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Testing your safety switch - Work Safe Queensland
Published: October 14, 2019 Last Updated: October 20, 2022
Your safety switches protect you and your family from electric shocks by turning off the electricity in your home if there is an electrical fault.
It's good to have safety switches installed on every electrical circuit in your home, but it isn't enough! It's just as important to test them regularly to make sure they're in working order.
Testing your safety switches doesn't take much time. Take a moment to watch this video by Work Safe Queensland to learn how to test your safety switches, so you know they're working. For more information, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au.
Testing your safety switch - Work Safe Queensland - video transcript
A safety switch will turn off the electricity in your home within milliseconds of a fault to protect you from serious electric shock. But the safety switch will only protect you if it is working properly and it is connected to the faulty circuit.
That's why we want you to have safety switches connected to all the circuits in your home, including power points, lighting, air conditioning, stove, hot water and pool equipment, even if they are on separate tariffs.
It's also important to test your safety switch every three months to ensure that it continues to function properly and protect you from electric shocks.
Your safety switches can be quickly identified by looking for one or more buttons marked 'T' or 'Test' at your switchboard. You will need to look carefully as there may be more than one and they can be different colours, shapes or sizes.
Before testing your safety switch, make sure everyone in your home knows you're about to do the test. If anyone is using a computer or recording their favourite program, turning the power off without warning would be pretty annoying.
To test, simply press the test button on each safety switch. This should automatically trip the switch to the off position and you will hear a 'clunk' sound.
You should check inside your home to see which lights or appliances are now off. The circuits turned off by the safety switch test mean they are protected by it.
Let's try another one. This is for the power point circuits.
Once you are confident that each safety switch has worked correctly, reset them by lifting or twisting the switch to turn it back on.
If you have a fridge or air conditioner on the circuit, it's best that you wait 2-3 minutes before turning them back on to prevent damage.
If during the test your safety switch didn't make a sound and didn't switch off any lights or appliances then it has failed. Contact your electrician to have it checked immediately as you will not be protected from electrical faults.
To help you remember when to test your safety switches use the arrival of your quarterly electricity bill or rates notice as a reminder. Or set up a reminder in your computer or mobile phone calendar to alert you when the next test is due.
Having safety switches installed is good but it isn't enough, it is just as important to regularly test them to make sure they work.
For more information visit electricalsafety.qld.gov.au or call 1300 362 128