From May 2021 a new regulatory framework for portable power boards comes into effect nationally. If you or your company plan to buy power boards in the future, it is in your best interest to familarise yourself with the basics facts about the new Australian Standard AS61439.
Published by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand on May 2016 to supercede AS/NZS 3439.
AS/NZS 61439 defines specific requirements for a range of electrical distribution boards according to their use.
AS61439.3 refers to residential, commercial distribution boards operated by ordinary persons.
AS61439.4 refers to assemblies for construction sites (ACS).
As at May 2021 (five years from its original publishing) only AS/NZS 61439 will be acceptable for specification of low voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies. The previous standards – AS/NZS 3439 will no longer comply.
All Powersafe’s power boards are subject to standards. Single phase (known as PSOAs “portable socket outlet assembly”) are subject to AS3190. Three phase boards (ACSs) are subject to the new standards.
All ACS units are subject to Australian standards, including AS61439 and may be subject to additional standards for construction or specialist use.
To be blunt, power board manufacturers selling products that do not meet these standards after May 2021 are breaking the law.
Due to the rapid change across the sector, and innovations in the design and manufacturing of electrical switchgear, the 23-year-old previous standards were becoming increasingly redundant.
AS61439 updates standards to current technologies and allows for future innovations and to bring Australia up to date with the international standards.
In addition, the new standard introduces greater clarity around the responsibilities of the manufacturer and the user. The user is empowered with the ability to verify that the products being purchased are indeed tested to under the new standards, and the manufacturer’s responsibility is to supply all relevant documentation or have them available upon request.
Ask your supplier for a copy of a compliance certificate of the ACS prior to purchase. Your potential supplier is required by law to supply you with the following on request:
If these cannot be supplied, you can assume that their products have not been tested to the standard.
From May 2021, if a buyer accepts a power board without verification that it is tested to meet AS61439 they are at risk of being financially and legally liable for any accidents or issues that may result from use of that board.
There are several changes, but the most important to note is the need for thermal testing of boards.
For all power board applications, temperature rise testing is required across the breadth of AS61439. If your power board does not include a thermal management system there is every change it will not comply with AS61439.
Assemblies for Construction Sites (ACS) – which are typically used outside – must be temperature rise tested to ensure that all components can operate within the individual specified temperature ratings, while taking into account heat generated within the board.
PSOAs are required to be certified to AS3190 to meet AS3012.
When considering your next purchase of smaller portable power boards (PSOAs), there is a simple three-minute search that will confirm or deny that product is compliant. This short exercise could save you thousands of dollars.
First, you can check whether any power boards are from a certified responsible supplier by searching on the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) website – eess.gov.au. It is mandatory for manufacturers or importers to be registered on this site.
Powersafe’s dedication to research, safety, and quality over the past 15 years, ensured that in the past their products met or exceeded previous standards (AS3012, AS3190), with several mandated features on our power boards which most other suppliers excluded.