WA’s energy safety regulator is sharing vital electrical and gas safety tips for people working from home and starting to prepare for cooler weather.
Building and Energy is encouraging householders to check that their electrical and gas equipment is safe, in good working order and compliant with Australian standards.
“People are using electrical appliances in home offices and for projects around the house, as well as setting up for winter with gas heaters that may not have been used in a while,” Director of Energy Safety Saj Abdoolakhan said.
“Damaged or incorrectly used electrical equipment can cause shocks or fires, while issues with gas appliances can lead to a hazardous build-up of carbon monoxide.”
Key electrical safety advice
- DIY electrical work is illegal and extremely dangerous, so always use a licensed electrical contractor.
- Ensure electrical equipment has been approved for sale within Australia by looking for the Regulatory Compliance Mark (usually a tick in a triangle) or an equipment approval number. Certification can also be checked at www.eess.gov.au.
- With the power off, visually inspect the electrical equipment in your home office, checking for damage, exposed wires, discolouration from overheating or broken covers.
- To avoid overheating or fires, do not place objects against equipment air vents and do not cover items such as power boards, power supplies and chargers.
- When charging devices, do not leave them unattended, including while you are asleep. Avoid stacking items, such as phones charging on top of laptops. Use the correct charger for the battery and take them off charge once they are full.
- Ensure power boards and outlets are not overloaded and are not placed where they may be splashed with liquids or dislodged.
- Keep electrical equipment away from children and use safety plugs in unused power outlets.
- Check that you have at least two RCDs installed on your main switchboard. Test the RCDs before you start working from home and then routinely every three months.
Key gas safety advice
- Check your gas heater before you first turn it on because air filters, airways, fans and burners can become blocked by lint and dust. This can lead to overheating and burner problems, which can produce carbon monoxide.
- Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and poisonous gas. Seek immediate medical attention for signs of exposure. Lower-level exposure may cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, weakness, fatigue and nausea. Higher levels and prolonged exposure can result in severe headaches, dizziness, rapid or irregular heartbeat, vomiting, seizures, collapse and, in extreme cases, coma and death.
- Be aware of signs that the heater is not working correctly, including: discolouration of the outer case; difficulty re-lighting; and a yellow flame rather than a steady blue one.
- Don’t attempt to fix it yourself. Always call a licensed gas fitter or service agent, who should also service the gas heater at least every two years.
- Make sure the room is well ventilated and permanent ventilation openings and flues are not blocked or obstructed.
- Do not stack papers or other items on top or around the heater.
- Do not use outdoor gas appliances inside (such as gas patio heaters).