Electrical Safety

June 2016

The purpose of this information sheet is to provide guidance in the use of approved electrical devices at Monash University.

Abbreviations

EPOD         Non-fixed, electric portable outlet device (powerboard)

GPO            General purpose outlet

RCD            Residual current device

Double adaptors

These are not recommended for use within Monash University and should be removed and replaced with EPODs fitted with overload protection devices.

Power-boards (EPOD)

  • These are to be used only if they have overload protection. Home-made power-boards are illegal throughout Australia and shall not be used in the university.
  • If an integral part of an electrical appliance or rack, a power-board shall be fixed by the use of secure fittings in such a way that the face is in the vertical plane in a location that is not susceptible to mechanical or water damage. Where possible the cord should be fixed to reduce the weight on the power-boards electrical junction.
  • Each power-boards must be plugged into a GPO.

Extension leads

These are only suitable for temporary applications. For longer term applications a new GPO should be installed or an power-boards with overload protection used. Ensure the extension lead is placed appropriately, shielded or taped down to reduce tripping hazards. Be wary of heavy equipment rolling over or impacting the lead as it may damage the insulation and wires causing shorting.

RCDs

An RCD must be used on a circuit in the presence of water or metal benches, if practicable.

Fan/Element Heaters

The use of fan forced coil heaters is not permitted; these devices pose a high fire risk and consume a great amount of energy. They are often not fitted with a cut-off switch and have relatively exposed elements making them susceptible to trapping dust and debris.

The university recommends the use of convective panel heaters or oil column heaters that don’t have any exposed elements as shown in the diagram below.

Unsafe Electrical Appliances

Electrical equipment/appliances should be inspected on a regular basis.  Equipment found to be in a state of disrepair or a dangerous condition (e.g. frayed cords) or are considered unsuitable for use and must be removed from service and be appropriately signed as being unsafe for use.

Testing and Tagging

All electrical appliances, are required to be tested and tagged in accordance with AS/NZS 3760:2010 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment,the Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004)

Electrical appliances bought in by contractors or from home for use on a Monash site are subject to the same testing and tagging procedure for appliances owned or leased by the University. Appliances should be tested and tagged prior to their use on university premises.

While there is no requirement to test and tag personal laptops, staff and students are encouraged to have their laptops tested and tagged using an approved person or company.

In both situations above the testing and tagging is the responsibility and the expense of the owner.

For further information contact your local OHS Consultant or Occupational Health and Safety by phone on 990 20222 or by email on ohshelpline@monash.edu

For further information on Testing and Tagging please refer to:

Inspecting, Testing, Tagging and Repairing Electrical Equipment