Qld to strengthen electrical safety laws

Monday, 15 January, 2024

Qld to strengthen electrical safety laws

The Queensland Government has outlined a proposal to strengthen the state’s electrical safety laws, following a review of the Electrical Safety Act (2002). The review and subsequent public discussion paper, released in 2023, involved consultation with industry, registered unions and the community, to help inform the state government’s efforts to address the electrical risks posed by emerging technologies.

The government plans to legislate to expand the definition of ‘electrical equipment’ to include some high-risk extra-low-voltage items because of the potential risks they pose. Consultation identified items such as solar PV modules and some lithium-ion batteries as being of particular risk. The government also seeks to update the definition of ‘electrical installation’ to ensure it covers modern energy generation systems, as well as new and emerging technologies such as battery energy storage systems.

The Queensland Government will also establish a working group to ensure the legislative definition of ‘electrical work’ is clear, fit for purpose and adaptable to ongoing advancements. A roundtable chaired by the Commissioner for Electrical Safety was also convened to consider safety improvements for those who work on electric vehicles, with outcomes to come under national consideration later this year.

Queensland Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace said the amendments proposed to the Electrical Safety Act by the government will ensure that the Act stays ahead of rapidly evolving electrical safety, keeping safety front and centre. Grace added that the way we use and interact with electricity has changed dramatically since the introduction of the Act in 2002.

“The legislative amendments we are seeking will ensure Queensland has the best possible contemporary electrical safety laws which align with other safety legislation,” Grace said.

“This government has a proud record on electrical safety, including the establishment of a standalone Electrical Safety Office and reinstating the position of the Commissioner for Electrical Safety following its abolition by the LNP. We have improved the rigour of our electrical licensing framework, and now we’re going a step further with stronger laws to ensure we can continue to adapt to technological and industry changes, both now and into the future.”

Image credit: iStock.com/francescomoufotografo

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