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Standard fact sheet.
Large print fact sheet.

Electrical power tools 

Whether you are a weekend renovator or a tradesperson, portable electrical power tools make the job easier. Never take them for granted however as electricity is unforgiving. Power tools must comply with Australian safety standards. Purchasers of portable electric power tools should report suspect sales to NSW Fair Trading.

Tips for consumers 

The Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (and relevant orders and regulations under it) require that portable electrical tools offered for sale to the general public:

  • comply with Australian Standards AS/NZS3100 and AS/NZS3160
  • be approved by NSW Fair Trading, and
  • be marked with an Australian approval number or mark.

Ask the sales person to show you the approval number or approval mark of a portable electrical power tool.

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What to avoid 

Power tools without an Australian approval number or mark could be unsafe. Overseas approval numbers or approval marks such as CE or GS are not recognised in Australia. Do not buy this equipment! Report these dealings to NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

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Tips for tradespeople 

Currently, electrical power tools promoted exclusively to industry need not be approved by NSW Fair Trading but they must comply with minimum safety standards as required by the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006. 

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Builder beware 

In recent years Fair Trading has become aware of imported power tools, not approved for sale, sold at NSW building sites. These tools may come in carry cases bearing well known trade names. The cases may be marked with a voltage or voltage range that does not include 240V or are equipped with different flexible cords or plugs that do not fit Australian power outlets and are not acceptable in Australia.

IMPORTANT – Power tools without an Australian approval number or mark could be unsafe. Don’t buy them!

The power tool carry case may include a travel adaptor to enable use in Australia. This is not acceptable, as the units are required by law to be fitted with an Australian approved plug.

Builders should be wary of building site sales and report suspect deals to NSW Fair Trading as quickly as possible.

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What to look for 

Employers, self-employed persons and employees have obligations under work health and safety laws. For example, employers must ensure their employees' safety at work and workers must take reasonable care of others' safety at their workplace. Severe penalties apply for breaches of these responsibilities. Although electrical power tools promoted to industry do not need NSW Fair Trading approval, you should request evidence from the seller that they comply with the minimum safety standards under the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Regulation 2006.

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What to avoid 

If the tool is not fitted with an Australian plug or does not have the usual warranty cards or instruction manuals do not buy it as it may not meet Australian safety standards! Report these to Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

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Anyone offering or supplying non-compliant, unapproved or unmarked power tools to the general public risks a maximum penalty of $825,000 for a corporation or $82,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment for an individual.

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Help stamp out unsafe power tools 

NSW Fair Trading investigators visit shops, market stalls, field days and auctions. They have the power to seize unapproved or unsafe electrical power tools, and order any person selling unsafe tools to carry out a public recall.

Promote safety by helping us stamp out the illegal sale of non-compliant and dangerous power tools. Contact Fair Trading to report suspect deals and concerns about the safety of portable electrical power tools for sale.

IMPORTANT – When buying electrical power tools, always ask the salesperson to show you the approved number or the approved mark.

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