2013 Amendments to the Electricity (Safety) Regulations – mining and quarrying

Amendments to the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 related to mining and quarrying operations came into effect on 31 December 2013, and general amendments came into effect on 1 February 2014. This Energy Safety article summarises the amendments. Please consult the regulations for a full understanding of their obligations.

Amendments related to mining operations

The amendments to the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (ESR) for electrical safety in mining, quarrying, and tunnelling operations complement the new Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013 and form part of the Government’s response to the Pike River Royal Commission’s recommendations.

The amendments that specifically relate to mining:

  • extend the ESRs to cover road vehicles, barges, and dredges used in mining operations (ESR 3)
  • revise or introduce new definitions in relation to the new mining provisions (ESR 4), revise the definitions of low-risk, high-risk, and general prescribed electrical work (ESR 6A), and define when mining electrical equipment is electrically unsafe (new ESRs 24A and 24B)
  • require compliance with AS/NZS 3007 for safety distances from electric lines for specific mining operations (ESR 17) and for installations in excavated areas generally (new ESR 61AA)
  • introduce requirements for work on or near bare live conductors in various mining operations (new ESR 103A)
  • define certain work on mining electrical equipment and conductors as prescribed electrical work (PEW) (Schedule 1)
  • make requirements for mining electrical equipment (ESR 13 and the new Part 5A and Schedule 8), including:
    • specific technical requirements for electrical equipment and conductors at certain mining operations
    • periodic assessments or safety assessment programmes, and certified designs for electrical equipment and conductors at specific types of operation.

General amendments

The amendments to the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 (ESR) replace Schedule 2 and Schedule 4 to update cited standards and standards recognised for certain fittings and appliances.

The amended regulations provide for the recognition of products and suppliers registered in Australia under the Australasian Electrical Equipment Safety System (the EESS) (ESR 83, 83A, 84, and 86A).

The amendments also:

  • introduce some new definitions (ESR 4) and clarify when fittings and appliances are electrically unsafe (ESR 8)
  • clarify electrical safety obligations for people who hire out fittings or appliances (ESR 15) and residential landlords (new ESR 15A)
  • update and clarify requirements for work carried out near electric lines (ESR 17); impressed voltages on telecommunications equipment (ESR 33); earthing systems in works (ESR 42); and for testing low voltage AC railway signalling equipment (ESR 59)
  • specify details to be provided when reporting an immediate danger to life or property (ESR 19)
  • define electrically unsafe situations where the substitution of a refrigerant, or the inability to manually override safety and security functions of a domestic installation compromise safety (ESR 20), and revise the provisions relating to electrically unsafe appliances (ESR 23)
  • deem fittings in installations complying with AS/NZS 3019 to be electrically safe (ESR 26)
  • clarify how ESR 37 allows works compliant with the requirements for low voltage installations may be treated as low voltage installations (ESR 38)
  • clarify the requirements for certification of PEW (ESR 65, 67, and 74E), the inspection of high-risk PEW (ESR 70), records of inspection (RoI) (ESR 72, 72A, 73, 73A, and 111B), and Electricity Safety Certificates (ESR 74A, 74B, and 74G)
  • require that details of high-risk PEW be provided for entry on the high-risk database (EGHR) (ESR 74F)
  • replace references to ‘inspections’ in ESR 75 with references to ‘assessments’, and provide for periodic assessments, rather than periodic inspections, of electrical medical devices (ESR 91)
  • clarify that fittings and appliances supplied or offered for supply must be electrically safe, even if not sold or offered for sale (ESR 80)
  • prescribe requirements for the use of hand-held appliances in cramped spaces (ESR 89 and 89A)
  • require PEW on low voltage electrical equipment to comply with a certified design or with AS/NZS 4836 (ESR 100)
  • clarify requirements for working on a cross-arm (ESR 105)
  • revise the exemption provisions (ESR 109).

Published in energy.