While having RCD Safety Switches in place is by no means a guarantee of preventing an electric shock, there are some measures that when put in place, will largely increase the operational efficiency of RCDs when it is needed the most.
The Australian Standards 3760 in-service safety inspection testing and tagging of electrical equipment outlines regular testing procedures and intervals necessary for maintaining the fast and safe operation of RCDs.
A millisecond ‘trip-time test’ is regularly performed on each RCD to ensure that the power is quickly ‘cut off’ within the vital time in the event of someone receiving a shock.
If the RCD fails or takes too long to trip the power off, the consequences could be fatal.
The standards also outlines regular ‘push button’ tests that need to be performed by the user in between the trip-time test intervals.
This also assists in making sure that grime, dust or sand isn’t given a chance to pile up and affect the mechanical operation of the RCD.
It cannot be stressed how important this seemingly small but mostly forgotten task is. We have found a lot of RCDs on switchboards that jam in the ‘On’ position when load tested.
The most common ones though are tradesman’s RCD power boards. They often get dragged through sand and dirt on building sites and need to be push-button tested before each use.
The only cost of these push button tests to you is a few moments of your time. It could mean all the difference.