A competent person as defined in the OHS Regulation must do the testing of your plug-in electricalbequipment. This is a person who has acquired through training, qualification or experience, or a combination of them, the knowledge and skills enabling that person to correctly perform a task. For the testing of plug-in electrical equipment this means a person who can safely and correctly carry out the inspections and tests described in the relevant Australian Standard, AS/NZS 3760 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment. The person carrying out the inspections and tests must know what to look at, what to look for and what to do.
The testing of electrical equipment requires a level of expertise and interpretation of results and, therefore, can only be carried out by appropriately qualified or trained personnel who are able to recognise electrical hazards or potentially unsafe conditions. Basically, there are two levels of competency associated with this type of work:
• The first level is where an electrician with electrical qualifications and skills uses electrical test instruments that give actual readings that requires technical interpretation, for example, an electrician using an insulation resistance meter and ohmmeter.
• The second level is where a person not qualified in electrical work uses a pass/fail type of electrical test instrument known as a portable appliance tester (PAT). A PAT is an electronic instrument that automatically tests electrical equipment plugged into it. The result it indicates requires no technical interpretation. In this case the person would need to have been trained and satisfactorily completed a VETAB competency assessed training course on testing and tagging using a PAT.
Note: VETAB approved training courses on how to use a PAT are available from the NSW Department of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) and some other registered training organisations (eg Safety Testing Electrical Appliances – 6033), which is available from TAFE.