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Testing and maintaining tools and equipment

Everyone likely to be affected by electrical work must be kept safe with tools, testing equipment and personal protective equipment inspected and tested regularly.

A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) who carries out electrical work must ensure the electrical safety of all persons and property likely to be affected by the electrical work.

A PCBU must have procedures in place to ensure that tools, testing equipment and personal protective equipment are regularly inspected and tested.

This requirement ensures that workers carrying out the work are electrically safe and that the work, when completed, is electrically safe.

Visual inspection

All tools, testing equipment and PPE should be visually inspected before each use for signs of damage.

PCBUs should have 'pre-start' visual inspection procedures in place to ensure that equipment such as, tools, PPE, rubber mats and LV rescue kits are in good working order before use.

Testing equipment should be checked for damage to insulated leads and probes and needs to be confirmed as working before use.

Testing of equipment

Testing equipment should be tested regularly to ensure it provides the level of protection required. Testing intervals will depend on several factors including:

  • the frequency of use
  • the environment in which it is being
  • manufacturer's advice.

For example, a multimeter used in a workshop environment may be subject to less damage that a multimeter carried in the back of a work van.

In absence of manufacturer's advice PCBUs should refer to a competent person with the knowledge and skills required for testing the particular type of equipment.

Items that have been misused or damaged should not be used until they have been re-retested and confirmed as functioning correctly.

Test equipment used for measurements such as earth continuity and insulation resistance should be regularly tested to confirm they are working correctly.

Some equipment such as multimeters may be able to be tested in-house, by using a calibrated resistor test block. Other equipment such as fault loop impedance testers or RCD testers may require specialist testing.

Further information on tools and equipment can be found in Part 8 of the Managing electrical risks in the workplace code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.25 MB).

More information

Read our latest eSafe Electrical newsletter article on this topic.