The Importance of the Electrical Safety Act 2002
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Electrical Safety Act 2002
Purpose of the Act
The Electrical Safety Act 2002 (the ES Act) is the legislative framework for electrical safety in Queensland.
The purpose of the ES Act is to prevent people from being killed or injured and property from being destroyed or damaged by electricity. It establishes a framework that:
- imposes duties on those who may affect the electrical safety of others
- establishes standards for industry and the public through regulations and codes of practice for working around electricity
- establishes safety management systems for electricity entities (including power authorities and Queensland Rail)
- provides a system of licensing for electrical workers and contractors
- provides penalties for breaches of the ES Act
- provides consumer protection against electrical work not being properly performed or completed
- establishes a consultative structure for industry, workers and the community to participate in improving electrical safety.
In situations where the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act) and the ES Act both apply, the ES Act takes precedence.
Who does the Act apply to?
The ES Act applies to the following duty holders:
- persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)
- officers of the PCBU
- PCBUs who conduct a recognised external certification scheme
- manufacturers, importers and suppliers of electrical equipment
- designers, installers and repairers of electrical equipment and electrical installations
- persons in control of electrical equipment
- workers at places where electrical equipment is located
- other persons at places where electrical equipment is located
- electricity entities.
The amended Electrical Safety Act 2002 (the ES Act)
On 1 January 2014 the amended ES Act came into effect.
The amendments do not significantly change requirements for electrical safety in Queensland. In addition, any person conducting a business or undertaking will already be familiar with many of the changes that have been in use since the WHS Act commenced on 1 January 2012.
Compare the changes (PDF, 227.87 KB) to the amended ES Act.
The amended ES Act will adopt terms and concepts from the the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act).
A summary of key changes include:
- the term ‘duty’ replaces ‘obligation’
- duties are subject to ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ (by reference to the meaning of ‘electrically safe’ and ‘free from electrical risk’). This is consistent with the concept of as low as is reasonable achievable
- a new proactive duty on executive officers consistent with the duty imposed under the WHS Act.
- new meaning of ‘worker’ and ‘other person’ – Workers include employees, contractors or subcontractor, employees of a contractor or subcontractor, employees of labour hire companies assigned to work in the person’s business or undertaking, outworkers, apprentices or trainees, work experience students and volunteers
- electrical safety enforceable undertakings requirements consistent with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- inspectors have similar powers of entry, seizure and investigation for the purposes of ensuring compliance with electrical safety legislation
- a new range of sentencing options for the courts, including adverse publicity orders, restoration orders, electrical safety projects, injunctions and training orders
- a new statutory notice, non-disturbance notice will be available to allow inspectors to secure an incident scene
- persons seeking an external review of a decision can now apply to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) rather than the industrial court.