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Safety switches installation

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.

When you install a safety switch, it is vital you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure it is correctly connected. For some safety switches, supply must be connected to the “line” or “in” marked terminals, and the outgoing circuits to the “load” or “out” marked terminals. An incorrect connection may damage the switch’s internal circuitry and prevent it from operating.

You must also ensure the safety switch operation will not be affected by electrical equipment connected to the circuit which may distort the AC waveform. For example, circuits supplying equipment such as variable speed drives, generators, or inverters may require a specific type of RCD to protect the circuit.

After installation, you should do a visual inspection and performance tests to ensure:

  • compliance with manufacturer’s installation instructions
  • the safety switch functions, by using the test button or special test equipment
  • the safety switch disconnects the circuit it protects.

Once a safety switch is installed, you should demonstrate to the home occupier how to identify the switch and operate the test button. You can direct them to more guidance at

Further information

There is information on the different types of safety switches and their application in the Wiring Rules (Australian Standard AS/NZS3000). Upcoming changes to the Wiring Rules will affect safety switches.

Last updated
28 June 2018

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