Watch the safety in the community webinar to understand how to live safely around electricity – in your home and workplace.
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Good day everyone, and welcome to our Electrical Safety in the Community webinar. I'd like to thank you all for joining us here this morning. My name's Chris Bolus and I'll be your mc. Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which this event is taking place and pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. Little bit of housekeeping throughout today's webinar. If you have any questions for our speakers, please type them in the chat box to the right of your screen and we'll ask them during the final panel session right at the end of our presentation. If you have any technical difficulties during the live stream, please make sure the sound on your computer is turned on, refresh your browser, and if that doesn't work, contact us via the live chat box.
You can also change the size of your screen to full screen by selecting the four small arrows next to the volume bar at the bottom of your screen. Now, whether it's at home or in the workplace, we use electricity every day. So, it's important for community members to understand how to live safely around electricity. Today we'll hear from Donna Heelan, Executive Director, the Electrical Safety Office. Brian Richardson, Director, Electrical Equipment Safety and Licensing also from the ESO. Peter Matthews Director, the Solar Service guys, Mark Halverson, Executive Manager, Fire Safety Section, Community Infrastructure Branch, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Carl Porritt, Manager, Equipment Safety from the ESO and Allison Price, CEO, Waste and Recycling Industry Queensland.
Well, it's my pleasure now to introduce our first speaker, Donna Heelan, who will provide an update on the Electrical Safety Office and introduce electrical safety with the Wiggles. Now, not to be too corny, straight out of her big red car, and after a full serve of cold spaghetti and fruit salad. Yummy, yummy.
Here's Donna. Thanks Bomber. I'm not sure I can do the fruit salad dance, but we can give it a go. Thank you everyone for joining us this morning. This is our last event for Electrical Safety Week. We host Electrical Safety Week, the first week in September every year, and we hold events for industry community apprentices, um, and the, uh, electrical contractors, um, that work, uh, across Queensland. So really thank you for joining us. You might wonder who the electrical safety office is. Uh, our role is pretty simple. It's to prevent injuries, fatalities, and property destruction caused by electricity. There's 5.3 million Queenslanders, um, that electricity powers our lives every day. It's where we work, where we rest, and where we play. But sadly, complacency around electrical equipment comes at a very high cost. The past year in 20 22, 20 23, we had six fatal electrical injuries in Queensland. Four of these were workers outside the electrical trade. One was a child and one was a homeowner doing unlicensed electrical work. This is six fatalities, way too many Queensland's in a very fortunate position. We have a very large, robust and competent electrical workforce. We have 62,000 electrical workers, 12 and a half thousand electrical contractors, and on in a given day about 7,500 apprentices.
What does the electrical safety office do? That's a great question. Uh, last year we did over 4,700 audits and site visits. We issued 413 improvement notices, which are financial penalties, similar to a speeding ticket, which included almost $62,000 for unlicensed electrical work. We have a campaign, which I'll speak to in a minute, called DIY equals DIE Uh, and for very good reason, we see people get seriously injured or killed every year doing their own electrical work. We've also issued over $1,800, 1800 compliance notices under the electrical safety legislation. We have a great team that has the fun job of buying electrical equipment and pulling it down and trying to get it to fail to make sure the equipment you buy in your house is safe for you and your family. We also do check testing and make 68. We made 68 referrals to the licensing committee where electrical license holders were found to be doing the wrong thing. In addition to these compliance and regulatory activities, we have a key role in educating the community, and that's what today is all about. We have our own community website. If you're interested, I would encourage you to go to all one word, electrical safety.qld.gov au.
We've had almost 460,000 people visit this new community webpage and I mentioned the d i y equals DIE or Don't Do it your own electrical work. We've had 1.1 million people view that campaign. We've also engaged with over 307 organizations and four and a half thousand people in the past 12 months to share the importance of being electrically safe at home, at your workplace and in your community. Bomber mentioned we partnered with The Wiggles. We absolutely have, um, and we are pleased that we have partnered with them. Um, and we'll show a little teaser of the song called Electricity, Electricity, all it can be seen. It's very dangerous to touch a power point, you see has the electricity. So stay away and don't touch it. Then after the grownup, we can plug it in for you. Don't do it on your grownups. We'll help you some advice to do with your advice if it looks like it. Thanks team. It's very catchy and it's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head. So if you haven't seen it, uh, we launched it in December last year and we've had over 3 million views of the song itself and 2.7 million views of the accompanying electrical safety tips for parents and guardians. So I encourage you to jump on and have a look at the electricity song. Uh, and if you are interested in the wiggles or have little ones that are interested in the wiggles, please jump over to our Facebook page. We have a competition at the moment where you can enter to get tickets to an upcoming live wiggle show. So please go to our Facebook page to enter that.
Our work also sees us to make sure that as people in your homes, in the community, that electricians that come to your home do the right thing. We are putting in tools to ensure that you are protected from people doing unlicensed electrical work. We have a proactive campaign that has looked at online platforms such as Airtasker Gumtree, um, one Flare, and we've looked at over 5,000 of these ads to make sure that the people that are advertising for this work are actually licensed and competent to do that work. Removing any that do not comply and issuing financial infringement penalties were appropriate. Another large area we're working on is the renewable energy commitments for Queensland, working closely with other government agencies and the community to deliver safe PV solar, which, uh, Peter will speak to today, large scale solar, wind farms, hydrogen and battery energy storage systems. I encourage you all to follow us on Facebook, register for any of our publications, and if you need or want to ask a question again, pop it in the chat. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to join us today. And I often say electrical safety isn't sexy, but if we're compliant around electricity things, sorry, complacent around electricity, things can go very badly. Very quickly, I'd like you to do one thing today. If you can take away just one key point that you can share with your friends, your family, your football club, the local canteen, whatever it is that can make a change for you and those that you love and those that you work and live around. So, the key messages today that I think you'll get something out of is there is no such thing as a safe shock. Safety switches, save lives, how to buy, use, and store electrical equipment safely and why your ceiling spaces can be dangerous places to be. So, thank you for joining us. I hope you have a lovely weekend and I hope you enjoy the event. Thank you.
Thanks, Donna. With some key messages there and a little bit of homework for us here during the, uh, live stream. Uh, and I'll be asking for updates on that, uh, during the presentation, particularly right near the end, uh, when we have our full panel session. Uh, if you do have any questions for, uh, any of our panel members or speakers, uh, please use, uh, the chat box, uh, and we'll get to them at the end. As I said, I'd now like to welcome our next speaker from the electrical safety office. Brian Richardson, director of Supply and Networks. Brian's going to chat about electrical safety responsibilities and the importance of ensuring all of your electrical equipment around your home is electrically safe, Brian.
Okay, thanks for that, Chris. Appreciate that. Um, excuse me. Um, I'm here to talk about, um, safety in the home with electrical equipment. First thing I'd like to say is electricity is safe if it's used correctly and you take care with it. But as Donna said, if you become complacent, we can have some problems, but I'm gonna show you some pictures of things that don't look good. Don't panic. That's not how everything is. If you do the right thing, um, and electricity is everywhere, you're listening to this webinar because of electricity, if the power goes out, you wouldn't see me anymore. Um, so we need to be aware that it's around us all the time. It's important and it is good. I'll also say we've got the website as Donna mentioned, a lot of what I'm talking about here is, has more detail on the website, so please take the time to go to the website. Um, I'll give you some general tips about various electrical equipment to think about. Um, I won't talk about, um, lithium-ion batteries or the regulatory compliance mark. That's that little symbol there that you can see. I might mention that a couple of times 'cause that's something that's very important if that, that needs to be on the electrical equipment you're thinking about buying. Um, I'd also like to just mention recalls. So recalls.gov au. It's worth going to that site if you're buying a new home and it's already got existing electrical equipment in there. The, the air conditioner or the dishwasher or the hot water service, probably worth going to check to see if that's not under recall. Um, I'd also say when you are buying second-hand equipment, check that too. 'cause the last thing you'll do is buy a product that might burn the house down. Um, and if you have bought a product, register with the manufacturer. That way if something does go wrong in the future, they'll be able to contact you. I bought an electric bike start of the year I registered with a manufacturer. I've got an year's warranty for free for it. So there's often benefits with doing that as well. Um, and then before I go into the area I'm talking to, I'll mention smoke alarms as well. Um, it's very important to have working smoke alarms, interconnected smoke alarms in your house and to test them as well. I mention that because electricity can overheat things and can cause fires. So, if you've got smoke alarms, that's a good way to alert yourself to an issue so you can get yourself and your family out safely. Um, so to get into a couple of areas to think about, um, outlet devices, your socket outlets, the power boards that are everywhere around everyone's houses, um, we do have concerns with children poking things into those outlet devices, unfortunately. So, you can buy dummy plugs to stick into the outlets. You can buy devices that have actually have shutters on them. So ,you need to plug, push the plug in, twist it before you can insert it all away. It's a good way to stop young children who are inquisitive from harming themselves by shoving things in where they shouldn't be. Uh, the other point I'd like to mention is button batteries.
While it's not something the electrical safety office regulates, that's something that our, our partners in the Fair trading agencies look after. We do work with other agencies very closely and they would really love me to tell you about button batteries and the risks that we have with them. They're very small, they're very easy for children to swallow and they react with the acids in in the stomach and the oesophagus and they can cause significant internal burns and fatalities. They're in everything. Um, Christmas is coming up. You might get Christmas cards that when you open it up, it plays a little tune that's likely got a button battery inside it. So be very careful where you put that. Don't leave it somewhere where children can rip it apart and get the battery out. It'll be in all different appliances in your home. So ,your kitchen scales like they have button batteries in them as well. So just keep things away from children and if you do replace the button batteries, make sure to dispose of them very quickly in a very secure, safe way.
Closed dryers. Um, I started in electrical safety office as an inspector and one of the areas I went to was inspecting equipment that was causing problems. I went to closed dryer fires through winter four or five times every year for four or five years. Um, significant problems with clothes dryers. We've improved the safety standards over the years now, so the newer models are a lot better, but there are still a couple of things to think about. The lint filter. So, you can see some pictures there of the lint filters that are there. Clean it every time before you use the clothes dryer. It's there to catch the lint to stop it going through the rest of the appliance. But a good lint filter is not one that's all clogged up. That means it's actually not, that is not the lint filter. We've had people go look at my lint filter. Isn't it really good? It's nice and thick and full of all this stuff, you know, no, that's what it's capturing that you have to pull away. So, make sure you do that. Clothes dryers have a cool down cycle. That's another important thing. You should always let the clothes dryer go through and complete its cool down cycle. Now I know you won't always be able to do that. You need to get the clothes out if you have to stop it before the cool down cycle. Don't leave the clothes clumped up in the dryer. Take them out, spread them out so they can cool down. Um, it's rare, but those clothes, depending on the circumstances, can actually catch fire if they've been heated up too much in, in certain types of materials. So, make sure you take them out, spread them out, cool 'em down
Room heaters and electric blankets. So, winter's, over winter is not coming. Winter has gone. Um, but throughout winter we will be using these appliances. Don't cover your room heaters with clothes 'cause your clothes dry is not working. Um, as the picture shows, that's a good way to catch fire, keep your clothes dryers away from curtains, um, and other combustible materials. There are some column type heaters that do have the ability to have clothes draped over a rail that goes over the top of them, but they only use those when the manufacturer has specified that. That's okay to do. You'll find most heaters have a label on them saying do not cover. So that's there for a reason because if you don't, that picture shows what happens. Electric blankets and throw rugs. We're now getting throw rugs you can wear while you're sitting in your couch watching tv. Um, if they're not treated carefully, you'll have a number of problems. As you can see, fires will occur with electric blankets. So obviously before you use them, you check them out, lay them down before you've plugged them in, run your hand over to see if there's any kinks in the wires. Check the connector box to see the cables are okay. You'll be storing them shortly because you won't need them through summer. Fold them gently. Don't press hard and don't crease the edges and don't put something on them that squashes them down. So, um, they can be stored safely and used next year. Freight and damaged cords and plugs. A couple of pictures there. Um, we do have issues with plugs with the cords pulling out. Um, that's one step away from an electric shop for you and cables and cords that have got nicks and cuts in them. Stop using them, change them. If it's a cord on an appliance, you need to get a, an appliance repair person or a licensed contractor to come and fix it for you. Don't wrap it up with electrical tape and say she'll be right because that doesn't protect you if the cable is damaged inside Hair straighteners and hair dryers. I don't generally need to worry about these things, but as you can see from the picture there, the, the cords that come out of hair dryers, it's a very, very, um, dangerous position. We need to treat that carefully. They can often short out and as you can see in the picture on the right hand side, you get arcing occurring, which could burn your hands, um, or cause an electric shock. And I've put in the pictures on the right hand side there to show we take x-rays of the cables at time to see the wires inside are actually damaged, um, from that flexing. So, they're designed to be flexed.
There are safety standards they have to meet, you know, 20,000 flexings have to be performed, but you still need to treat them with a little respect. And I know I won't get you to not wrap the cord around the handle of the closed the hair dryer, but if you, when you do it, just don't make the bend as the cable comes out of the handle too sharp and also store them away from water. Don't leave them sitting on the edge of a bench where they can get knocked into the, into the basin or into the bathtub. And we're coming up to Christmas. So, Christmas lights will be out everywhere, which is fantastic. It makes a streets scape look really nice. Um, but be very careful with Christmas lights. We've had a number of recalls of Christmas lights, a picture there on the, the left hand side, left and right. Yep, someone's moved it around on me. So ,the star there that's under recall a couple of years ago. The picture on the other side shows the cords were just simply cut in manufacture. So live wires were left exposed. What I would recommend is the picture in the middle, the new l e d style lights, which is pretty much all you can buy now, but used with a transformer, the power supply that's got the regulatory compliance mark on it. So that's a much safer option to use these days. Um, and just check them. Make sure if you're using Christmas lights outdoor, the manufacturer said that's okay. You probably still need to keep the power supply protected even if the lights are for use outdoors, that power supply needs to be, um, protected from rain and weather. Um, and I'd suggest again, I mentioned smoke alarms. When you put your Christmas tree up and your Christmas lights up, make sure you've got a a working smoke alarm in that room as well.
The next thing I wanted to mention is storm sea season is coming up. So, um, that means water. And as I mentioned, Christmas lights, outdoors and water can be a problem. Um, storm season and outdoor equipment causes a problem. Of course, no one's gonna actually do what's in that swimming pool there and have a, a power board connected to your radio whilst you're inside the pool. Um, I think that's sort of the, the Darwin Award type nominations that we see every now and then. Um, I show that picture not as a way to be electrically safe, but as a way to show you how people can be not electrically safe. Um, in the storm season it's coming up. Need to be storm aware, portable generators, lightning strikes, water damage. So, if you're going to use a portable generator that's, that's good, that'll help you keep your fridge going. Be able to charge up your, your phones and, and your computer, um, while the power's out. But be careful with the generators. They create carbon monoxide. So don't use them indoors. Keep them in a well-ventilated space, but still keep them protected from the rain and the weather as well. Um, when you have to refuel the generator, make sure you let it cool down first Don't try and pour petrol into a hot generator. That will cause potential for a fire itself. Um, and if you are plugging the generator into your house installation, you need to get your electrical contractor to put in a changeover switch so that you can do that safely. So, we don't want the generator connected into the house and feeding back into the network where the lines people are out trying to, to fix the power lines for us. Um, very important that you, you consider that issue. Um, and storms themselves. Lightning strikes. If there are lightning strikes around, I would advise that you unplug appliances where you can. And I advise that because my expensive stereo system and television blew up because of a lightning strike. So, um, it happens to everybody. Um, I'll just move on, just some basic general things. You need to check the appliance before you're using it. So your power tools are a good example. They can get a bit knocked around, so check they're not cracked or broken. Uh, follow the manufacturer's instructions as I've indicated before that's a good thing. Um, don't try and sew a piece of timber by using another person as a workbench. That would not be a smart thing. You may need regular maintenance of, of some particular equipment. Um, if you do, they need to get a licensed electrical worker to do it. Don't do your own electrical work. As Donna had mentioned before, um I'll mention hot surfaces, the little symbol, the hot surface symbol. A lot of appliances now have that to give you an indication, they need heat to work. So, ovens, for example, um, are a heating appliance, which means the surfaces will get hot. So they put warnings on them for that. Um, and don't run leads over hot surfaces as they might melt and short out. And then I'll quickly go on to just buying electrical equipment online and I'll mention the regulatory compliance mark, the r c m up in the top corner. Again, look for that on the appliances when you're buying it. Um, if you buy it online, you've gotta be careful who you're buying it from. It may not comply with Australia's electrical safety standards. Um, some of the sellers may appear to be in Australia, but they may not be. So maybe give them a, a DMM to check where they actually are. Ask them if they're registered on the, on the electrical equipment safety system. If you've got a product that they say, yep, you can use this product, you just need to use this travel adapter to connect it in Don't buy that product. Don't go anywhere near that seller. Don't buy anything from them 'cause that product likely doesn't comply with Australia's safety standards. And the picture, the dusty dirty picture up there is of an appliance that actually caught fire. So it was, had a travel adapter to plug it in. It didn't comply with Australia's standards, it caught fire. So, it does actually happen. And often it's the wrong voltage or the wrong frequency. One of the things is it just won't work, and you'll have no warranty. But as I said, fires and shocks are critical issues that we need to worry about with them. So that will be my few minutes’ worth. Um, just to reinforce to you that you should take care when buying equipment online, ask a few questions, check that they comply with Australia's safety standards. It has a regulatory compliance mark on it. Uh, follow the manufacturer's instructions when you're using the equipment. Don't use, um, uh, an oven as your room heater. That's not what it's designed for. Um, check your portable appliances before you use 'em for any damage. It's obviously pretty obvious if the the cord's nicked or pulled out or the case is broken or cracked. Um, clean the lint filter of your clothes dry. Just make that a a habit that you do that every time.
Don't cover your room heaters with clothes or blankets and check if it's used for indoor outdoor use. Just make sure it'll be marked for indoor use or for outdoor use, or the manufacturer's instructions will give you information on that. Um, prepare yourself for storm season. There's a lot of information on our website in relation to that. Um, so go to the website, you'll see that and reinforcing it. Don't do it yourself. If your electrical equipment needs repair or maintenance, get a licensed electrical contractor in to do that. So that's me done. Thank you.
Thanks Brian. And if you do have a question for Brian or any of our speakers, remember, use the, uh, chat box, uh, send it into our team and we'll uh, get to as many of those uh, questions, uh, at the end of, uh, the session. Uh, let's move along now. And, um, I have a question. Do you know what the difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker is? I don't. Uh, I've gotta admit. Uh, so let's get Mark and Jane from the ESO to explain what the difference is and how to test them.
How do we tell the difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker? So, if we look inside this switchboard here, we can see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 safety switches right there. What we are looking for to tell the difference is the test button. So you can see three here, 1, 2, 3 with a little T and it's blue up in the top corner. You are looking at the clips or breaker here down the bottom. We've got a T here and we've also got an orange There. So, as you can see, they come in all different shapes, colors, sizes, but you're looking for a test button and it usually is marked with a little t.
Okay? So now we'll do a little demo of testing the safety switch. It should be done every three months. So here we go. Let's check this lighting circuit. Now here's the little test button up the top that mark talked about. So, I'll simply press that, and it should immediately switch off and we can rese it now. So what that is doing is testing the integrity of the actual safety switch. Now the manufacturer recommends that you do these every three months to ensure that your safety switch is working as it should. Now, a good way to remember this would be, uh, when your rates bill comes in every quarter.
Now, thanks to, uh, Mark and Jane from the e s o there for explaining the difference between safety switches and circuit breakers. Let's move on to our next speaker. And it's my pleasure to introduce Peter Matthews, Founder and CEO of Solar Service Guys. Peter boasts over two decades of experience in the electrical industry. Peter is passionate about the electrical and renewable energy sectors and is currently the senior vice president of Master Electricians Australia in both 2018 and 2019. Peter was celebrated as the young entrepreneur of the year. And in 2019, he also received the prestigious Master Electrician of the Year award, solidifying his reputation as an outstanding leader in the industry with Solar Service Guys playing a significant role in these achievements. Today, Pete's gonna be chatting to us about household solar system safety, and I think with the number of systems that are up on our roofs these days, that's a very important thing. So welcome Pete.
Thanks for the intro Bomber. Um, look, it's, uh, yeah, solar is huge uptake in Australia. Uh, over 30% of homes in in Queensland currently have solar installed on it. And service and maintenance is one of those pieces that's quite often overlooked. Um, so today, uh, I'm very privileged to be able to come and talk to you about something I'm very passionate about, um, and run you through a few slides as far as solar goes. So a little bit about solar service guys, first of all. Um, so we visited over 70,000 homes around Australia. Um, so that breadth of experience and knowledge we get to share with you today with some of the issues we've seen. Um, I've been in the industry and, and dealt with solar for so many years, over 17 years. Currently, um, we've got over a hundred staff and we're a trusted partner for large retailers. So, we've got that experience we get to share today. So why maintain your solar system? Um, look, I always say to customers, solar is an asset. It's like your car. It's a car sitting on your roof. You know, it's about keeping it safe. It's about keeping it roadworthy or the grid connection. It's about operating it for maximum efficiency.
Efficiency is really important when it comes to solar around your revenue, but the safety is really important around your family and your assets. So, it needs to be looked after. So solar systems safety, solar produces DC power, and DC is the same as welding. DC is very unforgiving. It's almost like you've got a welder sitting on your roof, not looking after what's going on. Every time the sun comes up, the potential and risk is there that could catch fire. And we see it regularly in the industry. And when it does catch fire, it fails, and it fails so significantly it can actually start to melt the roof sheets on a roof. The image in the photo is a pretty clear image representing a failed DC isolator. This image shows roof sheets that have actually melted exposed live cables touching a metal roof that can cause a severe shock and risk of arc flash, uh, and burnt burn injuries. There's two different forms of, um, of service. There's a proactive repair and a reactive repair. A proactive repair is when we actually can come to site and identify issues and fix issues before they happen. This is often a simple way to look after an asset. A reactive repair is when a customer's calling us because their bill's gone too high or they see smoke coming off the solar system, these can cause catastrophic failures and significant issues, which will cost you a lot more money. So, when it comes to maintenance, Australian standard sets out a pretty good recommendation of what should be done and how often it should be done. It's not compulsory, but from our experience, it's gonna save you a lot more money and provide you a much safer asset that's gonna give you a much more longer life and better revenue. One of the key things we find when we go to people's sites are recall products. Um, there's many, many recall products out there from, there's three different battery recalls currently on the market. There's two different isolator recalls. There's uh, inverter recalls, there's cable recalls, our electricians, or when you get electricians on site, the first thing you want them to do is look over all the products that you have when your solar system and ensure it's not recalled. There's a current recall out for the LG lithium ion batteries. Batteries manufactured between 2017 and 19. Sit within this recall range. If you haven't seen it, the ads here, if you look at jump online, give us a call, uh, give the recall team a call and ensure your battery is not under the recall. If you're unsure, just check it. That's all you gotta do is make the call and check your serial number As far as solar panels go, they're concealed, they're tacked up on the roof, people don't see what's going on with them. Quite often we'll get to site and find significant damage or arcing in solar panels that are seven to 10 years old. This poses significant risk to the homeowner. And without someone getting on the roof to check and maintain your system, you wouldn't even know it's happening. So yeah, solar panels are failing. We also find a lot of hidden components failing inside inverters, isolators, connectors, all things a homeowner can't see. You need to be an electrician to open up all these components and inspect regular inspection can prevent these issues from, uh, from happening, but also prevent significant costs in repair when it does fail. With solar systems, you are putting 'em on the roof for 25 years. Environmental impacts are gonna change over time and we see lots of issues, um, come up around hail damage or plants growing over, over, over panels we see possums, rats chewing on cables under panels and nesting under panels we see leaf litter accumulating. And again, picture that salt that welder on your roof. Welding stuff, if you've got leaf litter under your panels, you've got a fire. So it's all these environmental impacts that change the system around that need, that requirement for maintenance as well.
Cleaning of solar panels, everyone always asks, should I get my solar panels cleaned? Long story short is yes. So, efficiency of solar panels is impacted when you don't clean them. Uh, permanent shading from, uh, lichen and other bits and pieces growing on solar panels will actually cause 'em to fail. Uh, the image in the, the slideshow of a windscreen of a car, you know, when it rains the first time it rains, you look out that windscreen, the rain doesn't wash the built up soil off. It's so important to go up there and clean the panels to give you the performance and give you that output that you've been promised by the sales team. Liken and bird dropping buildups, if you see possums hanging around, not possums, if you see pigeons hanging around the roof of your house, call someone to come out and check. If you've got pigeons living under your panels, they can cause a lot of damage. They can disrupt cables; they can damage panels. And as you can see in the image, the longer you leave them, the worse it gets. If you see pigeons on your roof, give someone a call and get them out to have a look. One of the key risks we see in the industry, and it's one of the ones I wanted to really promote today, is around the shutdown and the shutdown procedure. In accessibility, if you're inverter and batteries, You should understand how to isolate your solar system or battery in an emergency. There's always a shutdown procedure that's on site that shows you how to do it. If you're not aware of how to shut down or isolate your system, next time you get an electrician out to service it, make sure you get them to show you how to do it. The other key issue in the photo in the middle is, um, a jerry can of petrol sitting next to the battery and, and inverter if something fails, picture a welder picture a lot of heats, you're gonna have a fire and you're gonna assist that fire to spread really quickly. So, keep anything that's fumble away from your inverter and your battery. They're not a storage cabinet. Don't put petrol on top of it or, or, or jerrycans around it. But also, don't keep flammable materials like books and things in the way. Um, it's only asking it for it to go bad, But to link it back. Um, three key messages we always tell our customers, um, you know, if you want safe solar, um, be like sunny. Uh, so checks his solar system once a week when he puts his bins out. So, every week when you put your bins out, just have a look at your solar system, see if there's any faults on the system. If there is, call your electrician. Sonny also knows how to shut the system down in an emergency. So, if there ever, ever is an emergency, he knows what to do and how to do it And Sonny lastly, always uses qualified electricians. Never used an unlicensed electrician to come and do any repairs on your solar systems. That's all from me. Thank you.
Thanks Pete. Some great advice for, uh, maintaining, looking after and ensuring we get the best out of our solar, uh, systems at home. Uh, if you've got a question for Pete or any of our speakers, remember, put it into the chat box, uh, and our team will get to it and, uh, we will get to the questions, your questions, uh, right at the end of our session time now, though, to catch up with Jane again from the e S o and she's going to give us a reminder. Brian touched on it earlier of what the regulatory compliance mark the RCM is and why it's so important. Now, ordering electrical equipment online from overseas can be risky as it may not meet Australian standards. So make sure you look for the regulatory compliance mark or RCM when buying electrical equipment. Now, the little symbol is on your screen right now, so you know what to look out for That, uh, time Now for the first of our panel sessions, uh, and I'll introduce the members of the panel. It's not the full panel, but not to say that they're not the three wise people.
Anyway. Uh, Mark Halverson, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Carl Porritt from the ESO and Allison Price from Waste and Recycling Industry Queensland. Welcome guys. Uh, and, uh, you will be discussing the safe purchase use storage and charging and disposal of lithium, uh, iron batteries, uh, which is, uh, really a buzz issue right at this point. Um, and can I start off with say, uh, asking Carl and Allison, how can I identify what products have lithium ion batteries in them for a staff Uh, a lot of the, uh, packaging that products come in clearly identify lithium batteries. It's a bit of a marketing issue because, you know, lithium have got some great qualities of a lot of energy in a small packet and, you know, they could, um, make a devices last longer. So look for the market, uh, marketing material. Uh, the battery chargers should also have the type of battery it's suitable for. So, um, have a close look at that. It should say lithium batteries on it. Mm-hmm. Uh, Allison? Yeah, I think when it comes time to disposing of lithium batteries in their bins, um, a lot of people don't really think about identifying what a lithium battery is. What products contain a lithium battery? So, it could be anything from your kids' shoes that have the little l e d lights in the bottom of them. Um, a vape if you're into that kind of thing. Um, shopping trolleys, the little batteries that look after the locators on the shopping trolleys. So, you can't take them out of the shopping precinct. These lithium batteries are in so many different things and when it comes time to putting them in the bin, um, identifying that they're there could make a huge difference to the waste and recycling industry and our safety. Let's follow that up with how do I ensure I'm, I'm buying from a reputable supplier? Carl, Good question Chris. And, um, you've heard several times today about the RCM, that's probably the number one, uh, way to, to help find a quality product. Uh, if the RCM is not marked on there, don't buy it. Um, the, if you'd like to dig a little bit deeper, you can go to the EESS website, it's eess.gov au and, uh, search on registered equipment. And you should be able to search by the brand of the charger, not necessarily the device, but the actual battery charger and the model number. Uh, and if you can find it on there, you've got, uh, additional comfort that the product has been proved beyond doubt to meet the Australian safety standards.
Okay, we've got the reputable, uh, buyer. We, we know where we're gonna get 'em from. Uh, I've got them, uh, do I need to charge them outside? Must they be charged outside, or can I do charge them inside You? You can charge them inside or, or outside, but it's more, um, actually understanding that, uh, lithium batteries like to operate within a a fairly set limited temperature range. They don't like being too hot and don't like being too cold either. So, um, you know, you don't wanna charge 'em in very high temperature environments in direct sun, uh, 40 degree days that we get once in a while in Queensland. Uh, uh, so, you know, keeping those, those cooler temperatures around the charging. Um, it's also, uh, more or less, uh, being around all the time. Um, you may be in another room, but, but you need to be alert and awake and present when you're charging batteries at all times, uh and having clear spaces around it. Um, it, it needs to breathe and, and, and temperatures, you know, need to be able to, uh, escape. So doing that sort of thing, but not doing it on a bed or, or next to your sofa or, you know, on top of fuel loads. So, so taking some of those precautions, um, and yeah, but please don't switch 'em over overnight and go to bed. Um, a lot, a lot of devices are safe with lithiums. Mm-hmm. Allison mentioned quite a few products out there, so, you know, you know, their product isn't inherently dangerous and unsafe, like we say, electricity's around us. It's about being respectful and being mindful and, uh, you know, taking some of those precautions.
And on that note, how do I know I've got the right charger? It's such the critical point with this. Yeah. Um, um, chargers and the batteries have, uh, intelligence in them and they, they sort of talk to each other in a say in a way. So, they're always matched. So, it's critically important to have the right battery charger with the, the actual device with the battery in it or the battery. So, um, it's really a matter of buying the products from reputable supplies that are already matched and looking for that RCM symbol checking it's registered, et cetera. Um, and if you lose the battery charger, it stops working buy one from the same supplier, it's, it's got, it's incredibly important to have that perfect match of those chargers to the battery.
Again, Karl, and I'll, I'll get to you, Mark. I haven't forgotten you over in the corner here. Um, what are the storage requirements when you're not using these batteries? Uh, you know, I know that in my lawnmower you've got a active, uh, part where you put the bat battery that you're using You've also got a spare where you can store another battery if you wish. Um, so what is, what, what in what regard or can I leave them on the charger forever and until the next time I mow the lawn in between? If it's, you know, three weeks, We'd always recommend not to leave them on the, um, uh, you know, again, a, a lot of products should be okay, but, um, we've seen a number of times where batteries have left, been left on charge. Um, the, they probably don't have quite the right intelligence in them, and the batteries have overheated and mm-hmm. And caught fire being on charge. So again, wellbeing present and removing them after the being fully charged is, is a good safe practice. Um, but it's, it's a treat 'em with respect again, it, um, uh, they should be in a, um, a nice cool cl you know, car, uh, clean, environment dry, don't store 'em next to fuel loads. Um, again, keep 'em outta temperature so don't store 'em on the windowsill. Um, yeah, they should keep you safe and secure With lithium batteries. Allison let's move over to you. When they're cactus, they're cactus gone, finished, uh, you know, your, your charger will squeak and tell you no good end of life.
Um, are lithium batteries considered hazardous waste? What am I gonna do with it when I've, it's gone. Unfortunately, there's not currently anything that stops the average person from disposing of these batteries in their bin. And what happens then is those batteries end up in trucks, rubbish trucks, and inside most of those rubbish trucks is a compactor. You compact these batteries, they set fire, but they don't just set fire, they explode. So, imagine you're driving your truck down the road and suddenly your loads on fire, you've got fuel in your truck. It's, it's a scary place to be. So, We're talking about just the average battery that you might use for your lawn mower, your power tool, whatever that has that propensity Yes. To cause that kind of damage. Yep. Even the smaller batteries. Yep. The little batteries mm-hmm. In your kids' shoes, um, have the propensity to cause that kind of damage. But say they make it to the waste recycling facility; they then go through a whole lot of mechanical processing. Um, so they might make it into a landfill and then a day or a week or a month later, they might set fire in that landfill or maybe they set fire inside a building and burn an entire facility down. It's a scary place to be for the waste industry and we would love for there to be some reasons for the community to not dispose of these batteries and they've vin Well as a user, how do I then dispose of it correctly? Yeah. Um, there's currently a small number of battery stewardship programs and we're hoping to get those expanded in the coming years. Um, currently Bunnings and Aldi have collection programs, so you can take in any of your batteries to Bunnings or Aldi and they will be able to send them to a battery recycler and dispose of them safely for you. Alright, mark, let's call you in. And Allison, you might be able to, uh, jump in as well, but, um, what causes batteries and charges to actually catch fire? Yeah, thanks bomber. Look, um, I think we touched on it earlier around, um, being vigilant and being aware of the dangers. So, it should be noted that correct use of, uh, devices that are all powered by lithium ion batteries do not need to be dangerous. Typically, problems occur because people aren't aware of the dangers and they're not aware of the, um, uh, the ways to counteract those risks or mitigate the risks. We touched earlier on using the, uh, correct charger and I absolutely agree 100% with that. I think a second part to using the correct charger is that anecdotally over Christmas we saw, um, examples of this where children and teenagers were, um, given presents. They, um, they're on holidays, they're out with their mates, they're out with their friends going to other people's places. Um, sometimes the chargers are actually, um, somewhat universal. The charging ports, um, will accept a charger from another device. So those teenagers are sharing their chargers, um, quite often with the wrong device. And that's got the same result as having the incorrect charger that's come with the device. So really, really high risk. Um, I would also reiterate the, the fact that having oversight of what's happening, um, while you're charging. So, um, e scooters for example, that's probably, um been the biggest cause of, um, lithium ion type fires. Uh, the Queensland foreign emergency Services has seen, um, over the last couple of years. And, uh, teenagers riding scooters, um, they may cause damage to the battery jumping gutters, et cetera. So, it's that making sure you've got the right charger, making sure there's no damage to the battery or the device. And then ensuring when you do charge it, you charge in the right pre pray place with oversight. So an example would be don't come home at night. Um, some of these teenagers may have, uh, jobs and fast food outlets, et cetera. Mm-hmm. Come home later at night, tired, maybe in an apartment block, bring the scooter up inside, charge it in the second laundry, anywhere like that, no oversight towels, combustible materials around. Um, all of those factors are highly dangerous and need to be considered. And to that end, I guess I'd say to, um, the viewers out there, have a chat with your children and your teenagers. Make sure that they're aware of the dangers. Make that a family discussion at the right time so that not only do you understand the dangers, but you share that with your children and make sure that they are aware of it and then the risk is really minimised.
Mark, while I've got you on the mic, uh, what should people do if a fire does start, uh, in a lithium, uh, battery powered device or tool in their home or building? Are we prepared as, you know, citizens for what's ahead? Yeah, so I think the first thing to note here is that, um, personal, um, life is the absolute priority. So, if there is a fire starts, it's highly unlikely that a, a homeowner or someone in their own homes is going to be able to extinguish that fire. Bearing in mind that typical lithium ion batteries can go from, um, slightly overheated to a significant fire very, very quickly. There's two factors there as well. The device is actually going to, um, uh, overheat quickly touching the device is highly likely to cause severe burns. And a fire in those types of devices will often, um, uh, emit a toxic vapor. So clearly breathing in that vapor is once again extremely dangerous. So, QFS's recommendation is quite clear. If there is a fire starts alert everybody who's in the house or the unit or I the immediate vicinity immediately or evacuate immediately. And then once outside call triple zero and request the fire service to come straight away. That's really important. 'cause when the fires arrive, um, if everyone's outside and we can see that we'll go about extinguishing the fire,
which will minimise the damage and, uh, and prevent the spread If we arrive and we're unsure if people are out, or indeed we've got advice that people are in extinguishment won't be occurring, it'll be go in and attempt to rescue the people because that's a priority. So please evacuate, warn everyone, ring triple zero when you're outside and under no circumstances ever go back inside again. Well, before we get to that stage, mark, uh, can I go back to you, Carl? Uh, how can I tell if my battery or my device is, is damaged? And, and to that point, you know, how long do the, how long do batteries last? Like, is there a generic used by date, uh, for these things?
Thanks Bomber. Um, it could be simply that the product stops working. Um, you know, batteries will fail, and the good devices will just switch off inside and not be able to be used again. So, you might not be able to tell, but more often than not, um, you, you can see signs of bulging in the batteries. Um, there could be some minor swelling. The enclosure could distort a little bit. Um, there may be some signs of, um, overheating on the, the, um, enclosure, a bit of browning perhaps in spots. Um, there, there could be some, um, uh, smells as well, you know, can just get that electric electronic smell of overheating. Um, it could get unusually hot during heating, uh, charging or, or use. Um, you know, these devices will produce a little bit of heat when they're being used and, and, and normally charging, but just if they're, you know, too hot to touch it, it might be a sign. Uh, generally the batteries don't leak. Uh, like, like the old ni CADs used to leak a little bit. These don't generally leak in the same way, but they could start corroding is, which is another way to go. Mm-hmm. Um, but if you, yeah, if you start hearing the, the pops and cracks, uh, particularly as Mark said about, you know, the e scooters, you know, we saw one, um, someone's dash cam and uh, heard a crack and a pop, and it wasn't too long after that that that actually caught fire. So, so that's the, the worst part. That's when it can go do that thermal runaway and need to call, uh, Mark's Associates. I have some homework for you three or a question without notice. So, if you two can think about this, Carl, you've got one more question to answer. Um I want you to give us one safety tip from your perspective about lithium batteries just as we to wind up. But firstly, Carl, I've been contacted by the company that installed my LG chem home battery storage system, and they said there was a recall. What's that all mean? Uh, LG Chem was the former name, um, of, of the company now, LG Energy Storage. Um, there's been a number of phases of their recall. Um, uh, the initial recall, um, was a number of years ago, and since the recall range has expanded, so, um, we are asking people if they've been contacted, even if they, they have gone on once and checked their serial numbers on, on LGs Yes' website, go and do it again, please. Um, we realize it's a little bit difficult sometimes to actually find the serial numbers on some of the, the batteries, um, but perhaps get help from someone. Um, but check it and check it again. And if you're contacted again in another month's time, just please continue to check it. Um, the, the, the recall reign has changed. So, it, it's, it, it, you may not be duplicated. We need people to recheck again. The batteries are also being used in other types of systems, which is another little change in the battery recall. So, um, yeah, go into the ACCCs product safety re recall website. Um, read the material there. It's got some of the brands and more detail on how to identify the correct model. Okay, Let's wrap up this, uh, part of the panel and you guys will be back for the last part where I can see we've got lots of questions from our viewers online. Um, Carl, your one safety tip that, uh, everybody must remember from today's session.
Alison, you'll have one and Mark, you'll have one. I'd say check, inspect your device before every use. Um, it seems bit formal, but just pick it up and have a look at it and if something looks wrong, you Know, it's probably wrong. Yeah. Presume that Allison. Yep. I think you know what mine's gonna be. Please, please don't put them in the bin. Um, my key takeaway is do not put these batteries in your bins in your recycling bins. Take them to a battery stewardship program and recycle them. Please.
Sound advice. And Mark, you've got the, you bring us home. I would say embrace and enjoy the benefits that the lithium ion batteries can provide, but at the same time, make sure that you're aware of the risks and don't ever take any risks if in doubt, don't charge or use your device.
Great advice from, uh, our three panel members. Uh, they're gonna stay seated, uh, and they'll be joined by a couple of others. Uh, you can continue to, uh, pop in your questions into, uh, the chat box. Uh, please and our team are, are taking care of those. Um, time now, uh, for another safety tip and, uh, let's cross the mark who's going to explain the important steps to follow to ensure you are safe in your ceiling space.
Ceiling insulation or debris can be disrupted while you're working up there and that will affect electrical equipment at a later date, and it may cause a fire. So, what else do we need to know when we're going up there? How about using torches, cordless power tools? And that avoids the need for using main's power when you're up in the ceiling space. However, if power is required to complete the task, turn off all the circuits except for the required circuit that you need. Make sure that that circuit is protected by a safety switch. And test the safety switch before you enter the ceiling. Remember, in a ceiling space, even with the electrical supply isolated, there will always be live cables up there. So you must treat all the cables as live.
Again, some fantastic advice from Mark and the team at the ESO and, uh, we appreciate, uh, their input as we do your input, uh, from today. Um, thanks for asking all your questions throughout today's, uh, presentations. Uh, if you do have questions of any of our speakers, uh, please ask them through the chat box. Of course, uh, you can continue to do those. Remember Donna gave you some homework at the beginning of the day. Uh, she wanted your key take home for today. And if we can get to, uh, some of those that'd be fantastic. Something that has really resonated with you from today' presentation. 'cause, uh, we've covered a lot of topics, uh, in general discussion about, uh, electrical safety. And we'd like to hear what really has resonated, uh, with you. Um, we'd like to go to, uh, the full panel now, and I can see they're all assembled here. Uh, welcome.
Welcoming, welcoming back. Brian and Peter. Thanks for re-joining us. Um, Brian, I'm gonna start off with you. Um, what are some of, uh, the common safety issues or risks associated with household electrical appliances that consumers should be aware of and what steps can they take to mitigate these risks? Uh, you know, um, just general safety tips around those things. Bright. Um, yeah, thanks for that. That's what, how long have I got? I'll take another Hour to answer that one please. We want nice short, sharp, succinct answers. So, All electrical equipment, good, misuse bad. So, follow manufacturer's instructions whenever you get an appliance. Don't throw the manual away or put it in a drawer, have a read through it. There are safety instructions. So, follow those. And as Kyle mentioned with the lithium battery products, check them out before you use 'em. Look for discoloration or damage to the appliance. Um, yeah, and don't go on YouTube and watch how people do things wrong. Get a licensed electrician out to fix anything that's broken. Yeah, absolutely. Uh, a question, uh, that's come via, uh, our chat room and of course, uh, uh, this is for Peter. Sandra asks, who, uh, would be the best person to come out and clean solar panels?
Look, Sandra, that's a great question. Um, my, my take on that is anyone can clean solar panels, but if you've got someone getting up on your roof and two clean panels, you may as well have them electrically inspect and make sure everything's safe as well. So, I'd be leaning towards getting your original installer or a master electrician out to be able to facilitate that service. Some of them though, Pete, as a follow up question, I know I've had a discussion with you, uh, o off air about this, is that they're all to have, you know, great, put the system up on your roof and it's all rigid dig, and then they all run away and or some of them even go bust. Um, what do I do then?
Yeah, look, there's a lot of solar orphans out there and they're customers where the original installers gone broke and there's no one there to look after 'em. Um, you'll find these days though, there's lots of local contractors starting to specialize in renewables 'cause it's so saturated throughout the states. Um, and we are one of those companies. So, you'll definitely be able to find a good c e c accredited installer that will be able to help you or a master electrician.
Gonna give a shout out, uh, to those online with their takeaway tips. Thank you. And you listen, uh, to Donna obviously, 'cause she wanted, uh, to engage and make sure you got something out of it specifically. Uh, thanks Christine for recommending always getting your solar panels checked and cleaned regularly. Very good advice, Pete. That's the bottom line, isn't it really? Yeah. And then, uh, also, uh, Alicia, uh always test safety switches. It's all good and well having 'em in there, but quite often we forget, Brian, don't we to actually test them on a regular basis?
Yes, exactly. It's an excellent tip. Find yourself a way to remind yourself to do it, whether it's the change of the season, so four times a year at least you're doing it. Uh, the first of every month is another way to do it. Um, when you get your electricity bill go, oh, I'll test my safety switch. But just a slight tip to make sure when you do that, you tell the people in the home because you will turn the power off when you test it. So don't wanna do that during mealtime and, and ruin dinner or stop this webinar from being watched. Yes, they wouldn't see us. Another question James asks, can any electrician, uh, work on solar or do you need to be a particularly trained skilled electrician, uh, to do that work? James, a good question. Again. Um, the industry's seen, uh, a real growth in in solar maintenance, so you will find electricians that do specialise in it. I do suggest getting someone with experience, so a general electrician may not be fully across solar, uh, and not understand DC and where to look for the faults. So you're better off having someone with years of industry experience. Yeah.
Sound advice. Um, this is a good question too. How do we make sure we are using licensed electricians? Uh, Donna touched on the fact that, you know, we're coming down hard as the ESO on unlicensed work, but how do we as a consumer know that Fred I rigi dig?
Yep. Thanks for that Bomber. That's a really good one and it's part of the information we do want to get out to people, so thanks for asking that. So, the electrician and the contractor will have a card, but we also have on our website, so that electrical safety.qld.gov au website. Great site for lots of information. You can go on there and you can actually check for a licensed electrician, it's one of the banner parts that goes across the top of the screen. Click on that, click through that process. You can put in the, are contract are currently licensed. And if there's been any disciplinary action or suspensions, it'll show up as well.
Jenny wants to know if she has electric equipment that doesn't have the RCM on it, um, how should she, uh, safely dispose of it? Um, and, and I'm I'm gonna go a little bit further, Jenny, if you don't mind me stretching that question out. If I've got a favourite appliance that is working okay at the moment, but it doesn't have the RCM on it, should I get that checked? Uh, particularly if it's starting to age?
Uh, good question. Yeah, so the RCM is relatively new over the last seven or so years, been introduced through, so older appliances may not have the RCM on it. They may have some other sort of, uh, certification marking on it. So obviously if you've got a, a well-known brand name product, um, that you've had for many years, it's likely that that's okay. Obviously you monitor it and watch it. Um, if it looks like it's smelling or smells like it's smelling, looks like it's broken or, or discolouring, then definitely get it to an appliance repair centre to check or get a licensed electrical contractor out to look at it. But the older equipment is generally okay, even if it doesn't have the RCM on it, but as equipment ages, you need to be careful with it. Yep. And From a disposal perspective, Um, there's some local councils that have fantastic e-waste recycling schemes, um, that are being provided at your local tips. So ideally take them in there specifically. Also wanna distinguish between electric equipment and equipment with button batteries and lithium ion batteries in it. Sometimes there, there's both of those things in equipment. Mm-hmm. And sometimes there's only one of those things. So, you know, with those button batteries, there is currently no safe way to dispose of them other than those stewardship schemes. Um, and there's a very small number of those currently. We're hoping to change that in the very near future.
Allison, you might be on this one, uh, as well. Neil would like to know how do you dispose of an electric scooter if the lithium batteries can't be removed and are built into the equipment. It might be any kind of equipment that has them built in. And there's a number of those things. Now
This is a really tricky one because there is currently no safe method, clear method, clear pathway for recycling and disposing of those things. So, there's a lot of expertise within your local, um, waste management and recycling facilities, E-waste recycling. They can help you pull those products apart, but they need to know that those products are in the bin and just throwing it in the bin along with a whole lot of other waste is not going to let them know that the product is there and needs to be pulled apart before it's disposed of. So please, please take them to your stewardship schemes, take them into Bunnings and Aldi and hopefully we'll have a broader option for better recycling of batteries soon.
Mark, um, let's pop over to you and, and what are the risks associated with overcharging and undercharging, uh, lithium batteries? That was a question that was asked.
Yeah, so I think, um, the issue with the overcharging is that if you do have the correct charger, they should have a correct battery management system in 'em. And indeed, the charger will actually, um, cut itself down when it's fully charged. The problem goes back to, as we've discussed, incorrect charger, no battery management system within the battery itself. No charger or the charger is not going to, um, cut properly. So, you run the risk that you are putting a, the wrong charge into the battery in the first instance, and, it will continue to charge once it's fully charged and that's gonna create overheating and potentially, um, pretty considerable problems.
Another one for you, uh, Claudia wants to take advantage of having, uh, someone from emergency services here and she's going, are we required to have a fire extinguisher at home? I mean, to me it makes sense that we, we should have one, but I Is it compulsory?
So, to answer the question, simply no, there's no legislative responsibility for a domestic house or unit to have a fire extinguisher, but QFES would strongly, uh, recommend that people consider that. However, the point to consider is that make sure you have the right type of extinguisher for the sort of fire you might be dealing with. So, for example, you wouldn't have a water fire extinguisher in the kitchen area that would be more suited to a dry chemical type one. So, there's plenty of information on the QFES website around that if, uh, people wanna look further.
Thanks, Mark. Um, here's a question. When a licensed electrician does work, should we get a certificate or some form of paperwork for the work that he or she has actually performed?
I was gonna get Carl to answer that one, but he's left it with me. Yeah. Yes. So, so the electrical contractor will give the person they've performed the work for a certificate of test. So that may be a statement on the invoice, or it may be a specific piece of paper, so it can take many forms, but they will give you some form of documentation that says, we have performed this work safely and certify that it's safe. But it said, check your invoice that may be written on there.
And Brian, you can bring us home because I can see this one's directed at you. Um, how has the landscape of electrical equipment safety changed with the introduction of new technologies and smart appliances? Are there specific challenges or considerations in ensuring the safety of these modern devices? Everything now basically you can, you can charge using charges, you know, it, it, we have become such a, uh, uh, a mobile society.
Uh, yes. And again, another hour of discussion. Thank you. Um, maybe we'll do another session completely on that. Do a session. Yeah. So yeah, so the changing technology of electricity over my lifetime has been immense. I'll show how old I am. The worldwide web didn't exist when I started working. Um, I know a lot of people can't believe that I'm only 27. Um, but equipment's changed. That used to be two 40 volt power tools or two 40 volt appliances that are plugged in. A lot of appliances now are battery operated and we talked about lithium batteries and other types of batteries. We're moving into induction type processes. So, your phone charges through an induction process. A lot of kitchen appliances and other appliances will start to do that as well. We have more battery operated appliances, more high powered battery devices occurring. So, the big challenge with that is for regulators, um, to keep up with the changes, to keep safety standards, the Australian safety standards up to date with the changes and to identify problems and get fixes in the standards. And then work with the manufacturers and importers to ensure the product is modified and built to the latest standards. So, I guess that's part of the thing is it's a continuous evolving things. And whilst bombing, you've got that old piece of electrical equipment that is your favourite that you want to keep and it doesn't have the RCM on it, that's fine, but newer equipment does have better safety features to them. Older equipment. It is what it is. You just need to be careful with it when you're using it. But always consider that the newer equipment will have more safety features, a lot of electronics in them. Now they self-test a lot of things too, but the safety standards have been increased so that we do improve the safety of the equipment. You buy Time for me to update? Yes.
Thanks Brian. Thank you. Uh, on that note, um, I'd like to thank the, uh, the panel for joining us. Uh, some great advice. Um, Mark, Allison, Carl, Peter, and Brian. Thank you very much. Uh, it's been a wealth of knowledge and I've really appreciated, uh, your input, uh, and to you at home who've taken time out to, uh, take part in today's webinar. Thank you very much, uh, for your support. Uh, today's webinar was recorded and will be available to watch and share with your friends or colleagues at electricalsafety.qld.gov au. Uh, where you'll also find other resources and information on electrical safety shortly, we'll email you a feedback survey and we really value your feedback. Uh, so if you could spare five minutes to complete it, it would help us improve future events and tailor those to what you specifically would like to hear. Uh, before we say farewell, a reminder that this Electrical Safety Week, I encourage you to, whether you are a homeowner or a tradie, there is one simple thing you can do to make it safer before you go into the ceiling space. To turn off all the main power switches at the switchboard, don't do your own electrical work. Always use a licensed electrician. Always check for the regulatory compliance mark and protect your little ones from electrical danger. Visit the website to learn more and share the lifesaving electrical safety messages from the Wiggles with your little ones in your life, particularly the song Electricity. And as we sign off, uh, Electrical Safety Week 2023. I'm Chris Bombolas. On behalf of the team, WorkSafe home safe.