AS/NZS 3760:2010 and AS/NZS 3012:2010 set out the requirements for residual-current device (RCD) testing. As qualified professionals who have been in the business for over twenty years, Datatel are committed meeting and exceeding the industry rules and requirements. Every employer, or person with control of the workplace, is required to ensure that the RCD‘s are regularly tested — even if the business is renting the location. Our clients know that we conduct all our work safely and with minimal disruption to operations, and we are delighted to help them ensure that their sites are compliant with the regulations.

WHAT IS AN RCD AND WHY TEST IT?

An RCD is a safety device that disconnects a circuit if it detects an imbalance in the electric current, turning the power off almost immediately (within 10-50 milliseconds) to prevent electrocution. If you do still receive an electric shock, the duration will be very short, reducing the risk of serious injury.

 

Where electricity is supplied through a socket, there must be an RCD to minimise the risk of electrocution from that supply. RCD‘s are different from circuit breakers and surge protectors in that they are meant to minimise the risk of electrocution, whereas the other devices are meant to prevent electrical fires and do nothing to prevent electrocution.
RCD’s provide a means of early fault detection. An RCD cannot detect all types of faults, though — for example, if a person receives a shock between the active and neutral conductors. However, these circumstances are rare, and the vast majority of incidents occur between the active conductor and earth, which is protected by an RCD.

 

RCD‘s also protect against personal injury or fire caused by faults in appliances, tools and wiring. The majority of electrical fatalities are preventable by the use of a properly installed RCD that is regularly tested.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF RCD'S

Portable RCD‘s

Portable RCD‘s attached to a power board or extension lead are available. These RCD‘s only protect the circuits of appliances connected to them. They are essential for people using power tools or electrical appliances outside that are not protected by a meter box RCD or power point RCD.

RCD GPO’s

RCD‘s may be fitted to a power point and can be distinguished by the test button on the faceplate.. They are suitable for protecting electrical appliances in specific areas such as bathrooms and workshops.

HOW RCD'S ARE TESTED

RCD tests trip the RCD and disconnect the circuit that it protects from the supply, so any connected electrical equipment to that circuit needs to be shut down prior to the testing. Each test takes approximately 5 minutes per RCD. That‘s why RCD tests are best carried out after hours, before the office opens, or you will need to advise your staff that the power will be disrupted for each circuit and that their computers will need to be turned off.

OPERATING TIME TEST (INJECTION TESTING)

Performed by an electrician, this test measures how long the RCD takes to trip, indicating whether it is fast enough to be effective.

PUSH BUTTON TEST
ON RCD'S

The push-button test is to ensure that the RCD will trip when there is an earth leakage, and break the electrical circuit protecting the individual from suffering an electric shock or electrocution. When you press the test button and the RCD has detected an imbalance, the on/off switch will jump to the “off” position.

 

The test button will only test the RCD if an electricity supply is connected. This is a simple test that can be performed by the user to determine that the RCD’s tripping mechanism is working.
Portable RCD‘s require the use of an isolation transformer to carry out the operating time test.

WHAT IT MEANS IF RCD'S TRIP OUT
OR CREATE 'NUISANCE TRIPPING'

Some electrical appliances and old wiring may have a small amount of earth leakage, which can trip an RCD. Earth leakage increases with each additional appliance that is plugged in. If the RCD keeps tripping out, it may be an overloaded circuit. With any faults, we recommend having your wiring and appliance checked.

Who Can Test RCD’s
The test for the operating time of an RCD requires specific technical expertise and interpretation of results and therefore can only be carried out by an appropriately qualified person (a licensed electrician)

 

Fixed RCD Testing
This test can be carried out by a competent person (as defined in the standards), but they cannot carry out repairs or remove the cover of the switchboard exposing live terminal — only a licensed electrician can do those things. Datatel uses qualified electricians to carry out RCD testing, as well as the latest test equipment that not only performs the recommended RCD tests but also records the trip time results, allowing us to provide accurate record management.

 

Push-Button Test
Any person can perform the push-button test — if they have been deemed competent under the standards. If the RCD fails to operate, a licensed electrician needs to be engaged to test the RCD and replace it if necessary.
The operating time test on portable RCD’s requires the use of an isolation transformer.

 

Construction and Demolition Sites
The tests on RCD’s must be carried out by a competent person, in accordance with the requirements of AS/NZS 3012:2010, and each test must be recorded.

 

Mining Sites
Where a portable RCD is rarely used, the employer must ensure that it is kept in a safe working condition and is tested on a regular basis by a competent person.
Where a non-portable RCD device is installed at the mine, the employer must ensure that each device is kept in a safe working condition and is tested on a regular basis by a licensed electrician.

 

All Other Workplaces
Where a portable RCD is used at a workplace, the employer, self-employed person, main contractor, or person in control of the workplace must ensure that it is kept in a safe working condition and is tested regularly by a competent person.

COMPLIANCE REPORTING

For all RCD’s, you must keep the following documentation:

    • Register of all equipment
    • Record of formal inspection and tests
    • Repair register
    • 
Record of all faulty equipment, showing details of services and corrective action taken

The RCD Test Results should show:

  • Name of tester who carried out the RCD Test
  • Date of the test and re-test date
  • Test result (Pass/Fail)
  • Licence number of the electrician — or certificate number of the competent person — who carried out the test
  • Asset ID numbers of the items tested
  • RCD Testing Intervals
  • Equipment Calibration Date

Construction & Mining — RCD Testing to be carried out to AS/NZS3012:2010

RCD Operating Time (By Qualified Tester)

  • Non-Portable or Fixed RCD’s: Every 12 months
  • Portable RCD’s: Every 6 months

RCD Push-Button Test (By User)

  • Non-Portable or Fixed RCD’s: Every 6 months
  • Portable RCD’s: Daily or before connection of electrical equipment

All other workplaces — RCD Testing to be carried out to AS/NZS 3760:2010

RCD Operating Time (By Qualified Tester)

  • Non-Portable or Fixed RCD’s: Every 12 months
  • Portable RCD’s: Every 6 months

RCD Push-Button Test (By User)

  • Non-Portable or Fixed RCD’s: Every 12 months
  • Portable RCD’s: Daily or before connection of electrical equipment

Flexibility with RCD Testing Intervals

In order to remain compliant with the standards, you will need to follow the above test intervals in the section above. There is a tolerance of 2 weeks allowed from renewal date for you to still achieve compliance.
One of the most common problems that we see in your industry is that everyone is busy — it’s very easy to miss these dates and to fail to comply with the standards. We can help you by taking care of this responsibility for you. The Datatel team will send reminders of your RCD renewal several weeks before it’s due to ensure you are always compliant at your premises.

Specific Legislative Requirements
Construction and Demolition Sites

  • Regulation 3.60 of the OSH regulations requires that all RCD’s be kept in a safe working condition and tested regularly.
  • Regulation 3.61 of the OSH Regulations requires the employer, self-employed person or main contractor at a workplace to ensure compliance with Australian/New Zealand Standards AS/NZS 3012:2010 Electrical Installations — Construction and Demolition Sites.
  • Regulation 3.62 of the OSH regulations requires the portable RCD on any construction site or demolition to be carried out by a competent person.
  • Regulation 3.63 of the OSH regulations states that any worker bringing a portable RCD to a construction or demolition site that is required to be tested under AS/NZS 3012:201 must provide the main contractor with a record of the relevant testing data of the portable RCD being tested.

All Other Workplaces

  • Regulation 3.60 of the OSH regulations requires that all RCD’s be kept in a safe working condition and tested regularly.
  • Regulation 4.37 of the OSH regulations deals with the duties as to the use of RCD’s at workplaces other than construction and demolition sites, and mining operations. Under this regulation, an employer, self-employed person or person having control or access to a workplace must ensure that electrical equipment and RCD’s are subject to the checks, tests, and inspections necessary to reduce the risk of injury or harm occurring to a person at that workplace.

Contact us today to find out how we can best assist you and your business. We can also provide you with a copy of the relevant testing standard for your industry and equipment.

HOW CAN DATATEL HELP YOU?

Contact us using the form below to see how we can work with you