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What is RCD testing?

What is RCD testing?

Friday, 06 October 2017

Should an electrical incident occur where electric shock is being sustained by an individual, it is vital the power to that circuit is switched off as fast as possible to reduce the severity of electric shock.   The act of switching off the power to that circuit occurs when the RCD trips.   

Under WHS regulations and AS/NZS 3760:2010, RCD’s are required to be both push button tested and trip time tested on a regular basis to ensure the device not only operates as intended, but quickly shuts off power to a circuit in the event of an incident.

WHS regulations and AS/NZS 3760:2010 not only specify the maximum "trip time", but also how often RCD's should be tested in various environments.

Like any mechanical device, regular testing of the RCD ensures critical components are not clogged up with dust or other foreign matter.

Rapid Test Systems recommend 6 monthly testing is conducted in all environments to ensure the RCD operates as required.

How to test RCD

There are 2 ways to test a RCD.   Push button test and trip time test.   Both tests are required under Australian Standards and WHS regulations at different test frequencies, and cover different aspects of the operation of the RCD.

A push button test is simply testing for operation of the RCD.     The push button test can be completed by any individual – no formal competency is required as no technical equipment or access to live components of a switchboard is required.    Should the RCD not trip (shut off power to the circuit) when the test button is pressed, the RCD needs urgent replacement as it is not able to perform the function it is intended to.

A trip time test is completed by a technician deemed competent under Australian Standards or state based legislation, or an electrician.   In both cases, technical equipment is used to measure the time (in milliseconds) it takes for the RCD to trip when a leakage to earth is simulated.   Australian Standards stipulate the maximum trip time, and should the RCD not trip within the stated time, the RCD needs urgent replacement as it is not able to perform the function it is intended to.

Rapid Test Systems innovative RCD testing device not only performs the trip time test on the RCD without the need for a competent technician or electrician, but also records the results.   A record of results is required to be kept under Australian Standards.

RCD compliance

WHS regulations in most states of Australia require RCD’s to be installed on all circuits protecting hostile environments.   Additionally, in QLD all circuits in Manufacturing environments are required to be protected by RCD and tested regularly.

RCD's are life-saving devices and are an essential component of ensuring workplace safety. They ensure power is switched off from a circuit in the event of an incident which is critical in reducing the severity of electric shock.