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Test before you touch

As we start the New Year it is a good time to remind all electrical workers to always test before you touch. Treat every circuit or piece of electrical equipment as live until tested and proven not to be live.

When you correctly test before you touch, you can identify any faults that exist with the circuit connections of the installation or electrical equipment, before you commence working on it.

Incorrect labeling of circuit protection at the switchboard, interconnected circuits, multiple supply connections and faulty or bypassed circuit protection are a few of the problems which can be identified when you test before you touch.

A risk assessment must always be carried out before commencing any electrical work, to identify the steps required to complete the work safely. This includes identifying the electricity supply to the installation or electrical equipment that is about to be worked on has been correctly identified and proven to have been isolated.

The consequences of failing to complete a risk assessment successfully may be disastrous for the person completing the work. Remember, never assume the installation or equipment is isolated just because you thought you turned off the correct switch—always test before you touch.

The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 sets out the duty placed on a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to Test before you touch.

S15 Duty to determine whether equipment is energised

  1. A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that, before electrical work is carried out on electrical equipment, the equipment is tested by a competent person to decide whether or not it is energised.

Further information

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Last updated
16 August 2019

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