The community expects that the electrical and gas appliances they use are safe. Legislation requires retailers to ensure that most domestic appliances sold comply with appropriate Australian safety standards.
The Electricity Act and Regulations
In Western Australia, electrical safety legislation aims to minimise the hazards of electricity and to reduce the risks of electric shocks and fire. 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.
Safety of household electrical appliances
Exposure to the risks of electricity is greatest at the point where it does its job - at electrical appliances and the cords which connect electrical appliances 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.
Such approval may be issued if the person who intends to sell the appliance satisfactorily demonstrates that he or she has accepted the responsibility of ensuring that the appliance is safe for use. The most common way of doing this is by the person proving that the appliance complies with standard specifications and tests for electrical safety.
This approval process is referred to as the Uniform Approvals Scheme and it is administered nationally by most states and territories. Regulatory authority approval in any one state or territory is recognised by all other states and territories.
The Uniform Approvals Scheme applies to electrical safety only. It does not apply to the other characteristics of appliances which make them safe and fit for use; characteristics such as quality, durability, flammability, toxicity, electromagnetic radiation emission, efficiency and mechanical guarding.
Selling used electrical appliances or equipment
For the protection of both the customer and the people selling electrical appliances or equipment, the law requires that all electrical appliances or equipment sold are in a safe condition.
"Safe" means that no significant risk of injury or death to any person, or damage to any property is likely to result from the proper use of the electrical appliances or equipment.
Guidelines for determining if appliances and equipment are safe
Building and Energy recommends that where the origin or history of an electrical appliance or equipment is NOT known to the seller (for example, it has been purchased or obtained in a used condition), then that electrical appliance or equipment should be inspected and tested, before it is sold, to ensure it is safe to use.
However, where the origin or history of used electrical appliances or equipment IS known to the seller (for example, it has been solely owned and used since new by the seller), the appliance or equipment is not damaged, cords and plugs are in good condition, there are no missing parts and the appliance or equipment still operates in the manner the manufacturer intended, then the appliance or equipment may not need checking and testing prior to sale.
Testing of appliances and equipment
Testing of all electrical appliances or equipment must be carried out by appropriately qualified persons who have undertaken the necessary training by a training organisation.
Testing of equipment used at a place of work or public place or those offered for hire is detailed in the Australian Standard AS 3760-2003: "In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment".
It is recommended that the person doing the testing provides some evidence, such as a label or sticker, to be attached to the appliance/equipment to verify that the appliance/equipment has been checked and tested and is safe to use. This label/sticker should state the date that the appliance/equipment was tested, the relevant Australian standard to which it was tested and signature of the person who carried out the checking and testing.
Note: Most repairs to electrical appliances must only be carried out by an appropriately qualified person.
Electrical appliances that may or may not be sold or hired in Western Australia
MAKE SURE YOUR APPLIANCES ARE SAFE