For many years, the Electrical Appliance Safety Testing Industry has been growing in Australia. This has been predominately driven by an increasing understanding within industry of the need for higher awareness of electrical safety and due diligence. Workplace Health and Safety legislation and regulations, combined with Australian Standard publications, have helped define employer’s obligations and have provided framework for ongoing legislative compliance.
As a result, businesses have responded to employers needs for electrical testing service provision, and an industry - specifically servicing these requirements has formed. Over the past 15 years this has grown from a handful of local service providers, to a nationwide industry consisting of sole traders through to nationally operating organisations and franchise networks.
While generally very high levels of service are provided across Australia, an absence of formal licensing requirements and service provider regulation (in some states) have resulted in varying levels of competence and professionalism.
For many years, industry professionals have voiced the requirement for a central industry association. Their aim was to form an association with the goal to share best practise to improve the quality and skills of service provision, to provide a central point of communication for service providers and to establish a peak body to represent the growing industry. Unfortunately, due to the previously fragmented nature of the industry, previous attempts to create such an association have failed.
In March 2013 the Department of Justice and Attorney-General – Queensland commenced a review of the QLD Electrical Safety Regulation and issued a Regulatory Impact Statement. The aim of this review was to reduce regulatory red-tape through the proposed removal of the requirement to test and inspect appliances from Queensland Regulations.
Fearing this proposal would lead to diminished workplace safety and possible deaths due to poor electrical safety standards, a handful service and equipment providers combined resources to vehemently oppose the changes. Through open communication and liaison with government regulators, lobbying proved successful and the proposed changes were scrapped.
Communication channels between service providers had now opened and it was decided to leverage the momentum generated by the electrical regulation review to form the National Electrical Safety Testing Association. The inaugural meeting of the association was held in Brisbane in September 2013. At this time, committee members were determined, and the association became incorporated as of Friday 1st December 2013.