Fixed RCD testing… Why is it important?

At every workplace there is at least one Electrical switch board that is built to divide the power and lighting into manageable circuits feeding, lights, equipment and power points for us to use. Though we may not have an understanding electricity, it is important that you know about the little understood device called the RCD (residual current Device) or sometimes referred to as the Safety Switch that will find amongst the breakers and or fuses in this panel.

An RCD is an electromechanical device,that detects any shunting of electrical power to earth thereby shutting the circuit down in mere milli-seconds, in doing so avoiding electrocution to personnel and possible fire hazards.

Being and Electromechanical device ,it can like any other similar device be prone to failure. As part of a regular testing check, it needs to have a push button test which basically is a test every 6 months to check out the mechanical workings of the RCD of which any body can do. If there are breakers on your Panel that are RCD’s.. the give away is a breaker with a button for testing also on the breaker are the words 30ma RCD… these are the devices that need to be tested monthly by push button. Picture below

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But this is a bit like push button testing a battery smoke alarm it only test the resultant action it doesn’t test the actual detection part of the device.

So periodically you need to have your fixed Main switchboard panel RCD’s tested with a calibrated RCD tester, and if it responds with a shutdown time lag of less than 299 mill-seconds… typical times for most RCD’s are usually are 5-50 milliseconds… here is a table below which will help

TYPE OF ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH EQUIPMENT IS USED
Residual Current Devices (RCDs)
PUSH BUTTON TEST BY USER TEST FOR OPERATING TIME RCD TESTER
FACTORIES, WORKSHOPS, PLACES OF REPAIR, MANUFACTURING,

ASSEMBLY, MAINTENANCE OR FABRICATION.

6 MONTHS 12 MONTHS
LABORATORIES, TEA ROOMS, OFFICE KITCHENS 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
OFFICE EQUIPMENT WHERE EQUIPMENT OR SUPPLY FLEXIBLE CORD IS SUBJECT TO FLEXING ON NORMAL USE OR IS OPEN TO ABUSE OR IS IN A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
OFFICE EQUIPMENT WHERE EQUIPMENT IS NOT SUBJECT TO CONSTANT FLEXING OF THE SUPPLY CORD 6 MONTHS 2 YEARS
NEW EQUIPMENT AND REPAIRED/SERVICED EQUIPMENT PRIOR TO INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO USE, AND AFTER SERVICING PRIOR TO INITIAL INTRODUCTION TO USE, AND AFTER SERVICING

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Tested & True ~ test & tag  Lonsdale We know how to test all types of test sensitive electrical equipment like that of a RCDs and Surge Protected devices…We specifically use the STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and up to date. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Article By Peter Hill… Tested & True ~ test & tag, Lonsdale, South Australia, Contact 0407605568 May 2016 www.testedandtrue.com.au

Who is a competent Person to do Electrical Test & Tag?

 

Competency requirements for those carrying out inspection and testing of electrical equipment

Inspection and testing of electrical equipment must be carried out by a person who has acquired, through training, qualification or experience, the knowledge and skills to carry out the task (i.e. be a ‘competent person’). Inspection and testing of electrical equipment must be carried out by a competent person who has the relevant knowledge, skills and test instruments to carry out the relevant inspection and testing. The person carrying out any testing of electrical equipment should also be competent to interpret the test results of any equipment they use. For example, a person carrying out testing under AS/NZS 3760:2010 must be:

  • a licensed or registered electrician (whichever applies), or
  • in some jurisdictions, a licensed electrical inspector, or
  • a person who has successfully completed a structured training course and been deemed competent in the use of a pass-fail type portable appliance tester and the visual inspection of electrical equipment.

The training should be designed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that on completion successful participants:

  • can use the relevant test equipment safely and effectively
  • understand electrical risks and appreciate the role that inspection and testing plays in ensuring electrical safety
  • understand AS/NZS 3760:2010 and AS/NZS 3012:2010 (if testing equipment for construction or demolition sites)
  • understand the legal requirements relevant to the work.

Some kinds of electrical testing must only be carried out by a licensed electrician or electrical inspector under local electrical safety laws. For example, testing requiring the dismantling of electrical equipment should only be carried out by a licensed electrician.

Additional or different competencies may be required for more complex kinds of testing outside the scope of AS/NZS 3760:2010.

If in doubt, advice should be obtained from a person qualified and experienced in electrical equipment testing, for example an electrician, electrical contractor, electrical inspector, specialist testing provider or relevant regulator.

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Tested & True ~ test & tag  Lonsdale We know how to test sensitive electrical equipment like that of a Surge Power Board and other Surge protected equipment…We specifically use the STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and up to date. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Article By Peter Hill… Tested & True ~ test & tag, Lonsdale, South Australia, Contact 0407605568 February 2016 www.testedandtrue.com.au

Electrical fires & Fire Extinguishers

Electrical fires and Fire Extinguishers

But First a bit about Portable Fire Extinguishers…Basically Fire extinguishers are devices that release chemicals and/or water to put out a fire. They keep small fires from spreading, assist in fighting fires but are only first to the incident appliances until the fire department arrives. Fire extinguishers and on site Fire hoses are designed to provide the user with an appliance to attend a small fire during its initial stage. When deciding to attack a fire, always designate another person to raise the alarm and obtain a back-up fire extinguisher. Portable fire extinguishers should be provided in all buildings.

Types of fire extinguishers and their application

There are basically 5  types of portable fire extinguishers used here  in Australia. They are Water, Foam, Dry Powder, Wet Chemical and Carbon Dioxide. Each type of extinguisher may be rated for one or more classes of fire. In some cases, particular extinguishers are not only considered ineffective against certain classes of fire, they can be dangerous in those circumstances. The Classes of fire are:

CLASS A Paper, Wood, Cardboard

CLASS B Solvents, Paint, Petroleum, Ethanol/methanol

CLASS E Electrical fires(this is the one we are going to concentrate on in this article)

CLASS F Cooking oils and fats

OPERATION

To use the extinguisher, you pull out the safety pin (this metal safety pin prevents the operating lever from closing accidentally) and depress the operating lever. The lever pushes on an actuating rod, which presses the spring-mounted valve down to open up the passage to the nozzle. The bottom of the actuating rod has a sharp point, which pierces the gas cylinder release valve. The proper way to use the extinguisher is to aim it directly at the fuel, rather than the flames themselves, and move the stream with a sweeping motion.

Using an extiguisher

Of the 5 extinguishers types 2 are suitable for Electrical fires they Dry Powder and Carbon Dioxide

Dry Powder

ABE powder consists of mono ammonium phosphate and/or ammonium phosphate. It is effective on Class A: B & E Fires .As well as suppressing the flame in the air, it also melts at a low temperature to form a layer of slag which excludes oxygen from the fuel. For this reason it is effective against class A fires unlike a Rating B:E only extinguisher. ABE powder is the best agent for fires involving multiple classes.

Carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide is especially effective on electrical fires, Class E Fires, as being a gas; it does not leave any residues which might further harm the damaged equipment. Carbon dioxide (CO2) also works on Classes B and C Fires by displacing the less dense oxygen. This can be problematic in enclosed occupied spaces as we need oxygen too! Although carbon dioxide is exhaled in our own breath, in the high concentrations required to extinguish deep seated fires it is one of the most toxic extinguishing agents used. (Carbon dioxide can also be used on Class A Fires when it is important to avoid water damage, but in this application the gas concentration must usually be maintained longer than is possible with a hand-held extinguisher.)

So as you can see Both of these extinguisher are suitable for Electrical fires but it depends on whether your fighting a fire in a confined space which would make using the Carbon Dioxide Extinguisher out of the question!

Tested & True ~ test & tag  Lonsdale also does fire Extinguisher and smoke Alarm testing to National Standards.. Also we Test and Tag electrical items and we use the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Article By Peter Hill… Tested & True ~ test & tag, Lonsdale, South Australia, Contact 0407605568 www.testedandtrue.com.au

 

Home Fire Safety Electrical

In Australia hundreds of fires are caused by potential electrical hazards found in the home apart from fitting a smoke alarm would it not be best that you can reduce these hazards in the first place!

  • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, make sure your home has tamper-resistant (TR) receptacles.
  • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
  • Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.
  • Make sure your home has a Safety Switch or Separate RCD breakers for power outlets especially in the kitchen bathroom(s), laundry, basement, and outdoor areas.

We can check your Electrical safety and test your fire Alarms and safety Switches

Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform static testing class 1,2 & M RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection, 3 phase run testing and logs results as you test. all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at www.testedandtrue.com.au

or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/ … September 2015

Your Electrical SwitchBoard your backup defence for Electrical Safety

Fuses,Circuit Breakers and Safety Switches

These devices are found in your Switch board understanding these devices and how to use and maintain them will help  your management and understanding of Electrical Safety in the Workplace.

Primary Overload response devices (Fuses & Circuit Breakers)

Fuses and circuit breakers are built to fail in conditions of excess current which can overload the electrical wires in your home. These overloads are often caused by faulty appliances. When an overload occurs, the fuse melts before the wires can overheat, which reduces the risk of fire. Circuit breakers will often trip quicker and more importantly they can be reset to help diagnose and remove faults

  1. Always replace a blown fuse with the correct fuse wire. Never use fuse wire that is heavier than the recommended gauge.
  2. Never use any other type metal or wire.
  3. If fuses keeps blowing, or a circuit breaker keeps tripping, check that your appliances are not faulty.
  4. If fuses continue to blow, or circuit breakers continue to trip after appliances are unplugged, there could be a problem with your wiring. Contact a licensed electrician immediately.

Safety switches and RCD devices

Safety switches or RCD device look similar to circuit breakers and will have a test button to provide a test for the correct earth tripping of the device. The purpose is to they provide extra protection from electric shock. Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity and if any irregularity is detected, the electricity supply is immediately cut off.
Homes with children or backyard workshops should consider installing safety switches to reduce the risk of electrical accidents. It is imperative that commercial premises have them installed and tested regularly.. New homes and Commercial premises are required to have safety switches installed. Licensed electrical contractors can install safety switches in older homes at a reasonable cost. You can also purchase portable safety switches for appliances and extension cords. Useful particularly when using power tools outside ie Electric Lawnmowers, Hedge trimmers, Drills, circular Saws etc  and these portable RCD should also be tested on a regular Basis!

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Of course the best way is to ensure that your appliances are not hazardous in the first place. Tested & True ~ test & tag comes to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommendations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568..

Note: We also do emergency and preventative maintenance of Switchboards and Mains Wiring

Tested & True ~ test & tag  Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform static testing class 1,2 & M RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection, 3 phase run testing and logs results as you test. all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australian Standards ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price.

Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at

www.testedandtrue.com.au

or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide September 2015

Electrical Risk in the Workplace

Electrocution incidents can be fatal, since the year 2000 25-30 people die from Electrocution in Australia (http://www.erac.gov.au/ ) 90 percent of these deaths involve non Electrical workers! Many more are seriously injured while non-fatal shocks can result in serious and permanent burn injuries to skin, internal tissues and damage to the heart depending on the length and severity of the shock.

Electric shocks from faulty electrical equipment may also lead to related injuries, including falls from ladders, scaffolding or other elevated work platforms. Other injuries or illnesses may include muscle spasms, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, collapse and unconsciousness. Those working with electricity may not be the only ones at risk. Poor electrical installation and faulty electrical appliances can lead to electric shock to others at or near the workplace.

How can I avoid electrical hazards?

Dependant on the context and conditions, but may include for example:
  • Ensure only appropriately licensed or registered electricians carry out electrical work
  • Switch off electricity where possible before working on equipment
  • Ensure electrical equipment is in good working order (testing and tagging)
  • Use battery operated tools rather than mains power tools where possible
  • Remove damaged, unsafe electrical equipment or cords from the workplace
  • Ensure tag out and isolation procedures are in place and used
  • Use residual current devices (or safety switches) with portable equipment (as per the WHS Regulations)
  • Don’t overload power sockets. Use power boards not double adaptors
  • Meet electrical safety standards

The best way is to meet electrical safety standards is to have your appliances tested and tagged…

At Tested and True …We test Safety Switches as well as other electrical testing services. We come to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommedations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 0407605568 Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australiand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price. Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at http://www.testedandtrue.com.au  or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide August 2015

My Safety Switch keeps tripping… What do I do next?

Electrical Safety Switch Tripping possibilities

Electrical Safety Switches  are RCDs ( Residual Current Devices)  that remove the supply to an electrical circuit when the circuit under protection has detected a leakage to earth. The RCD/Safety Switch responds in mere mili -seconds; avoiding an unsafe condition and thereby potentially preventing electrocution or Fire hazard.

Possible Causes Of Safety Switch/RCD Tripping

Faulty appliance – unplug all electrical appliances, does the RCD reset OK? If the RCD resets OK plug the appliances back in one at a time. Reset the RCD as you plug each appliance back in to find the faulty appliance.

Items with motors or pumps starting – many items with motors or pumps, for instance showers and pond pumps, cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs. Seek advice from a qualified electrician.

Older washing machines – aging washing machine heating elements can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain wash cycle phases – some cycles of the washing machine, for instance the spin cycle, can cause momentary electrical spikes that are big enough to trip RCDs.

Certain dishwasher cycles – some parts of the dishwasher cycle draw a lot of current, a faulty component, for instance the motor, can trip an RCD.

Overloading a washing machine – too many items in a washing machine can cause certain wash cycles, for instance the spin cycle, to trip an RCD.

Fridges and freezers cooling – the fridge or freezer cooling motor starting.

Turning an heating element on after a long time of being off – moisture in heating elements can trip an RCD, for instance in a sun bed or electric fire. Try resetting the RCD a few times so that the heating element can cause the moisture to evaporate.

Moisture in outside electrical distribution boxes – remove the supply and dry the distribution box. Check the weather seals have not perished.

Moisture in outside electrical sockets – remove the supply and dry the electrical socket. Check the weather seals have not perished.

De-frost timer on a fridge or freezer – a faulty defrost element on a fridge or freezer can cause ‘nuisance’ RCD tripping.

Water heating elements – faulty water heating elements can cause nuisance RCD trips when thethermostat tells them to heat the water.

Moisture in wiring – moisture in the electrical wiring is a common cause of RCD trips. Have you just emptied a bath? Taken a shower? Is it raining – rain can get into the electrical wiring under the floors or in the loft.

As you may have found this list contains certain  conditions that may give clue to an RCD tripping. In most cases this concerns appliances or situations that involve at least one or a combination of  three conditions 1) Moisture leaking electricity to earth in the appliance or premises wiring. 2) A heating element that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges. 3) An appliance with an electric motor that is either faulty or drawing sudden electrical surges.

If you have trouble sourcing constant or intermittent RCD/Safety Switch Tripping then Contact us and we can send a Qualified Electrician around to check it they can source and fix it on the spot.

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At Tested and True …We test Safety Switches as well as other electrical testing services. We come to your work place at a time convenient to you. We can do an assessment of your Electrical Hazards it can be conducted at the same time as we test and tag your Electrical Equipment. We provide a Full Report with recommedations to clear up current Hazards and how to prevent future risks. Call and ask for a quote. 040 7605568 Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide uses the very latest in Portable Appliance Testing…The STC ProLogger 2 it can perform RCD testing, Earth Leakage Detection and Run Testing all in one neat piece of equipment. On top this all our Technicians are Trained to National Standard UEENEEP008 in test & tag operations by Intertag in Sydney NSW, all our Equipment is in good repair and in Calibration. Most of all we pride ourselves on our Knowledge of OH&S legislation and the current Australiand Standard AS/NZS 3760:2010 ensuring that you get Quality Service at a competitive price. Call Now Mobile 040 7605568

Visit us at http://www.testedandtrue.com.au or our Newsletter http://testedtruenewsletter.blogspot.com/

Peter Hill Manager , Tested & True ~ test & tag Adelaide February 2015