Safety Switch Law
What exactly are safety switches and how do they work? Safety switches are devices that are designed to stop the supply of electricity in the event of a very small earth fault on an electrical circuit. This creates a good means of minimising risks of death and injury due to earth faults. And this fault is in fact the most common cause of electric shocks. In other words, it is basically your insurance against electric shocks. Safety switches can detect earth faults much faster than a normal fuse or circuit breaker, thus, saving equipment from potentially serious damage. They work almost instantly, cutting off electricity before enough current has passed through a person that could either cause serious injuries or even be fatal.
Owners of domestic rental accommodations in Queensland must have a safety switch installed in their rental properties. If your property does not have one yet, you must have a licensed electrician do the installation. Failure to do so may cause you to incur fines. This regulation ensures that those living in rental properties are safe from electric shock.
Make sure that the safety switch is installed by a licensed electrical contractor. It is important that you aware that not all electrical contr
actors are able to perform all types of electrical work. In fact, there are two types of electrical licenses: the Electrical Contractor licence and the Electrical Worker licence.
Electrical Worker Licence
A person can only carry out electrical work if they hold an electrical work licence. This type of licence can be issued in different classes. The type of work the person is allowed to perform is listed on the front of the licence.
If a person is a holder of a green electrical work licence, he is restricted to particular types of work and equipment. This does not include installation of electrical equipments.
New Smoke Alarm Legislation
Queensland law requires all units and homes to be fitted with smoke alarms. As a rental property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that the smoke alarm in your property is in working condition.
On Wednesday, 31 August 2016, The Minister of Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister Corrective Services, The Honourable Bill Byrne announced that Queensland had been chosen to be the national leader in smoke alarm legislation.
In line with this, a new smoke alarm legislation was passed in the Parliament following a recommendation to avoid the recurrence of tragic house fires, such as that of the 2011 Slacks Creek house fire which claimed the lives of 11 people.
The new legislation specifies that all houses and units in Queensland are fitted with photoelectric, interconnected smoke alarms in all rooms, including hallways of residences.
“By having the alarms interconnected, it won’t matter which part of a house a fire might start in, the alarm closest to you will sound and if you are asleep, an alarm will sound in your room, even if the area is closed off to the rest of the house,” Minister Byrne stated.
Instead of using the ionisation types, the law specifies that all homes and units have interconnected, photoelectric smoke alarms. Why so? Research shows that photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective compared with the ionisation types, as they are able to recognise the smoke by identifying combustion particles that are visible. This makes them more efficient in detecting smouldering fires instead of just smoke from cooking.
According to Minister Byrne, they are requiring interconnected alarms so that the entire house will be alerted in case of a fire, no matter which part of the house the fire may start in.
“I am proud Queensland is now the national leader on this issue, making sure we are doing all we can to keep residents safe,” Minister Byrne said.
All houses being built or significantly renovated will need to comply with the smoke alarm legislation upon completion after January 1, 2017. Also any smoke alarm being replaced after January 1, 2017 must be a photoelectric alarm.
All houses being rented or sold will need to meet compliance after five years and all owner-occupied private dwellings will need to comply with the legislation within 10 years.
Whilst Minister Byrne has stated a roll out period which applies, it is recommended that action to update the smoke alarm system be taken as soon as possible.