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Electrical safety laws

Electrical safety laws aim to prevent people being killed or injured and property being destroyed or damaged by electricity. These laws apply to every place of work in Queensland.

Queensland's electrical safety legal framework includes:

  • the Electrical Safety Act 2002
  • the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013
  • codes of practice.

The Electrical Safety Act 2002 is a law that outlines what you must do to prevent people being killed or injured and property being destroyed or damaged by electricity.

Where the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Electrical Safety Act both apply the Electrical Safety Act takes priority.

Who's responsible?

The business or business owner has the primary duty of care under the Electrical Safety Act.

In the Act this is referred to as a ‘PCBU’, which stands for ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’.

A PCBU can be a person if they are a sole trader or self-employed, but it usually refers to a business entity such as a company, or an undertaking such as a not-for-profit organisation.

The PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the electrical safety of workers at the workplace.

This means the business or business owner must do what they are reasonably able to do to ensure the electrical safety of workers and others like volunteers and visitors.

Duties, or responsibilities, are also placed on managers, supervisors and, workers at a workplace.

Learn more about workers' rights and responsibilities.

You are also responsible under the Act if your business:

  • manufactures, imports and supplies electrical equipment
  • designs, installs and repairs electrical equipment and electrical installations
  • is in control of electrical equipment.

Who's covered?

All workers are protected by the Act including:

  • employees
  • contractors
  • subcontractors
  • outworkers
  • apprentices and trainees
  • work experience students
  • volunteers
  • employers who perform work (this can include business owners or sole traders).

The general public is also protected, so their health and safety isn’t put at risk at a workplace or by work activities.

Any PCBUs who are individuals who perform work for the business are also covered. This may include business owners or sole traders.

What's included?

The Act outlines electrical safety definitions and duties.

It also sets out a framework that:

  • establishes safety management systems for electrical entities (including power authorities and Queensland Rail)
  • provides a system of licensing for electrical workers and contractors
  • establishes standards for industry and the public through the Electrical Safety Regulation and codes of practice
  • establishes compliance and enforcement including penalties for breaches of the ES Act
  • provides consumer protection against electrical work not being properly performed or completed
  • establishes a consultation structure through the Electrical Safety Board and associated committees.

The Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 provides detailed information on how you must meet the requirements of the Electrical Safety Act.

What's included?

The Regulation sets out the requirements for:

  • electrical work
  • electrical licensing
  • working near overhead and underground electric lines
  • electrical installations
  • in-scope electrical equipment
  • works of an electricity entity
  • electricity supply
  • safety management systems
  • cathodic protection systems
  • notification and reporting of serious electrical incidents.

The Act and the Regulation are supported by codes of practice that give practical advice on how to meet your electrical safety responsibilities.

Codes of practice deal with particular issues and don't cover all hazards or risks. You must consider all risks associated with the work you donot just those covered by regulations and codes of practice.

Below are the five codes of practice that relate specifically to electrical safety:

You can also search the full list of codes of practice.

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