In this, the second part of our look into the safety of electrical products, we focus on a safety campaign being run by NECA and electrical industry information portal Voltimum. Part I may be viewed here.
A recent survey by NECA found that a lack of understanding about how to identify compliant products was also an issue within the electrical industry.
In addition, with 200 of the 300 respondents saying that they would only purchase compliant products, it would seem that most contractors understand the seriousness of the issue and are keen to follow the rules.
In an effort to eliminate non-compliant electrical goods from the local industry, NECA and electrical industry information portal Voltimum recently launched the “Does it Comply" campaign.
The campaign coincides with the ERAC decision to implement the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) where all suppliers of electrical product and some specific high risk electrical equipment will be registered on a national database.
The first stage of the campaign was to launch a website to provide the industry with a one-stop-shop for information on non-compliant products, associated electrical regulations, explain penalties and outline the overall plan on how the electrical industry is working together to eliminate dangerous counterfeits.
NECA’s Chief Executive Officer, James Tinslay, said at the launch “The use of non-compliant products is very dangerous. Over 11,000 house fires and 60 fatalities have been linked to non-compliant products in Australia and New Zealand so it is a very important the entire industry comes together to ensure only products conforming to Australian Standards are manufactured, imported, promoted, sold and ultimately installed.”
The second stage of the campaign was to get contractors in the electrical and communications industry to ‘sign the pledge’. Contractors do this by watching a webinar on the campaign website and then testing their knowledge with 10 questions.
Those who answer the questions correctly are asked to commit to only use compliant products, report the use of non-compliant products and make various other commitments.
And they receive marketing material which confirms their commitment to safe, compliant electrical goods.
So how can electrical contractors identify safe electrical goods? There are a number of things to keep an eye out for.
With the EESS, contractors will be able to check if a supplier is listed on the ‘Responsible Supplier database on the ERAC website.
Given that the database is still in its early stages of rollout, there are also several common-sense measures to follow.
Firstly, it is sensible to avoid any product that carries no brand and to purchase goods from a known and authorised manufacturer or distributor.
In addition, products with unusual trademarks or which come in packaging with blurred markings should be avoided.
And, maybe the biggest common sense call of all – beware of prices that are ‘too good to be true’ or items that fell off the back of the proverbial truck.
Finally, when purchasing from overseas, contractors need to be aware that standards are not international but differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They need to do their research to verify that local standards are met by the products they buy.
Within five years, items on sale in Australia will have to carry the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM).