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Does my Exit and Emergency Lighting System need to be on a separate circuit to my General Lighting?

Sarah Allen

Your Exit and Emergency Lighting systems are required to be tested on a 6-monthly basis. These 6 monthly tests include a Discharge Test, Replacement of Tubes and Starters, and Cleaning of Diffusers.

When conducting the Discharge Test, your ATS technician will effectively remove all power from your Exit and Emergency Lighting systems to simulate a power outage. The Exit and Emergency Lighting system is then required to operate on battery power for a period of no less than 90 minutes.

Should your Exit and Emergency Lighting system be on the same circuit as your General Lighting circuit, for the Discharge Test to be completed in accordance with Australian Standards, the building lighting will also be switched off for a period of no less than 90 minutes. Depending on your location and the time the test is being conducted, this then plunges your facility in to darkness which is not ideal!

AS 2293.1 is the installation standard for Exit and Emergency Lighting systems. This Australian Standard came in to effect in May 2006 and states ….


Facilities shall be provided for conducting a discharge test on all emergency escape luminaires and exit signs without necessitating disconnection of supply to the normal lighting.

The requirement to have the circuit for new or modified Exit and Emergency Lighting systems separate to the General Lighting has been in place in Australian Standards since at least 2006. Whilst there is no legislative requirement to now separate the Exit and Emergency Lighting circuit from the General Lighting if your system was installed before 2006 (and no changes made since then), it makes practical sense to do so. If your system is being tested during the day, your staff will appreciate the general lighting remaining on so they can continue working safely; and if your system is being tested at night, provision of lighting is essential to satisfy your WHS obligations.

If you have any queries or require any further information, please feel free to contact Appliance Tagging Services on 1300 287 669 or

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