Electrical and gas safety while working from home
With many of us now working from home as part of the Government’s COVID-19 coronavirus social distancing measures, it is important that you consider the following to ensure your safety and that of your family when using electrical and gas equipment.
- Check to see if you have at least two RCDs installed on your main switchboard. Prove that they are working correctly by pressing the test button before you start working from home and then every three months.
- Watch this handy video to help you identify and test your RCDs.
- If an RCD trips twice or more, for no apparent reason, have your wiring and appliances checked by a licensed electrical contractor.
- Ensure the power supply is switched off, then carry out a visual inspection of all electrical equipment in your home office.
- Check for cuts, nicks or exposed wires on any cords.
- Check equipment for visible damage (broken covers, overheating discolouration).
- Either discard any damaged equipment or have it repaired by an appropriately licensed electrical worker. Do not attempt to repair faulty equipment yourself.
- Ensure leads and power boards are placed where they will not get damaged by moving furniture, chairs, foot traffic or other activities.
- To avoid overheating and fire risks, do not place papers or other items against air vents of equipment or cover equipment such as power boards or power supplies.
- Do not cover or stack up equipment under charge (e.g. phones on laptops). Make sure the correct charger is used and do not over-charge batteries, as this can cause them to catch fire.
- Don’t leave batteries unattended while being charged. Watch out for an indicator system for the state of charge, such as yellow/green light or sign indicating the extent of charge. As soon as you notice the battery is fully charged disconnect it from the charger immediately. Don’t start charging something and then leave home or go to bed. See our recent media release on lithium-ion battery use for more information.
- Do not permit children to touch or play with electrical cords and make sure electrical cords are not dangling from benches or within your child’s reach.
- Ensure power boards and outlets are not overloaded (e.g. don’t plug in more than one room heater into a power board) and are not placed where they may be splashed with liquids.
- If purchasing new electrical equipment, make sure they have been approved for sale within Australia. Check for the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) or equipment approval number. Further information can be found here. Equipment approvals can be checked at www.eess.gov.au
As we move into the cooler months, you need to check your gas heater before you first turn it on. Good ventilation and maintenance are vital to prevent poor combustion which may result in harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
- Ensure your gas heater has been serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions or at least every two years. The service sticker showing the date of the last service should be attached to the gas appliance. If it is due for a service, call a licensed gas fitter or service agent as soon as possible.
- Make sure the room is well ventilated and permanent ventilation openings are not blocked.
- Check flues are not blocked or obstructed.
- Do not stack papers or other items on top or around the heater.
- The following signs are an indication that the heater is not working correctly and needs a service:
- Discolouration of outer case;
- Difficulty re-lighting; or
- Yellow rather than a steady blue flame.
- Do not use outdoor gas appliances inside (such as gas patio heaters).
More information about other DMIRS COVID-19 coronavirus updates can be found at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au
For information about COVID-19 coronavirus health risks, please visit the Department of Health website or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.
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