“Do we need to get our RCDs on construction sites tested every month?” I get asked this question by lots of tradies and owners of building companies.
The problem is there is a lot of misinformation about the requirements, so in this article I hope to clarify it for you.
The use and testing of Residual Current Devices (RCDs), also known as “safety switches” is set out in the “Industry Standard – Electrical installations on construction sites The Industry Code“.
All portable RCDs, such as those located on portable generators and Portable Socket Outlet Assemblies (PSOAs), must be tested using the “press button” method after connection to a socket or before connecting equipment and at least daily when in use. This involves pressing the test button and confirming the RCD trips “without undue delay”. It is a simple test to confirm the RCD is operating.
They should also be tested each month using the “applied current” method to ensure they trip within the required maximum current level and response time. To do this special test equipment is required to apply the current and measure the response time.
The same applies to all fixed RCD, such as those located on permanent switchboards in transportable structures and on construction switchboards; they must be tested every month by operating the test button with the added requirement of the details of the test and the date must be recorded. They should also be tested for tripping current and time each month using the “applied current” method except where the site can demonstrate:
Under these conditions the interval between “applied current” method testing may be up to three months.
Tripping current and time testing can only be undertaken by appropriately qualified persons, including:
It is important to note the words must means it is mandatory, whereas the word should means it is not mandatory but is best practice.
ACME Test and Tagging provides professional RCD testing service for building and construction sites.