Electrical appliances and equipment - importing, selling or hiring


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 electricity 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. The approval certificate is for a perticular model of appliance and can be used by any seller or hirer.

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 Energy recommends contacting one of the following regulators or designated certification agencies for enquiries about the certification process:

Prescribed Articles List - Level 3 equipment

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:

  • Appliance Plugs
  • Air conditioner incorporating flammable refrigerant
  • Battery Chargers
  • Blankets
  • Building Wiring Cable
  • Circuit Breakers, Miniature Over-Current
  • Clothes Dryers
  • Cord Extension Sockets
  • Cords (Supply Flexible Cords)
  • Decorative Lighting Outfit
  • Dishwashing Machines
  • Double capped light emitting semiconductor lamp
  • Electric Fence Controllers
  • Fans
  • 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 Lamps
  • Hand Held Portable Tools, including: Cutters, Polishers/Scrubbers, Drills, Routers, Grinders, Sanders
  • Immersion Heaters (including Aquarium Immersion Heaters)
  • Insect Electrocutors
  • Irons
  • Lamp Holders (Normal Bayonet type)
  • Lamp Holders (Edison Screw)
  • Lamp Holder Adaptors (BC)
  • Lawn Mowers
  • Liquid Heating Appliances, including: Bottle Warmers, Kettles, Deep Fryers
  • Massagers - Portable
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Outlet Devices - Portable
  • Plugs and Plug Sockets
  • Range Hoods
  • Ranges - Fixed, including: Cooking Hobs, Ovens
  • Ranges – Portable and Cooking Appliances
  • Razors/Hair Clippers
  • Residual Current Devices (Safety Switches)
  • Refrigerators and Freezers
  • Room Heaters
  • Soldering Irons
  • Switches - Wall
  • Switches - Cordline/lnline
  • Switching, Control and Conditioning Devices - Portable
  • Swimming Pool and Spa Pumps and Equipment
  • Toasters
  • Transformers, Extra-Low Voltage, including: Battery Chargers, Battery Savers and Power Supply Units
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Washing Machines
  • 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.

Compliance Marks

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:

RCM approval mark.jpg
RCM approval mark.jpg, by Electricity

Typical approval numbers are:

  • Q<number>
  • ESO<number>
  • NSW<number> *after 24 Feb 2005
  • N<number> *before 24 Feb 2005
  • T<number>
  • S<number>
  • CCS<number>
  • V<number>
  • ESV<number>
  • AGA<number>EA
  • ASA<number>EA
  • GMA<number>EA
  • CBA<number>EA
  • SAA<number>EA
  • SAI TE EA<number>
  • SAI SMK EA<number>
  • SAI<number>EA
  • SGS EA<number>EA
  • TCA<number>EA
  • TUV<number>EA
  • A<number>EA
  • U<number>EA

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.  

To check the validity of Approval Certificates issued by all other regulators in Australia (except NSW): https://equipment.erac.gov.au/Public/

For Approval Certificates issued by NSW go to the NSW Fair Trading website: http://eapr.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/default.aspx

Electrical items that are not prescribed

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)

Under the EESS laws, non-prescribed electrical equipment must 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 are "in-scope electrical equipment" classified as Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3.

Level 1 equipment does not require registration. However the Responsible Supplier must 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 requires a Compliance Folder. The folder must contain information to prove the electrical safety of that item of equipment, including 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 is 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 Equipment Safety System (EESS) website: www.eess.gov.au.

Further information

More information is available on our website.

Contact details of other Australian State or Territory and New Zealand electrical safety regulators are available on our website in the links section or on the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) website in the Related Links section.


Building and Energy
Fact sheet
Last updated 08 Aug 2019

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