Get audited, stay safe
Conducting a hazardous areas audit does not have to occur at the last minute (although unfortunately, this is when it usually happens.)
In our experience, we find that if audits are conducted at the last minute with zero engagement, there tend to be many non-compliance issues
throughout the project. This not only delays project completion, but also introduces cost for remediation works that are often borne by the
client even though it may be the installers that are at fault.
In Queensland, the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013, Section 221 states that a person must not connect or reconnect an electrical
installation located in a hazardous area to a source of electricity after electrical installation work has been performed unless:
- the electrical work has been inspected by an accredited auditor; and
the accredited auditor has confirmed that the electrical installation, to the extent it is affected by the electrical
work, has been tested to ensure it is electrically safe and complies with the requirements of the wiring rules as well as any
other standard applying under this regulation to the electrical installation
The two key words here? Inspected and confirmed.
The status quo is to just engage the auditor at last minute, but early engagement allows all parties to ensure that it is done once
and done right.
There can be exceptions to not audit
There are some circumstances where an accredited auditor may not need to conduct an inspection of electrical equipment that has been
replaced within hazardous areas before it is reconnected. In this instance, you have a legal obligation to ensure the equipment and
installation is electrically safe.
There are times whereby an audit is not required, this includes replacing with 'like for like' equipment.
Electrical equipment is considered to be 'like for like' if:
The existing circuit wiring can be reconnected to the termination point of the replacement equipment which has been placed in the
same position as the original unit
- The electrical rating characteristics are identical (not changing the maximum demand or rating of the installation)
- The classification ratings are identical (no change in the protection level/technique of the equipment)
The replacement equipment has certification proving compliance with the appropriate Australian Standards, namely
- Second-hand equipment, assessed in an accredited workshop
- Repaired equipment, repaired in an accredited workshop
However, electrical equipment is not considered to be ‘like for like’ if it -
- Has different specification to the original equipment, and/or
- Requires alteration of the installation wiring to enable termination
In this case, the electrical equipment would require an audit by an accredited auditor prior to reconnection.