Commissioner's Blog: Electrical safety this summer

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Decorative lights, electronic gifts and DIY projects are hallmarks of the festive season, prompting WA’s electrical safety regulator, Building and Energy, to share top tips for a safe summer.

Festive lights are a popular addition to homes at this time of year, but damaged or incorrectly used lights can cause electric shocks and fires. Consumers are urged to check that lights, cords and plugs are undamaged, untangled and working well, particularly if they have been in storage.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, including whether the lights are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Outdoor lights should have an ingress protection weatherproof rating. Switching off the lights is recommended before going to bed or leaving the house.

Consumers should be wary about buying lights and other electrical equipment from overseas because they may not comply with Australian standards. Look for a “triangle and tick” symbol, which is a regulatory compliance mark showing the appliance has been independently approved for use in Australia. 

The plug pins should have an insulation layer that covers at least half the pin length. This protects against contact with live metal parts if the plug is not fully pushed into the socket outlet. 

Summer is a popular time for DIY projects, but Building and Energy warns that the general public should never attempt their own electrical work. This is illegal and extremely dangerous. Always use a licenced electrical contractor.

Tragically, Building and Energy has investigated several fatal electric shocks in roof spaces in recent years. If someone must access the roof space of a house, it is vital that the mains power is turned off at the main switchboard beforehand. This is a legal requirement for any worker entering the roof space of a home.

Lithium-ion batteries may also feature on the festive agenda as part of gifts or home improvement projects. Building and Energy’s fire safety advice includes not mixing and matching batteries and chargers, even if they fit together. Only use the official equipment supplied for a particular device.

Batteries showing signs of swelling, overheating or damage should never be used and should be disposed of safely.

rcm_large.jpg, by CP Media

Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)

Shows the appliance has been independently approved for use in Australia

correct_insulated_pins.jpg, by cpmedia

Correct insulated pins

The plug pins should have an insulation layer that covers at least half the pin length


Building and Energy / Consumer Protection
Media release
29 Nov 2023

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