Electrical Equipment Safety Scheme (EESS)

The EESS is an Australian regulatory framework aimed at increasing consumer safety when interacting with household electrical equipment. The EESS outlines the safety requirements for registration of equipment in a centralised national database.

Who must comply?

Everyone who manufactures or imports in-scope electrical equipment into Australia must comply.

What is in-scope?

Equipment that is designed, or marketed as suitable, for household, personal or similar use;


is rated at:

Greater than 50 V AC RMS or 120V ripple-free DC (extra-low voltage) and
Less than 1000V AC RMS or 1500V ripple-free DC (high voltage)

What about electrical equipment that is outside these ratings and/or is only industrial or commercial equipment?

The regulations require that all electrical equipment must be compliant with the relevant Australian standard. For equipment that is only commercial or industrial, the RCM is not required nor is registration on the National Database (It may be required by the ACMA). The requirement for this equipment is set out in the electrical safety regulations of each state and territory. To meet these requirements, apply AS/NZS 3820 and the applicable standard as referenced in AS/NZS 3820. Do not mark with the RCM. Do not register as a Responsible Supplier. Do make a Compliance Folder. A compliance folder contains a description of the equipment, photos and technical data including test data.

For some other types of equipment other regulations apply for electrical safety. For example, electrical safety requirements for machinery are also set out in Work Health and Safety regulations enacted by each state and territory and in the case of medical devices in that of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

In general, Australia is a highly regulated environment and suppliers to the Australian market must inform themselves of the applicable legislation and standards that apply to their products or risk fines and product recalls.

Compliance Levels

Under the EESS the electrical equipment is classified in one of three levels. Each supplier must demonstrate compliance with the applicable classification.

Level 1

Equipment classified as Level 1 is potentially low risk.

Evidence of compliance with the relevant standard + (Certificate of Suitability – Optional)

Level 2

Level 2 electrical equipment is classified as a potential medium risk level.

Evidence of compliance with the relevant standard + Compliance Folder + (Certificate of Suitability – Optional)

Level 3

Level 3 electrical equipment is classified as a potential high risk.

Evidence of compliance with the relevant standard + Certificate of Conformity – Mandatory
Each supplier then registers as a Responsible Supplier on the National Database, and enters the information required for the risk level that applies to their equipment. The Responsible Supplier prepares a compliance folder that includes the test report, technical report, certificate of suitability or approval and where required, product description and photographs. Then mark the product with the RCM.
All Responsible Suppliers must be registered on the national database as well as registering the level 2 and level 3 equipment they supply.

The supplier declaration is a generic declaration a Responsible Supplier makes that all electrical equipment they supply is electrically safe and will continue to meet relevant standards.

The Applicable Standards

For level 1 equipment AS/NZS 3820 (Essential safety requirements for electrical equipment applies). This standard and the applicable Australian and New Zealand standard (AS/NZS) applies. If there is not an AS/NZS standard the applicable International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) standard applies. If there is no applicable AS/NZS or IEC standard, then AS/NZS 3820 applies by itself.

For level 2 or 3 equipment the relevant standard as shown in AS/NZS 4417 (Marking of electrical product to indicate compliance with regulations) applies or the standard that is accepted by a Regulatory Authority as a standard that can be readily applied to that type of equipment.

Note, equipment tested to other standards, most commonly IEC standards, may be supplemented by additional assessment and the equipment found to be compliant with the applicable AS/NZS standard, including AS/NZS 3820, AS/NZS 4417 or that standard accepted by a Regulatory Authority (Australian state or territory or New Zealand government agency).

It is important to note that while Australian standards are based on IEC standards there are variations which need to be addressed in any test report and compliance documentation. It is the AS/NZS version that must be applied.

Summary of AS/NZS 3820

AS/NZS 3820 is referenced in Australian State and Territory electrical equipment safety legislation / regulations. Therefore, equipment that fulfils the relevant provisions of AS/NZS 3820 satisfies the acceptable minimum safety provisions of legislation. In general, under the provisions of AS/NZS 3820, equipment that:

• satisfies the requirements of the applicable published AS/NZS safety standard is accepted as complying; or
• is (regulatory) approved, (independently) certified, or covered by a recognized safety/test report to an acceptable safety standard is deemed to comply.

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