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Buying and using electrical appliances

What you need to know if you're buying, installing or using electrical appliances or power tools in your home.

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Secondhand electrical goods

New and secondhand products are covered by the Gas and Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2017.

Electronic goods and whitegoods purchased in NSW must be approved and marked according to legislation.

If the electrical article is second hand then it must have been approved at the time of selling when new.

When an item is sold at an ‘acceptable quality’ it means:

  • fit for purpose (do all the things someone would normally expect them to do)
  • look acceptable
  • free from defects
  • safe
  • durable.

Organisations and individuals who sell or supply secondhand electrical equipment have legal obligations to ensure your safety as the new operator of the secondhand electrical equipment.

These include

  • attaching a label stating that the equipment is secondhand and has been inspected and tested, and is compliant with Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 3760, or
  • if it has not been tested, the business supplying or offering to supply secondhand electrical equipment must include a clear statement on the label stating the equipment is second-hand, with additional words as follows: "danger – do not use or connect to supply – this second-hand electrical equipment may be faulty and should be inspected and tested by a competent person in accordance with AS/NZS 3760".

5 basic rules of power tool safety

Stay safe around power tools

Many injuries by power tools are caused by misuse or not working safely. 

Using a power tool correctly and with the proper safety measures, you can significantly reduce the chance of an accident in your home.

Assess your work area

Before you use any power tool in your home look around for potential hazards. Check whether

  • there is water near the electrical equipment you are using
  • electrical leads can be tripped over 
  • there are any hazards behind the wall you are about to drill into.

Being aware of your immediate environment and avoiding risk is the most effective way for you to stay safe

Use the right tool for the job

Choosing the tool appropriate for the job is necessary to avoid incidents and injuries. Trying to “make do” with the tools that you have isn’t smart – all tools are designed for a specific reason and not using them properly may cause you harm. You could overheat your power tool or cause it to malfunction.

Do not use electric tools in wet conditions unless they are approved for that use and use tools that are double-insulated or have a three-pronged cord.

Do not use damaged tools

Checking and inspecting of power tools before you do anything is crucial to identify defective or damaged equipment. Damaged equipment can also cause severe injuries such as cuts, punctures, blindness or electrical shock. Never carry a power tool by its cord as this will cause damage to the wiring.

Operate tools according to the manufacturers’ instructions

Equipment manuals help guide users on how to handle and operate tools as intended. You should read and comply with manufacturers’ guides to avoid mishandling of tools that lead to otherwise avoidable accidents.

Provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE helps to ensure your safety by reducing any physical hazards caused by power tools. You should wear appropriate PPE to avoid electric shock, burns, blindness, or respiratory and skin diseases when working around electricity, flammable gases, volatile liquids, or other explosive materials.

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