Handy guide to BE Safe – RCD safety switches

DOWNLOAD THE HANDY GUIDE TO BE SAFE Click here to download the guide

RCD handy
RCD handy, by sgrove

Hi there – here’s a handy tip!


To help protect yourself and your family from an electrical fault, test your RCD safety switches.

If you feel confident to do so, and your meter box is in good condition, open the meter box and press the Test button on each RCD.

Like this one here, with the ‘T’

The switch should instantly flip ‘OFF’.

Then you flip it back ‘ON’ to reset it.

Any problems? Call a licensed electrical contractor.

Check your safety switch in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions or every three months, whichever is more frequent.

Click here to watch a short how-to video

So, why are RCDs so important?

Residual current devices (RCDs) are the single most effective measure to prevent electrocutions, serious electrical injuries and fires.

The circuit breakers and fuses in your switchboard protect against overloading and short circuits but not against electrocution.  An RCD is the only/best device able to protect you and your family from electrocution.

To make Western Australian homes and businesses safer, you must have at least TWO of these life-saving safety switches fitted to your premises.  

Any licensed electrical contractor can supply and fit RCDs in the switchboard of your house or business.  

Invest in RCDs! Remember – no RCD means no second chance so BE Safe.

Where is the ‘Test’ button on my type of RCD?

Simply look for the T. Your button may be of any shape and colour but will always have a T.

Some examples can be found in the handy guide above but if you don’t see yours, email EGPGeneralAdmin@dmirs.wa.gov.au with a picture and Building and Energy will help.

What are the rules for fitting RCDs?

Homes for sale

If you are planning to sell your home, RCDs must be fitted to protect all circuits supplying power points and lights before the land title is transferred. If two or more RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits are not installed, you will need to engage a licensed electrical contractor to install them to comply with the Electricity Regulations.

Renting a home

Landlords must ensure RCDs are installed in accordance with the Electricity Regulations on the switchboards of their rental premises. If RCDs are not fitted, tenants should contact the managing agent or landlord and request that RCDs be installed as required.

It is also recommended that tenants be reminded to test the RCDs every three months and inform the property manager if the RCD does not operate. This test resets the reliability of the RCD, ensuring that it is ready to protect the occupants of the house from electric shocks. Faulty RCDs must be replaced immediately.

Short-term rental accommodation premises

If you are making some or all of your premises available as short-termrental accommodation, RCDs must be installed in accordance with the Electricity Regulations at the switchboard of the premises. This must be done before guests stay in the premises. 

Number of RCDs

The regulations require RCDs to be installed on the main switchboard in accordance with the Electricity Regulations. Two is a required minimum but more than two may be needed. A licensed electrical contractor will install the correct number and rating of RCDs to ensure your premises complies with the regulations.

Do I have to engage a licensed electrical contractor?

To BE Safe never D-I-Y electrical work

For installation of your RCDs or to address a problem identified during a test, you must engage a licensed electrical contractor.

Doing your own electrical work or employing an unlicensed person to do it for you, is very dangerous.  You and your family risk electrocution or fire.

Licensed electrical contractors will guarantee the quality of the work. By law they must employ licensed electricians who have been expertly trained to carry out electrical work on their behalf.

It is also illegal for an unlicensed person to carry out electrical work, including modifications to fixed wiring.

How do I find a licensed electrical contractor?

Check if your electrical contractor is licensed using Building and Energy’s online licence search

An electrical contractor's licence can be identified by the prefix 'EC' at the start of the licence number.  An electrician's licence number will begin with 'EW'.


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