Electrical product approval
Safety approval of electrical products
Selling, hiring and advertising certain electrical products (proclaimed products) in South Australia is controlled under the Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000.
In South Australia, there are a number of classes of proclaimed products that have been identified as having the potential to pose safety risks when used by households. Proclaimed products must have safety approval from an Australian approving body before they can be sold, let, or offered for sale or hire in South Australia.
Standards under the Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000 identify the basic requirements that products must meet to be considered electrically safe. A safe electrical product will typically have protection from:
- live parts
- overheating during normal operation or foreseeable fault conditions
- fire propagation.
A safety approval indicates that the product has been type tested to the relevant safety standards and is therefore safe to use under normal conditions.
How to apply for a safety approval of an electrical product
Approval applications will only be considered for products manufactured in, or directly imported into, South Australia.
For information on legislative requirements in other Australian states, you need to refer to regulators in those states.
While it is compulsory for proclaimed products to apply for pre-market approval, you may also volunteer non-proclaimed products for approval. Approval certificates are usually issued for a period of five years.
Approvals issued after 1 January 2016
Since 2016, all new product approval applications must be submitted through the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) database.
A Certification Database Guide is available on the ERAC website to help you understand and use the database.
There are fees associated with using the approvals database:
- New applications – $400
- Change of marking modification – $100
- Extension – $250
- General modification – $150
- Modification – $200
- Renewal – $400
- Transfer – $100
Approvals issued before 1 January 2016
Existing certificates of approval/suitability issued by the Office of the Technical Regulator before 1 January 2016 are valid until the certificate expires or is cancelled.
As part of the approval application, you must pay an application fee, report check and certification fee, and an hourly fee for examining the accuracy of test reports.
Information required when applying for electrical product safety approval
To apply for safety approval of an electrical product, you must submit an application consisting of:
- a fully compliant test report covering the relevant safety standards from a recognised testing laboratory
- relevant photographs, illustrations, schematics and other descriptive material for the product being tested, or as required by the Office of the Technical Regulator
- where a CB certified test report based on an IEC standard is provided, it must also include assessment of the Australian variations of the standard, or a supplementary test report must be provided – test reports/certificates must be less than two years old
- if the product is to be certified and sold under a brand name or model number that is not listed on the test report/certificate, a statement from the manufacturer that the brand name or model number is identical to the sample tested and certified.
Safety testing, examination and recognised test laboratories
Applicants for product safety approval must submit a test report from an authorised local or overseas testing authority confirming compliance with relevant Australian/New Zealand standards. The Office of the Technical Regulator does not have a product testing facility.
All Australian approval authorities require the application of the approval and test specification as set out in the Standards Australia/New Zealand series.
Recognised laboratories for electrical product safety testing
A register of approved test laboratories, including details of the electrical equipment they are endorsed to test, is maintained by NATA.
NATA is the peak Australian accreditation body for laboratories that test electrical equipment to safety standards.
Safety and approval marking
A certificate of approval is issued to indicate a proclaimed product is approved.
Proclaimed products are required to carry the approval marking to indicate that they are approved for safety. Exemptions from this requirement are only given if the product's small size renders the application of approval marking very difficult.
Approval markings can also be carried by non-proclaimed products to indicate that they have safety approval. See Electrical safety marks – what to look for.
National recognition of safety approvals
Australian states and territories have similar legislation and rules for approving electrical products. This legislation provides for reciprocal recognition of approvals granted in any Australian state. This means that products approved in South Australia are recognised in all other states and approvals issued in other states are recognised in South Australia.
Importer and manufacturer responsibilities after safety approval
Importers and manufacturers who hold safety approval certificates are required by the Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000 to:
- maintain necessary levels of safety
- avoid the wrongful use of approval marks
- notify the Office of the Technical Regulator of any modification to a product
- notify the Office of the Technical Regulator of change of address within 21 days of the change.
The Act provides for the withdrawal of approvals as well as the application of penalties for offences committed under the Act. Under specific circumstances, authorised inspectors can enter traders' premises and inspect goods.
The product manufactured after the grant of an approval must be identical with the sample of the product that was originally tested. Any change in the design, material or components of the product constitutes a modification and must be submitted to the Office of the Technical Regulator for examination. The office may refer the product to a test laboratory for further testing.
Unsafe electrical products
Sale of electrical products, whether proclaimed or not, that are unsafe or potentially hazardous may be prohibited by the Office of the Technical Regulator under the Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000.
The Act also requires that electrical products offered for sale meet the requirements of the minimum safety standard as set out in the Australian Standard AS/NZS 3820.
The Office of the Technical Regulator investigates incidents that have caused or may cause electric shocks or fires, and undertake corrective and preventative action.
Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)
Energy performance of electrical and gas products is the responsibility of the Australian Government's Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
A number of products are covered by energy efficiency regulations and must meet certain regulatory requirements before they can be supplied or sold in Australia. For more information about MEPS, see the national energy rating website.
Australian standards for energy efficiency labelling
There are a number of standards that set out specifications and testing procedures to ensure that products are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they are described. Standards also set out specifications to ensure products meet certain energy performance levels and other energy efficiency requirements.
Find out more about how the standards are used in Australia and which standards apply to your products.
Electromagnetic compatibility of electrical products
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has put in place electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulatory arrangements for electrical and electronic equipment, as such products can interfere with radiocommunications.
Electrical and electronic equipment must comply with the ACMA regulatory arrangements that specify standards for performance in relation to radio energy emissions from equipment specifically in relation to interference.