Safety Switch testing. Or as you heard us say, RCDs.
As part of RCD testing regiment by relevant standards recommendations, we test our clients' fixed safety switches (fixed RCDs) according to their workplace classification or environment. This means, for instance, RCDs for office areas are tested every 2 years by checking its operating time/ current test as described by Work Safe Queensland to ensure they fall below the maximum tripping time of:
Type 1 (10mA) e.g. found in Dental clinics. 40ms Type 2 (30mA) e.g. found in most workplaces such as offices 300ms
As part of the operating time / current test (or Tripping Time: TT) regiment, the fixed RCDs are also Push Test (PT) activated on intervals as described by all relevant standards including Work Safe Queensland. This means 6 monthly interval PT activation for offices by us before leading up to the Tripping Time (TT). That's a long time before we revisit to ensure the safety switch is working within its maximum TT. So it is important to PT activate the fixed RCDs as part of the program. Most relevantly, our clients are actively encouraged to PT activate the fixed RCDs 3 monthly as part of their workplace safety program (that's 4 times in a year, but they save lifes!). The reason and importance for this cannot be encouraged enough as seen recently by the efforts put out by the ESOQLD.
ESO safety switch campaign. Have you seen the ads on TV?
Electrical Safety Office Queensland @ESOQLD has been actively releasing campaigns on both TV and radio of a girl and her dolly's house. ESOQLD are encouraging homes to have Residual Current Devices (RCDs) or safety switches to be installed not only on General Power Outlets (GPOs) but also on all electrical circuits including lighting circuits.
In the ESafe Electrical news bulletin released 9 June 2017, they've again emphasized on installing Safety Switches on all circuits as part of the update to Wiring Rules AS/NZS3000:
One safety switch may not be enough to provide the maximum protection against electric shock or fire. Safety switches should be installed on all sub-circuits, including those supplying fixed electrical equipment such as air-conditioning units, hot water heaters and ranges
If your business does not currently have any safety switches, all electrical items need to be tested and tagged. In keeping with the expectations of ESOQLD, your business should consider installing safety switches.
RCDs: protects you. Circuit Breakers and Fuses: protects the circuit
They've included a section called "Playing it Safe with Safety Switches" which includes two very informative videos that can be very useful for businesses to recognise and adopt as a basic part of every business WHS electrical standard.
"Busting the myth: Safety switches and circuit breakers" shows you how to identify all the switches in the switchboard and distinguish all others from the safety switches. When we quote new business clients for RCD testing, they send us pictures of their switchboards for us to see if they are RCD protected. The video does show you quickly how to identify if your switchboard has safety switches immediately.
"Testing your safety switch" shows how you can Push Test (PT) activate your home's safety switches which can be used in businesses too. Both AS/NZS3760:2010 and QESR recommends testing fixed RCDs (safety switches on the switchboards) to a minimum of 6 monthly by user. Manufacturers of safety switches would recommend a monthly or 3 monthly interval PT activation by user. Pictures below shows two of these stickers found on a client's switchboards that illustrates the manufacturer's recommendation.
We TT and PT, but you can PT too.
As emphasized in the "Testing your safety switch" video, not only is having RCD in your home important but also PT-ing the RCD regularly is just as important to ensure it continues to work. Your home or business can choose either 1 monthly, 3 monthly, or 6 monthly push "Test" button activation of the Safety Switch. As the latest video from the Work Safe Queensland recommends, the 3 monthly PT interval is a great start to improving the electrical safety standard and reducing electrical risks in the house. The same is true for workplaces. We actively recommend our clients the practise of PT-ing the "T" button 3 monthly and see faster TT when we revisit office areas in 2 years.
The only down side is, you have to reset the digital clock 4 times a year. A small down side.