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News Service – 18 May 2020

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  1. NSW BUILDING INQUIRY RECOMMENDS REGULATOR TO OVERSEE ELECTRICAL LICENSING, QUALITY AND SAFETY
  2. ELECTRICAL SAFETY PROJECT – UPDATE (ABOUT SAFE WORK PROCEDURES)
  3. MINE SAFETY NEW REPORT – DANGEROUS INCIDENT ELECTRICAL (IncNot0037311)
  4. ENA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO SUPPORT AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE GRID
  5. ELECTRICAL CABLE EXPLOSION DURING EXCAVATION WORK
  6. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 99 – 15 May 2020
  7. SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 98 – 12 May 2020
  8. BERT EVANS APPRENTICE SCHOLARSHIPS – APPLICATIONS FOR 2020 NOW OPEN

  1. NSW BUILDING INQUIRY RECOMMENDS REGULATOR TO OVERSEE ELECTRICAL LICENSING, QUALITY AND SAFETY

The NSW Public Accountability Committee (PAC) enquiry into the “regulation of building standards, building quality and building disputes” handed down its final report on 30th April 2020 (Report 6).  Key findings and recommendations in the report in relation to electrical work are as follows:

Recommendation 3 – Page 13

That the NSW Government empower the NSW Building Commissioner to oversee all licencing inspections, within the newly created Building Commission. Further, that the Building Commission hire additional, specialised inspectors to create a more robust inspection regime for building, electrical and plumbing work in New South Wales.”

Findings – Chapter 1 Developments since the first report (page 2)

Table 1 Recommendations made in the Public Accountability Committee’s first report – Recommendation 10:  That the NSW Government, as part of its implementation of Recommendation 1 of the Shergold Weir report, immediately investigate the current licencing system for building trades in New South Wales, giving particular consideration to:

  • the effectiveness of the existing inspection regime
  • the need for an independent examination of building trades before a licence is granted, especially for electrical trades
  • which additional building practitioners should be licenced, including, but not limited to, installation of medical gas and maintenance of fire safety systems.

Findings – Chapter 1 Developments since the first report (page 13)

1.48   The inquiry also received compelling evidence of unlicensed workers, particularly electrical workers, and a small number of specialised inspectors within the Department of Fair Trading.  The committee is concerned that these new inspectors will not have specialised expertise for electrical, gas or plumbing, or be conducting licence checks.

1.49   The committee believes that licencing and inspections, with the specialist expertise for these, should be centralised, under the supervision of the NSW Building Commissioner, within the newly created Building Commission. The committee also believes there should be additional licencing and specialist inspections across electrical, gas and plumbing in the New South Wales construction industry.

Recommendation three is timely.  It has been a position the industry at large, and particularly the industrial parties such as the ETU and Neca have been calling for to improve electrical safety in NSW.  Of most interest, is that the Committee was presented with compelling evidence of unlicensed workers, performing unlicensed work, particularly electrical workers, a matter of grave concern to anyone with interest in electrical work and safety. 

The evidence and findings are consistent with the information the Electrical Safety Project (ESP) members have identified in their deliberations and hopefully the pathway is now clear for the incoming NSW Building Commissioner, to facilitate the mechanisms that will increase accountability and improve electrical inspections and electrical work, resulting in better protections for consumers, the public and electrical workers.

The Report highlights and array of other important building recommendations and is worthy of a review to learn and understand where government policy may lead to in the very near future on this important matter.   If you would like to obtain a copy of the latest and final report visit the NSW Public Accountability Committee (PAC) website and link to Reports and Government Responses:

Important will be the Government’s response to the Report and follow through actions.  The Government in its response to the First Report, notes that the Committee has released a final report (the Final Report) on 30 April 2020.  The Government indicates it will provide a complete response to both reports in responding to the Final Report in due course.


  • ELECTRICAL SAFETY PROJECT – UPDATE (ABOUT SAFE WORK PROCEDURES)

We have previously highlighted the work the ESP is undertaking to develop and publish as open source information, a series of generic SWPs to help fill a gap, especially for small and self-employed to have access and develop a better understanding of what SWPs look like and how they can be used to help them prioritise and maintain safe work practices for their workers and themselves, in their day to day work activities.

Employers need to ensure the competence of their employees to work safely.  Training Organisations need some working knowledge of SWPs as they relate to the field of work.  Access to an array of generic SWPs developed for out industry context and made publicly available can serve as foundation reference information tool for employers and RTOs to build on.

The list of SWPs under development, of which there are many, and included in the attached document “About our Safe work Procedures”, can help create a broader information and knowledge base for the industry, and hopefully contribute to improved safety practices in the industry.  The attached paper is a short writeup about the Safe Work Procedures.  The SWPs, if signed by workers, provide some evidence that employers know their workers can do their jobs safely.  These are published as drafts – so that users can modify them if or as they wish.

As they are under development and in draft form, we are very keen to ensure their currency, accuracy and validity, and thus we welcome any feedback offered to improve their relevance.

For more information visit the ESP Project website where all the SWPS are now uploaded to:  http://www.esproject.com.au/


  • MINE SAFETY NEW REPORT – DANGEROUS INCIDENT ELECTRICAL (IncNot0037311)

Metals processing plant

Summary: An apprentice electrician suffered an electric shock when installing a bypass switch in a 240Vac electrical circuit. An isolation was put in place upstream and the cable was cut. As the apprentice was stripping the cable, he felt a tingling sensation and the electrician confirmed the presence of about 100 volts. A downstream uninterruptible power supply (UPS) was not isolated when the work commenced and a back-feed from the UPS was believed to be the source of the 100V. 

Recommendations to industry: Any isolation procedure should consider all potential sources of hazardous energy. Electrical isolations should be especially mindful of back-feeds, stored charges, induction and stored energy in circuit breaker springs. Test for dead verification tasks should then be performed to address each of the potential sources before starting work. 

For more information visit: Weekly Incident Summary – Mine Safety News


  • ENA ANNOUNCES PLAN TO SUPPORT AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE GRID

Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has announced the release of a position paper on how Australia’s energy system can best be managed to support the growing amount of distributed energy resources (DER) such as solar PV, batteries and electric vehicles.  It states that, “energy networks are planning for a future power grid that can securely support two-way electricity flows and allow customers to get maximum value from their rooftop solar and batteries”.

Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the paper summarised the network sector’s position on the Open Energy Networks Project.  “With the rapid uptake of solar PV and battery storage, some local electricity grids are becoming increasingly congested,” Mr Dillon said.

“This leads to voltage and frequency issues, which can cause damage to appliances and potentially risk the security of the electricity system. The only way to manage this currently without expensive network upgrades is to restrict customers exporting into the grid.

“The OpEN project has considered how best this problem can be managed so customers can get maximum value from their DER investments while keeping the grid secure and keeping costs to customers as low as possible.”

As well as considering system changes to enable DER to operate

For a copy of the position paper visit: ENA POSITION PAPER-AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE GRID


  • ELECTRICAL CABLE EXPLOSION DURING EXCAVATION WORK

SafeWork NSW have released an Incident Report regarding two workers who were seriously burned when an 11kV electrical cable exploded while they were excavating a pit in Eastern Creek.  See attached.

The ‘Incident Information Release’ notice provides a timely reminder of the importance of deploying safe work procedures in the conduct of work, especially risk assessments prior to the commencement of work.  It includes eliminating or minimising electrical risks, so far as is reasonably practicable.

SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.  It will be interesting to learn of the findings of the investigation and explore if human error precursors may have been a factor and whether training in human error mitigation maybe an area worth considering in the future to assist in minimising such incidents.  Useful links to guides are included in the attached notice.  Dial be you dig website: https://www.1100.com.au/


  • SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 99 – 15 May 2020

Please find attached Smart and Skilled Update No. 99, which covers the following:

  1. 2020-21 Smart and Skilled Contract Review Notices
  2. Changes to Smart and Skilled Contract Terms and Conditions and Operating Guidelines for the 2020-21 Activity Period
  3. Financial Cap allocations and Smart and Skilled Policy for Market Management for the 2020-21 Activity Period
    1. Financial Cap allocations for the 2020-21 Activity Period
    1. Smart and Skilled Policy for Market Management for the 2020-21 Activity Period
  4. Release of revised Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy (Version 2.4) and School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships Program Fee Administration Policy (Version 2.4)
    1. Summary of changes
  5. NSW Skills List and Smart and Skilled Prices and Fees Schedule Update – Versions 10.3 and 11.0 Released
    1. New qualifications on the Skills List
    1. Changes to the Skills List – superseded qualifications
    1. VTO changes affecting the NSW Skills List
  6. Changes to Smart and Skilled Qualification Prices
    1. Clustering of Smart and Skilled Prices
    1. Superseding Qualifications

For more information visit Training Services Smart and Skilled website section: SMART AND SKILLED


  • SMART AND SKILLED UPDATE No. 98 – 12 May 2020

Please find attached Smart and Skilled Update No. 98, which covers the following:

Training Needs Identification (TNI) Part Qualification funding for Priority Skills Sets – Bushfire Recovery and COVID-19 response

  1. Additional Local Government Areas (LGAs) for Bushfire Clean up Priority Skills Sets
  2. Changes to existing NSW Bushfire Recovery and COVID-19 Response Priority Skills Sets
  1. Foundation Skills Priority Skills Set – aimed at VET Teacher/Trainers delivering Foundations Skills training
  2. Plant Operations and Licensing Priority Skills Set – now split into individual Units of Competency (UOCs) for delivery
  3. Updates to Chain of Responsibility (Transport and Logistics Training Package) Priority Skills Sets
  4. Previous Personal Services/Community Services Priority Skills Set now available for delivery as two Health/Community Services Priority Skills Sets
  5. Update to superseded WHS UOC BSBWHS608A in COVID-19 Response Priority Skills Sets for Construction and Tourism sectors
  6. New Priority Skills Sets available for Statewide delivery under COVID-19 Response
  7. New Foundation Skills Priority Skills Sets available for COVID-19 response
  8. New Transport and Logistics Priority Skills Sets for COVID-19 response
  9. New Plant Operations Priority Skills Set available for COVID-19 response
  10. New Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Priority Skills Set available for COVID-19 response
  11. New Health and Community Services Priority Skills Set available for COVID-19 response
  12. Individual UOC HLTINF001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures now available for standalone delivery for COVID-19 response
  13. Individual UOC CHCDIS007 Facilitate the empowerment of people with disability now available for standalone delivery for the Disability sector for COVID-19 response
  14. New Agriculture Priority Skills Set available for Statewide delivery under COVID-19 Response and in eligible LGAs for Bushfire Clean up
  15. ‘Mixed’ employment status – not to be used against ICR COVID-19 and ICR Bushfire project codes in Training Needs Identification (TNI) applications
  16. Changes to white card training requirements due to COVID-19
  17. Promotion of approved Priority Skills Sets and other training delivered under the Smart and Skilled Targeted Priorities Prevocational and Part Qualifications Program

Appendix A: Revised listing of Priority Skills Sets (further to Smart and Skilled Update No. 96)

  • BERT EVANS APPRENTICE SCHOLARSHIPS – APPLICATIONS FOR 2020 NOW OPEN

The Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships were first launched in 2014 to assist apprentices who have experienced hardship in their life to successfully complete their apprenticeship.

The Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships assist apprentices in NSW who have demonstrated:

  • hardship in their personal circumstances
  • aptitude for vocational education and training to lead to successful completion of their trade training
  • a positive attitude and application in the workplace and in off-the-job training

There will be a maximum of 95 Scholarships awarded in 2020, including up to 20 Scholarships for Indigenous Apprentices under the Western Sydney City Deal and up to 5 apprentices who have completed one of the ‘Fit For Work’ programs under the NSW Police Commissioner’s RISEUP strategy.

Scholarships are open to NSW registered apprentices in both metropolitan and country areas, including school based apprentices.

The Scholarships are worth $5,000 each year for up to three years.

Applicants must be active in an approved apprenticeship at the time of being awarded the Scholarship.

To learn more about the eligibility criteria and application process, visit:  Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships