A residual current device (RCD), also known as a safety switch, is a safety device designed to trip or immediately turn off all power to the circuit the RCD is attached to. RCD testing involves deliberately tripping your RCD to check it will work effectively in the event of an electrical incident. The faster your RCDs trip, the less likely someone will sustain an electrical shock, or the smaller the electric shock is likely to be. RCDs must be regularly tested to confirm they’re working to the specified safety standards.
We recently completed a large RCD testing project for a hotel in Cairns. The venue had 6 floors with 493 RCD switches to be tested. One of the biggest challenges that we faced was working in with the hotel staff and cleaners in order to access the rooms and minimise disruptions. We used the list of rooms provided by reception to navigate which rooms were vacant or occupied to effectively cover all testing areas without interrupting staff or hotel guests. It took our team three days to complete the RCD testing in all rooms.
There are three main types of RCD safety switch tests that can be used. The first test is push button testing, that is conducted by pressing a button located on the RCD which in turn makes it trip. Secondly, we have injection testing that is performed by opening the switchboard and tripping each individual circuit to determine at what point the circuit trips at both 180 and 0 degrees. Only qualified electricians are permitted to complete this testing. Finally, the third test is called ‘load testing’, which can be performed on most power circuits. The technician uses an RCD tester by plugging it into a power point, tripping the circuit and then the RCD. Within each of the hotel rooms, we conducted load testing as it has the primary benefit of testing both the circuit and the RCD.
Throughout the testing, there were 9 RCDs that failed. Hotels often have a sub-board in each room as well as a main distribution board. The main objective with this, is to have the RCD in the room trip quicker than the main board. This means that if a dodgy appliance is plugged in a room, it will only trip the room and it can be easily switched back on. However, if the RCD trips all the way through to the main distribution board, it will cause a bigger issue for staff as they will need to have someone get into the board and fix the issue.
Our team managed to identify at what levels the sub-board in each room and the main boards tripped, to confirm that the sub-board was tripping prior to the main distribution board. We identified that nine sub-boards in the rooms were tripping after the main board, and consequently, we needed to swap them out. By taking that next step, we have put the hotel in a better condition for the future.
In Australia, RCD electrical installation testing must meet a set standard. This is the AS/NZS 3760:2010 in-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment. The frequency of electrical testing varies depending on the type of work being carried out in your workplace and the environment it's being done in. For hotels, electrical appliance testing and tagging should be completed on a 2 yearly interval to maintain compliant and RCD’s need to be tested annually.
Make sure your business is compliant today. Contact us now for a free quote.
Safety should be a fundamental concern to any building with a lot of traffic, especially hotels. At Voltec Maintenance, we have a suite of services available for hotel owners and hospitality venues. The prevention and management of risk is essential for the safety of staff members and patrons. You can ensure your business remains compliant with the following range of electrical testing services, including:
You can rest assured that our technicians are up-to-date with the latest national safety standards. Contact us for a quote.
Having an appropriate plan for scheduled electrical maintenance specific to your hotel or workplace’s requirements can drive your business forward. You could avoid or minimise the risk of costly breakdowns and business interruptions while protecting your staff and patrons from serious hazards like electric shock and fires. The best maintenance schedules incorporate preventative measures to optimise electrical components and equipment, as well as timely repairs where necessary. Electrical appliance testing and tagging, and RCD safety switch testing is extremely important for any hotel. Therefore, it should only be performed by a trusted expert.