Buying and using electrical equipment
Keeping your electrical equipment safe and in good working order will help protect you and your family.
Electrical equipment includes both plug-in appliances like washing machines, hair dryers, TVs or power tools, as well as hard-wired equipment like hot water systems and air-conditioning units.
Electrical equipment safety
Online shopping - is the product electrically safe?
Electricity is invisible, so you can’t see the danger… but it can kill.
Here are some simple steps to make sure your electrical equipment is safe to use. First up, it’s important to make sure all electrical equipment you buy has the Regulatory Compliance Mark on it or its packaging. This symbol means the products meet Australian Safety Requirements.
When you shop in-store or online check for this RCM symbol before you buy.You can also double check your purchase at electrical safety.qld.gov.au or eess.gov.au
Buying electrical equipment that is safe is the first step. Next, you need to keep it safe by following the manufacturer’s instructions for use, maintenance and service. Don’t forget to check to see if it’s marked ‘indoor use only’ or ‘for outdoor use’.
For household electrical equipment, make sure power leads are fully uncoiled before you use them. When you’ve finished, roll up the power leads in a natural coiling motion.
If you need to detangle power leads make sure you switch them off, unplug and then coil the lead from the connection end, NOT the plug end.
Over time, all electrical equipment can become unsafe. Signs to look out for are:
- Cracked, broken or warped casings
- Damaged safety guards
- Colour changes from overheating or moisture
- Water damage
- Lead fraying, abrasions and cuts.
If you suspect your electrical equipment is broken or faulty, don’t use it. Get it repaired or dispose of it.
Recycling is the safest way to dispose of electrical equipment. Contact your local council or product retailer for safe disposal options. Cut the plug from the power lead and then break the pins on the plug so it cannot be plugged into a powerpoint again.
Make sure your electrical appliances are safe and in good working order. Electricity is invisible, so you can’t see the danger… but it can kill.
Find out more at electricalsafety.qld.gov.au
Buying electrical equipment
If you're buying electrical equipment and appliances make sure they have the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM). The RCM means the product has been tested, is compliant and meets Australian Standards.
Non-compliant appliances can cause electric shock, fire, injury or death. You may not get a refund or exchange if your product turns out to be non-compliant or faulty. It can be dangerous to buy electrical appliances on the internet from overseas sellers as they might not comply with Australian safety standards or have information about how to use them safely.
Visit eess.gov.au to see if your appliances and equipment are compliant.
Check it out before you plug it in
Check your electrical appliances and equipment before you plug them in and use them. The following could cause a fire or electric shock:
- broken casings and cracked plastic covers
- changes in colour from overheating and moisture
- water in the appliance
- frayed leads or damaged plugs
- damaged extension leads
- full or dirty filters.
- Only use appliances for what they're meant for.
- If the appliance is for indoor use only, do not use outdoors.
- Do not immerse the appliance in water unless it is designed for this purpose.
- Keep hands, fingers, feet, toes and hair away from dangerous moving parts like cutting blades.
- Water and electricity do not mix, don't use electrical appliances around water like in the rain or the bath and don't touch them with wet hands.
- Do not use a damaged appliance.
- Do not let children play with the appliance.
- Remove the plug from the socket-outlet before cleaning or maintenance.
- Do not place cord extension sockets or portable power outlet boards where they may be splashed or where moisture may get in.
- Ensure ventilation holes or outlets are not blocked or partially obstructed.
- If the supply cord or plug is damaged stop using it and throw it away or get it repaired.
- Maintain appliances to ensure a long, useful life and to avoid electric shock.
- A safety switch can enhance electrical safety when using electrical appliances.
Report unsafe electrical equipment to the Electrical Safety Office.
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In Australia, one child a month is seriously injured after swallowing or inserting a button battery.
If swallowed or inserted, call the 24/7 Australian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for fast, expert advice. Learn how to protect your family.
This advice is not intended to replace specific manufacturers' information but can be used as a general guide.
This advice does not cater for young children or people who are physically weak.