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Approval of electrical articles 

Australian regulators of electrical appliances and equipment have determined that the risk to consumers from certain classes of electrical articles is such that they must be approved by the Commissioner for Fair Trading, or by an authorised external approval scheme, and carry the appropriate approval mark and comply with the relevant Australian Standard prior to sale in Australia. Such electrical articles are known as ‘declared’ articles.

Other electrical appliances and equipment, known as ‘non-declared articles’, must comply with the minimum safety requirements contained in Australian Standard AS/NZS 3820:1998.

Declared articles 

There are 56 classes of electrical items classified as declared articles. Examples include dishwashers, hairdryers, room heaters and sewing machines. For more information, view or download Explanatory notes relating to the requirements for the sale of electrical articles in NSW in PDF format (size: 724kb) or call 13 32 20 for a copy.

If you are selling declared articles, prior to accepting delivery of the articles, you should:

  • insist that your supplier provides you with a copy of an ‘Australian’ Certificate of Approval
  • confirm that an approval mark appears on the electrical articles and accessories.

Overseas Certificates of Approval and approval marks are not acceptable in Australia. For further information go to the Safe electrical goods - a guide for retailers and importers webpage.

The majority of Australian Standards applied to electrical articles are based on International (IEC) and European (EN) Standards. Test reports to these standards maybe accepted provided they address Australian deviations.

Approval of declared articles

NSW Fair Trading is authorised under the Electrical (Consumer Safety) Act, to certify declared articles for sale in Australia and New Zealand. The Energy and Utilities Unit of the Home Building Service undertakes this work.

The Act also provides for a number of private organisations to be recognised under the external approvals scheme. An approval issued by a government or authorised external approval scheme means the declared article can legally be sold in any state of Australia or in New Zealand.

Approval process

Approval is mandatory for declared articles. Approval may be granted for a declared article where it is shown that it complies with:

  1. the class specification (Australian Standard) associated with the relevant declaring definition, and
  2. any further requirements (eg. product standards) that may be applicable to the model because of its particular design.

An approval application must be made on the appropriate form (EEA1) and be accompanied by:

  • the application fee
  • evidence of compliance with the relevant requirements
  • comprehensive colour photographs (in some cases a sample of the article may also be sought)
  • a letter of authorisation, when an application is being lodged by an agent on behalf of the approval holder.

NSW Fair Trading may also seek additional information.

Approvals are usually granted for 5 years and may be renewed or extended upon application. However, for hair care articles such as hair strengtheners the approval is only for 2 years.

Modification of model approval

An application for modification of the model approval must be sought when the design, material or construction of a model article is changed in excess of the provisions of the general exemption. A general exemption has been issued to cover articles that differ in very minor variations such as substitution of equivalent components or changes in the styling or trim from the original model approval. It is not necessary to obtain approval of such modifications.

Application must be made on the appropriate form (EEA1) and be accompanied by the application fee and the same level of information submitted for the approval of the original article.

Note: The legislation requires that for declared articles, the complete modified article comply with the applicable class standard, including any amendments made since the approval of the original article.

Renewal of approval (including modifications)

Application must be made on the appropriate form (EEA2) and be accompanied by:

  • the application fee
  • evidence of compliance with the relevant requirements
  • comprehensive colour photographs
  • a letter of authorisation where application is being lodged by an agent on behalf of the approval holder.

The application must be submitted no earlier than 2 months and no later than 1 month before the original approval is to expire.

Notification of changes in particulars

Written notice should be provided to Fair Trading no later than 21 days of a change in any of the following:

  • name of the approval holder
  • model reference code
  • description (including Trade Name marking).

Notification must be made on the appropriate form (EEA3) and be accompanied by the application fee. A separate form must be completed for each certificate.

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Non-declared articles 

Voluntary approval may be sought for all other non-declared electrical articles, which must be safe to use and must comply with minimum safety requirements as set out in the Electricity Safety (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006 and the requirements of selected clauses of Australian and New Zealand standard AS/NZ 3820: 1998 Essential safety requirements for low voltage electrical equipment.

Approval may be granted where it is shown that the article complies with the relevant Australian Standard or product standards as determined by the certifying authority. An approval application must be made on the appropriate form (EEA1), be accompanied by the application fee and the same information as for a declared article.

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Investigations 

The Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act makes it an offence for a person to sell an article that has been declared under the Act as requiring certification if the article has not been approved for sale and marked with that approval.

Fair Trading investigators visit suppliers at regular intervals to inspect electrical goods being sold and can take action to prosecute suppliers selling unapproved, unmarked or non-compliant declared electrical articles. The current maximum penalty under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 is $825,000 or 2 years imprisonment.

Through the Energy and Utilities Unit, NSW Fair Trading maintains a proactive investigation, education and enforcement program to detect and prosecute persons who may be selling unapproved declared articles, including the sale of such items online.

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