Electrical Safety Switch requirement

Thursday, 27 January 2011

From "OHS Alert" 14/12/10

NSW makes workplace safety switches mandatory

Electrical safety switches will be mandatory in all NSW workplaces under new regulations announced by State Finance Minister Michael Daley.

Daley said employers that use "higher risk" moveable electrical equipment (including hand-held power tools, welders, portable lighting and hair dryers) or equipment in higher risk environments (outdoor areas, construction sites and factories) must ensure either fixed or portable safety switches are in place by the end of next year.

All other workplaces are required to install safety switches - where reasonably practicable - by December 2014.

Small businesses that consult a WorkCover business advisory officer or attend a workshop will be entitled to rebates of up to $500 to cover installation costs.

NSW will now be one of five jurisdictions (along with the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia) to have such provisions in place. Current NSW regulations only mandate safety switches for some construction and building sites.

"These devices have been a major factor in the continuing reduction of electrocutions in Australia," Daley said. "I am determined that we take all reasonable steps to prevent unnecessary death and injury at work. Safety switches are one part of the answer."