Electrical Services in a School Lab

Electrical Services in a School Lab: Hi all, I need confirmation for our Business Manager that it is required as per Australian Standard 2982:2010 page 45,  that there should be an emergency electrical shut down push button, in each science laboratory classroom.

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Publication Date: 16 January 2015
Asked By: Anonymous
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Answer by labsupport on question Answer by labsupport on question Electrical Services in a School Lab

We understand that you are from a WA non-government school and want to find out if it this a mandatory requirement for schools.

Research has confirmed that this is not regulated by Energy Safety Electricity in WA, as they are concerned with electrical safety and see the provision of an emergency shut-off as being an occupational health and safety matter rather than an electrical matter.  Contact with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) has confirmed that AS/NZ 2983:2010 is not written into the BCA, so it is not mandated according to them. This is a very specific requirement for a very specific situation. WorkSafe WA also does not have this Australian Standard written into their regulations, however, it is worth noting that they have significant information regarding testing and tagging portable electrical equipment and Residual Current Devices (RCDs) at workplaces see https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/atoms/files/guide-testing-and-tagging-portable-electrical-equipment-and-residual-current-devices.pdf

Non-government schools in WA are required to be registered by the Minister for Education see https://www.education.wa.edu.au/non-government-school-registration (Link Updated July 2019)

The requirements for registration and renewal of registration of non-government schools in WA can be found on the Department of Education Services website, see https://www.education.wa.edu.au/non-government-school-registration (Link Updated July 2019)

This document makes clear the requirements for schools to implement policies and procedures to meet its obligations for the health, safety and welfare of students and staff.

Section 7 of Registration Standards and Requirements 2014, details the requirements for providing a safe and suitable physical environment for delivering a range of learning experiences for student learning. This includes a requirement for schools to comply with Australian Standards particularly for practical areas such as Science, Design and Technology and Food and Nutrition areas (See Section 7.7). This would therefore include AS/NZS 2982:2010 Laboratory design and construction which states:

10.3 ELECTRICAL SERVICES

All power to general purpose outlets for student use shall be supplied through an emergency/master control circuit operated by a suitably labelled push-button, with key-operated manual reset, located near the teacher's bench adjacent to the main gas isolating valves.[i]

In addition to general workplaces, schools have a duty of care to students as well as their staff. Whilst there may be a range of jurisdictional variations throughout Australia with regard to school buildings, Science ASSIST recommends the implementation of best practice for the science area and supports as a minimum, compliance with the following Australian Standards:

  • AS/NZS 2982:2010 Laboratory design and construction
  • AS/NZ 2243 Safety in Laboratories Series

Science ASSIST will be developing a set of guidelines for the design and planning of school science laboratories, which will be aligned with good practice as detailed in the Australian Standards. They will also give consideration to risk management policies and flexible learning areas to support practical activities required for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Science.

[i] This extract is from AS/NZS 2982:2010 ‘Laboratory design and construction’ reproduced with permission from SAI Global Ltd under Licence 1407-c117

by Jenny Beeck on 27 January 2015

Thank you so much for such a comprehensive answer.
Much appreciated.

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