The Community expects the electrical appliances they use to be safe. This fact sheet summarises electrical safety laws for importing, selling or hiring out electrical appliances and equipment in Western Australia. It does not cover other appliance requirements such as electromagnetic interference limits and energy efficiency ratings.
Exposure to the risks of electricity is greatest at the point where it does its job - at electrical appliances and the cords connecting them to the power supply. For this reason, the Electricity Act 1945 prohibits the sale of household electrical appliances unless approved by an Australian regulatory authority. Part X of the Electricity Regulations 1947 deals with the safety of electrical appliances.
The Director of Energy Safety is the person responsible for administering the Electricity Act 1945 and associated regulations, including those relating to the safety of electrical appliances.
Prescribed electrical appliances - typically household electrical appliances
The Electricity Act 1945 provides for the Director of Energy Safety to prescribe the appliance classes and types that must be approved by the Director, an interstate regulatory authority or a designated agency before they can be sold, hired or advertised for sale or hire, or imported into Western Australia. These appliances must go through a certification process which ensures a safe design before they can enter the Australian or New Zealand markets.
A "Certificate of Conformity" is issued if the person intending to sell an appliance satisfactorily demonstrates that he or she has accepted the responsibility of ensuring the appliance is safe for use. The most common way of doing this is by the person showing that the appliance complies with relevant technical specifications and tests for electrical safety as set out in Australian and New Zealand published Standards. The responsibility to obtain approval rests with the seller or hirer of the appliances.
Regulatory authority certification in any one State or Territory is recognised by all other States and Territories. Building and Energy does not issue Certificates of Conformity but recognises certificates issued by other State and Territory regulators and certification agencies.
Regulators and certification agencies
Building and Energyrecommends contacting one of the following regulators or designated certification agencies for enquiries about the certification process:
The appliances prescribed by the Director of Energy Safety are those listed as "Level 3" in Appendix B Table B.4 of AS/NZS 4417.2:2012 ‘Regulatory compliance mark for electrical and electronic equipment Part 2: Specific requirements for particular regulatory applications’.
Level 3 is classified as potentially high risk equipment, and must meet the following requirements:
be linked to a registered Responsible Supplier;
be registered on the National Database;
have a valid Certificate of Conformity (Certificate) from a recognised certifier; and
be marked with the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
The list below is an extract from Table B.4 of AS/NZS 4417.2:2012. It shows some of the appliances which are considered as Level 3 and are prescribed by the Director:
Air conditioner incorporating flammable refrigerant
Building Wiring Cable
Circuit Breakers, Miniature Over-Current
Cord Extension Sockets
Cords (Supply Flexible Cords)
Decorative Lighting Outfit
Double capped light emitting semiconductor lamp
Electric Fence Controllers
Fluorescent Lamp Ballasts
Fluorescent Lamp Starters
Food Preparation Machines, including: Blenders, Juice Separators, Can Openers, Knives, Cheese Graters, Liquidisers, Coffee Grinders, Mincers, Coffee Makers, Mixers, Food Processors, Pasta Machines, Fruit Presses, Shredders, Ice Shavers, Slicers, Juice Extractors, Grillers
Hair Care Appliances, including: Brushes, Combs, Curling Irons, Clippers
Hand Held Portable Tools, including: Cutters, Polishers/Scrubbers, Drills, Routers, Grinders, Sanders
Liquid Heating Appliances, including: Bottle Warmers, Kettles, Deep Fryers
Massagers - Portable
Outlet Devices - Portable
Plugs and Plug Sockets
Ranges - Fixed, including: Cooking Hobs, Ovens
Ranges – Portable and Cooking Appliances
Residual Current Devices (Safety Switches)
Refrigerators and Freezers
Switches - Wall
Switches - Cordline/lnline
Switching, Control and Conditioning Devices - Portable
Swimming Pool and Spa Pumps and Equipment
Transformers, Extra-Low Voltage, including: Battery Chargers, Battery Savers and Power Supply Units
Water Heaters (Unvented Storage Type)
Welders (Arc Welding Machines)
Please refer to the Standard for a full list of level 3 prescribed appliances and definitions of the different types of appliances.
Prescribed appliances must be approved before they are offered for sale. They must be marked with either the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) or the Approval Number. The conditions for use of the RCM are set out in AS/NZS 4417. Approval numbers are issued by a State or Territory electrical safety regulator when satisfied that a product complies with the electrical safety regulations. The RCM must conform to the design below:
Typical approval numbers are:
NSW<number> *after 24 Feb 2005
N<number> *before 24 Feb 2005
SAI TE EA<number>
SAI SMK EA<number>
How to check validity of Approval Certificates?
The Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council has created a central portal for identifying all certificates of electrical equipment issued under electrical safety laws in Australia. This database includes certificates issued by all jurisdictions in Australia except NSW.
Anybody who sells or hires electrical appliances or equipment which is not a prescribed appliance is responsible under common law for ensuring the appliances are safe for connection to the electricity supply. They are classified as either Level 1 or Level 2 equipment in Table B.4 of AS/NZS 4417.2:2012.
Safety assurance may be achieved by obtaining from an independent testing laboratory, a test report confirming compliance with the relevant Australian/New Zealand Standards for electrical safety. This report can be provided, if requested, to a prospective buyer, to demonstrate compliance.
Alternatively, designated certification agencies can grant a voluntary certification for equipment that is not prescribed. This can be used to show the equipment meets legislative requirements.
Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS)
Electrical equipment safety laws are changing. New laws were introduced in Queensland on 1 March 2013. Similar changes will be implemented in other States and Territories from 2015 onwards. Western Australia will, in the future, enact legislation to recognise the National Electrical Equipment Database.
Under the new laws, non-prescribed electrical equipment will also be required to meet certain criteria. All low voltage electrical equipment (rated between 50Vac to 1000Vac) and designed or marketed as suitable for household, personal or similar use will be "in-scope electrical equipment" and be classified as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3.
Level 1 equipment will not require registration. However the Responsible Supplier will have to be registered on the national database and have evidence that the equipment is electrically safe and meets any relevant electrical safety standards.
Level 2 equipment will require a Compliance Folder. The folder must contain information to prove the electrical safety of that item of equipment. This information would include test reports completed by an approved testing entity or a suitably qualified person which confirms that the equipment meets relevant standards.
All low voltage electrical equipment designed or marketed as suitable for household, personal or similar use will be required to be marked with its brand or trade name, its model number and the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).
For more information about the EESS, visit the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) website: www.erac.gov.au.