZS3760 Standard.
4. Earth Fault Loop Impedance Test
An earth fault loop impedance test is the process of having the electrical earth of all your electrical installations and power points tested to detect any faults within your electric circuit.
Coming into contact with an electrical installation that is active due to a fault condition can cause someone to suffer from a severe electric shock, which can result in serious injury and even death. Therefore, having your electrical installations and power points tested for earth fault loop impedance is crucial.
5. Emergency & Exit Light Testing
Emergency and exit luminaries help occupants evacuate a premise safely in the event of an emergency. It is crucial that you ensure your exit and emergency lights are working properly for the safety of your employees and onsite visitors.
Even if you know where all the exits are located and all the exit lights seem to be in working order, regular exit light testing is important. What’s crucial is its long-term reliability and assurance that it will fully function and serve its purpose during an emergency. Therefore, emergency and exit lights must undergo a 90-minute discharge test every 6 months.
Regular emergency and exit light testing maintenance can help ensure the lights are always in working order, hence minimising the risk faulty emergency lighting in an emergency.