Electrical Safety - Policy

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

As an employer, The University of Queensland has a legal obligation under the Electrical Safety Act 2002, to ensure the electrical safety of each of its staff at work. The University also has an obligation to ensure the electrical safety of others is not affected by the way they conduct their business.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

AS/NZS - Australian/New Zealand Standards

ESMP - Electrical Safety Management Plan

3.  Policy Scope/Coverage

This policy applies to all staff, students, contractors and visitors of the University who may come in contact with electricity and electrical equipment.

4.  Policy Statement

Managers and staff have a responsibility to eliminate hazards and complete all electrical work in a safe manner. The University will provide systems including policy, procedures and training to manage electrical risks. Every safety incident or accident will be reported and investigated in accordance with University policies and procedures.

5.  Responsibilities

Responsibilities for electrical safety on UQ sites include but are not limited to the following (refer also to detailed position descriptions):




  • primary executive responsibility for Occupational Health and Safety.

 Associate Director OH&S

  • ensuring University wide compliance with Electrical Safety Management Plan (ESMP); and

  • training and awareness.

Faculty and Divisional Managers


  • establishing and maintaining systems to facilitate compliance with the ESMP;

  • ensuring that all staff and contractors working for them and their sections are aware of and comply with the ESMP;

  • ensuring that workers are licensed and competent to carry out their allocated duties;

  • ensuring that each staff member has the correct tools, equipment and material to complete the work in a safe and efficient manner;

  • ensuring that risks are assessed, control measures identified and on-site risk assessments completed and control measures implemented when necessary;

  • ensuring that work is completed in accordance with instructions; and

  • ensuring that work complies with the appropriate standards, has been properly tested and the site is safe.

Qualified Technical Person

  • implementing systems to facilitate compliance with the ESMP;

  • technical supervision of electrical workers;

  • maintaining a register of all Faculty/Division/Institute electrical workers and their licences;

  • training of staff and contractors - induction and ongoing;

  • investigating and reporting of electrical incidents;

  • providing advisory services in relation to the requirements of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and relevant standards;

  • reporting of Electrical Incidents to the OH&S unit;

  • certification of electrical installations and equipment;

  • acting as the primary point of contact for electrical safety issues for the Faculty/Division/Institute

  • assisting Faculty/Division/Institute to develop systems to comply with the requirements of the ESMP;

  • assisting the Faculty/Division/Institute to develop risk assessments; and

  • providing Electrical Safety Certificates to the P&F Electrical Engineer.

Senior Electrical Engineer (P&F)

  • providing technical consultancy to the University.

Electrical Workers (staff, contract or labour hire)


  • complying with the ESMP and Faculty/Division/Institute procedures;

  • bringing to the attention of the project officer any potential electrical hazard; and

  • working only under the control of a supervisor.

University staff, students and visitors

  • the safe use of electricity;

  • ensuring the safety of those under their supervision and care; and

  • ensuring compliance with the ESMP.

6. Standards for Electrical Installation, Repair, Maintenance and Construction work

All classes of electrical work described below must be carried out in strict accordance with requirements of relevant governing legislation in force at the time. Pre-eminent requirements are set out within the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and the Electrical Safety Regulation 2002, supported by advisory information such as Codes of Practice and Australian Standards (eg AS/NZS 3000:2000).

6.1 Working near Exposed Live Parts

Legislative requirements mandate the proximity to which persons having varying degrees of competency can approach and work around exposed live electrical parts. These requirements are found in the Electrical Safety Regulation 2002. The Code of Practice, Working Near Live Exposed Parts gives some guidance on how to meet these obligations.

6.2 Electrical Work

The conduct of electrical work is prohibited unless a person is licensed or certified as competent under legislation to perform that work. Live electrical work carries a higher degree of risk and is prohibited by law except under strict controls. The Code of Practice, Electrical Work can assist in providing direction to the electrical worker.

6.3 Electrical Work Licences

All electrical work at voltages in excess of extra low voltage (less than 50Volts AC (RMS) or greater than 120Volts Ripple free DC) must only be carried out by and supervised by electrical workers, licensed and competent to do so.

Electrical work is defined by the Electrical Safety Act 2002 as “The manufacture, construction, installation, testing, maintenance, repair, alteration, or replacement of electrical equipment or parts”.

All electrical work on fixed wiring and installations must be arranged through P&F.

Staff and postgraduate students who are not holders of relevant electrical licences must not undertake work or be exposed to situations where contact with exposed live parts is possible at voltages in excess of extra low voltage.

6.4 Periodic Testing of Electrical Equipment and Residual Current Devices

Regulatory requirements mandate that items of specified electrical equipment in use within a workplace must be tested at varying intervals dependant upon the class of work environment in which they are used. It is the responsibility of all persons within the University in control of such specified electrical equipment and all portable Residual Current Devices to ensure that all tests are carried out at the prescribed intervals to the prescribed standard.

If using outside contractors, then only service providers endorsed by P&F can be engaged to perform this activity.

All fixed Residual Current Devices installed as protection for staff must be tested and inspected at the intervals prescribed within AS/NZS 3760:2003.

P&F will engage competent service providers and co-ordinate the performance of these tests.

7. Additional Information

General guidelines for the University of Queensland have been developed and publicly posted in combination with the Electrical Safety Management Plan. Implementation of specific procedures and guidelines by Faculties/Divisions/Institutes is to be a planned and ongoing process through local committees with advice from the OH&S Unit.


Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Property and Facilities Mr Steven Dickson
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Property and Facilities Mr Steven Dickson