Maintaining sparkie safety in a changing electrical landscape

Clipsal - by Schneider Electric

Monday, 18 September, 2023

Maintaining sparkie safety in a changing electrical landscape

From powering the lighting and air-conditioning units that make life more comfortable, to ensuring security systems stay online, electricity is essential to every Australian home and business. However, if installations and maintenance aren’t conducted properly, this can result in serious harm.

“Any electrician will know that they need to constantly be aware of common problems that may hinder their safety, such as water, confined spaces and damaged cables,” said Lucy Finlay, Standardisation and Regulation Manager, Pacific at Clipsal by Schneider Electric. “To ensure workplace safety, electricians need to go beyond this to not only protect themselves, but also those who may conduct work after them.”

Here, Finlay discusses the most important aspects of safety for electricians.

Keep up with regulations

To ensure they are aware of necessary safety regulations and industry standards, electricians must first make sure they are licensed to trade. Most importantly, they need to keep updated with the latest changes, no matter how busy they are on the job.

Recently, the Australian Building Codes Board announced changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) across volumes one to three, directly impacting electricians and builders. While some changes came into effect on 1 May 2023, all new regulations will be effective from 1 October 2023.

These imminent updates to the NCC will also alter training requirements for electricians, as well as improving their safety on the job. Despite a significant amount of reskilling for sparkies, this also provides the opportunity to upgrade their businesses, increasing revenue in the long term.

Use certified products, not untested or uncertain suppliers

When installing products like DC isolators, it is important to use certified products. This is critical when it comes to jobs that require a return to site to provide regular maintenance.

A faulty or non-certified product can pose serious harm after installation. It’s therefore imperative that an electrician’s chosen wholesaler can supply the relevant documentation to mitigate any present or future risk. It is also essential to make sure all installation work has been done correctly, tested and documented in accordance with local requirements. Recent changes to AS/NZS 3000:2018 require a minimum of a Type A RCD for the protection of most final subcircuits.

Recognising the impact of smart homes when it comes to electrical safety

Home automation is revolutionising Australian homes, helping consumers create greener properties. Products like Clipsal Wiser Smart Home provide electricians with scalable home automation products to offer to homeowners, which will ultimately help them meet all their sustainability needs.

While many of these smart products are safer for electricians due to low voltage exposure, many green additions such as EV chargers require different measures when it comes to safety.

EV uptake and the infrastructure supporting the EV revolution

In recent years, consumers across the world and in Australia have continued to invest in EVs and the infrastructure needed to charge their vehicles. With new building codes across residential and commercial buildings seeing EVs being prioritised, electricians need to be aware of the changes to codes for their own safety and that of others.

Soon, some buildings will need dedicated distribution boards for every 24 parking spaces. While newly constructed buildings don’t need to have EV chargers installed initially, infrastructure such as charging control systems will need to be provided.

It’s clear that the need for increased safety awareness has never been higher due to the rise of green energy and smart products. New products, regulations and standards are constantly being released into the Australian market to ensure the safety of those in the electrical field, and it is essential that sparkies keep up to date to make sure they stay safe and prosper.

For more information on safety in the workplace, visit

Lucy Finlay, Standardisation and Regulation Manager, Pacific at Clipsal by Schneider Electric.

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