Any fuel or electrical-powered equipment has safety guidelines for proper use. In Australia, the government is concerned about environmental impacts as well, but always focus on “safety first.”
Property owners who hire a backup generator might be at greater risk for improper and risky generator usage because of their lack of experience. But even industrialised, large-level construction worksites that should have experienced employees sometimes don’t. A new worker can make mistakes.
Please read your generator hire’s instruction manual, pay close attention to installation, and post an operating process and known hazards sign visible from the generator platform.
Significant Risks – Generator Installation
Residential appliances may be sensitive to power surges, especially computers and televisions. Ask your generator installation professional or electrician about ‘clean’ power without power spikes, surges, or line noise. Because installing and operating generators pose safety risks, here are additional safety FYIs:
- A changeover switch must be installed to ensure the generator and “normal” electricity don’t operate at the same time.
- Consider the current rating of any flexible connection.
- Environment impacts include noise and fumes or fuel spills.
Generator hazards include carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or electrocution, and/or fire. Diesel fuel combustion generators produce much lower concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) than petrol engines, they can still generate lethal concentration in an enclosed space or under certain environmental conditions.
- Install an inlet for connection into the property’s electrical installation.
- Only use Australian-approved safety extension cords. The cords should be in very good condition, be protected from damage and have a current test & tag certificate.
- Never “modify” an extension cord to create a connection to a generator.
Severe penalties apply if your system does not comply with AS/NZS 3000:2007 safety standards. Your electrician/installation professional must offer a certificate of compliance to verify the work has been performed correctly and is safe for your use.
- Coiled power cables can get hot. Always fully unwind the power cable when operating the generator.
- Diesel and petrol and their vapors are highly flammable. Store extra fuel for your generator in a separate location and ensure the generator is cool before attempting to refuel it.
- If the generator stalls when you try to start it, turn off applications and appliances, restart the generator, then turn the appliances on one at a time.
- Never operate a generator near combustible material.
- Protect the generator from moisture and ensure its cables are suitable for its environment.
- Use the fuel your generator hire installation professional recommends because different fuels offer different performance levels. Stored fuel in an equipment tank may begin to deteriorate in as little as 3 weeks. Talk to your generator technician about proper onsite fuel storage.
Small Generator Cautions
The sound of your petrol-powered generator rumbling behind your house may be annoying . . . until it stops in the middle of the night. Someone decided to steal your generator. Homeowners can combine security and safety by sinking a grounding rod with an eye hook in cement for home-use generators. For caravaning, use a chain and padlock.