Do Commercial Premises Need RCD Protection?

Jun 27, 2022

Is the use of Residual Current Devices (RCD) required in Western Australia?


A Residual Circuit Device (RCD) is a safety device that will turn off electricity if it detects an error. An RCD will turn off the electrical supply to the circuit affected, so you don’t get an electric shock when you touch anything live.

It also provides some protection against electric fires. An RCD tester provides a level of protection that is unmatched by ordinary circuit breakers and fuses. An RCD tester monitors the current flow through one or more circuits. The protection provided by these circuits is monitored and, therefore, the RCD immediately switches off any circuit that detects current flowing in an unplanned direction, such as a person accidentally touching a live wire. The risk of serious injury and death can be significantly reduced if you act quickly.

RCD testers offer protection beyond what circuit breakers can provide, as they do not react quickly enough.

If you need your commercial RCD tested, contact WACOMM, your commercial electrical service provider.


RCD For Commercial Premises in WA


The important question is whether commercial premises should have RCD protection. All circuits must be protected by RCDs according to both the building regulations and the electrical wiring regulations. Installing RCDs in all your new installations, as well as any places where an electrical installation has been modified, is essential to make your workplace safe. Work Health and Safety (WHS) requires that all circuits be fitted with RCDs and tested regularly in hostile working environments. Checking and testing RCDs in a hostile environment such as dust, heat, or moisture is a must. 

WACOMM’s Test and Tag team can help you here. You can trust the dedicated, experienced experts to provide high-quality services that will make your workplace safer. The team provides comprehensive testing and reporting services that will satisfy your needs. The team follows strict Australian quality standards when testing and tagging is performed, in compliance with the AS/NZ3760:2010 regulations.


RCD Installation to Prevent Electric Shock in Commercial Buildings


RCDs are required to protect all 32-amp outlets in commercial and industrial settings.

The RCD requirements for the final sub-circuits have increased to 32 Amp from 20 Amp. This provides personal protection from electric shock to the following circuits:

  • Socket outlets with power circuits (1-2, 2-& 3-phase)
  • lighting circuits
  • Equipment that can be connected directly to handheld devices
  • In a high-risk zone, stationary equipment that is directly connected to the Internet

All sub-circuits containing less than 32 amps should also be evaluated as RCD compatible. They should, if possible, be RCD protected to ensure that they are compliant and safe.

The purpose of this clause is to basically minimise the risk of electric shock. To determine the increased risk of electroshock, as electrical contractors in Perth, we consider electrical equipment (e.g., is the electrical apparatus Class 1, exposed conductor parts), and external influences (e.g., exposure to elements, vibrations, production line, and the connection with the supply).

However, there are exceptions. One example is when equipment leakage current would affect its reliability. To achieve RCD protection at the same level, this scenario requires a risk assessment. A different method of installation or equipment selection may be required. This could include mechanical protection or earth monitoring protection.

Despite the requirement for RCDs on sub-circuits exceeding 32 amps, exceptions are possible in the following situations:

  • Sub-circuits provide power for specialised equipment.
  • Equipment can develop a fault when there is greater danger than the leakage current.
  • Normal operating conditions can lead to earth leakage at levels that could trip a 30 Amp RCD.
  • A single item of electrical equipment (e.g., A single item of electrical equipment (e.g., a socket-outlet and light) that isn’t RCD-protected can be replaced by an identical item in the same place-like for like.
  • The equipment’s reliability is crucial for the business to run smoothly.

An exemption is not granted for the common complaint of nuisance-tripping.


RCD Tests to Protect Your Commercial Property


Safety Switch Testing is performed by the WACOMM team according to Safe Work Australia standards. They have the responsibility of improving workplace safety and health. To ensure the RCD is secure, the team conducts two tests:


Push-Button Test


Experts perform this test in order to determine whether the switch trips when necessary.

The test button on all RCDs needs to be pressed at least once every three months. The tester button simulates an earth leakage fault and can be pressed to check if the RCD is functioning correctly. Resetting timers or electric clocks after each test is necessary.

Licensed electrical contractors in Perth are required for testing beyond the RCD unit’s test button.


RCD Trip Test


The safety switch’s response time is measured by simulated power surges. Your RCD switch must trip in forty milliseconds if it works fast.

The testing team will provide a detailed report that includes both the location of the safety switch and the results. You will find out if the RCD switches pass or fail the test. You will also receive the recommendations you need for what actions to take.


What Requirements Are There for RCDs That Include Alterations or Replacement of Switchboards?


When switchboards are replaced or altered, RCDs must be applied. RCDs are required to protect final sub-circuits during an alteration. RCDs must also protect power-outlets in an alteration (according to the requirements for new circuits in the area where they are located).

If power-outlets are added to an existing circuit, RCD protection must be installed at the source of the additional wiring. Additional protection is required by RCDs if circuit protection on a switchboard has been removed. This protection will be used to protect the sub-circuits that are supplied by the board.


What Can RCDs do to Help?


RCD protection can reduce the danger of injury and death, but it does not eliminate the need for you to be vigilant. WACOMM can assist you if you suspect that your RCD’s are defective or have an obsolete switch board. WACOMM is based in Perth and can provide advice and assessments on all your industrial and commercial electrical service needs. Our commercial electricidal service providers are all fully licensed, certified, and insured. Give us a call today to ensure your safety and that of your business.

Want to know more?

Trusted Electrical Contractors In Perth

Since 1997, WACOMM has been providing Commercial and Industrial Electrical services in Perth, Western Australia. Experienced and efficient, David and the team at WACOMM have the skilled knowledge to complete medium and large scale projects to the highest possible standard in Perth.

Begin your project with the most trusted Electrical Contractor in Perth.