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News Service 20 – Electrical safety; Improving pathways for senior students – Shergold Report; Workplace Mental Health Free Webinar (AMCA); NSW Tech Sector Sovereignty; Electric Vehicles (EV) Revolution; Hydrogen conversion; Global call for action HVAC&R

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  1. TIMELY REMINDER TO FOLLOW SAFE WORK PRACTICES – ELECTRICAL
  2. IMPROVING PATHWAYS FOR SENIOR STUDENTS – PROF. PETER SHERGOLD REPORT
  3. WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH – STEPPING UP THE CHALLENGES THROUGH COVID-19 (FREE WEBINAR)
  4. NSW MOVES ON TECH SECTOR SOVEREIGN CAPABILITY
  5. COULD VEHICLE-TO-GRID ACCELERATE THE EV REVOLUTION?
  6. CAN WE CONVERT TO HYDROGEN? HISTORY SUGGESTS YES
  7. GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION – HVAC&R

1. TIMELY REMINDER TO FOLLOW SAFE WORK PRACTICES – ELECTRICAL

Mine Safety Heath Administration (MSHA) USA reports of a mine fatality involving an electrical incident.  The report states, “on July 9, 2020, a mine superintendent was electrocuted while attempting to reverse the polarity of a 4,160 VAC circuit by switching the leads inside an energized 4,160 VAC enclosure that contained a vacuum circuit breaker and disconnect.

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The ‘Fatality Alert’ issued by MSHA also provides a series of best practice steps to follow before performing electrical work inside a High Voltage (HV) enclosure:

  • Locate the High Voltage (HV) visual disconnect away from the enclosure that supplies incoming electrical power to the enclosure.
  • Open the visual disconnect to provide visual evidence that the incoming power cable(s) or conductors have been de-energized.
  • Lock-out and tag-out the visual disconnect yourself. Never rely on others to do this for you.
  • Ground/earth the de-energized conductors.
  1. Verify circuits are de-energized using properly rated electrical meters and non-contact voltage testers.
  2. Ensure properly qualified miners/personnel perform all work on High Voltage (HV) equipment.
  • Wear properly rated and well maintained personal protective equipment, including arc flash protection such as a hood, gloves, shirt and pants.
  • Train miners/personnel on safe work practices for High Voltage (HV) electrical equipment and circuits.

This is the 11th fatality reported in 2020, and the first classified as ‘electrical’.”

In Australia it is worth remembering there is a specific Code of Practice available from Safe Work Australia on ‘Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace’, October 2018 which can be downloaded from the following link:  MODEL CODE OF PRACTICE: MANAGING ELECTRICAL RISKS IN THE WORKPLACE

There is also the NSW SafeWork Code of Practice, August 2019 available at: SAFEWORK NSW CODE OF PRACTICE, MANAGING ELECTRICAL RISKS IN THE WORKPLACE, AUGUST 2019

Augmented with local/organisational workplace Safe Systems of Work policies and procedures, such as, Safe Work Methods Statements/Safe Work Procedures these Codes of Practice provide essential life saving advice, and should be known, passed-on, talked-about and followed by all electrical workers seeking to ensure they, their work colleagues and others stay safe, and are not exposed to potential electrical incidents under their purview. 

Moreover, these Codes of Practice should be an essential resource in all training and assessment activities involving all forms of electrical work.

Stay tuned for next week, when we report on the outcomes of the “Safety Competence in the Electricity Industry” – http://www.esproject.com.au/


2. IMPROVING PATHWAYS FOR SENIOR STUDENTS – PROF. PETER SHERGOLD REPORT

In a joint media release by the Minister for Education, The Hon Dan Tehan MP and the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, on 23rd July 2020, announced the release of a new report that examined how students could be supported to choose the best pathway into work, further education or training.  The report sets out recommendations to improve how senior students learn about their opportunities to pursue work or further studies.

The media release states, “The Morrison Government welcomes the release of the final report of the Review of Senior Secondary Pathways, led by Professor Peter Shergold, Looking to the future – Report of the review of senior secondary pathways into work, further education and training.

The report makes 30 findings on the current senior secondary pathways arrangements and 20 recommendations on helping young people navigate their senior years and enter further study or the workforce.”

Key recommendations include:

  • Introducing a ‘Learner Profile’ that will identify a student’s range of skills, knowledge and experiences both from inside and outside the classroom.
  • Developing a ‘National Strategy’ with the Skills Council to deliver VET to secondary students.
  • Strengthening ‘Career Guidance’ by creating a network of hubs providing individualised career guidance with an initial focus on regional and remote areas.

“Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the recommendations made by Professor Shergold worked in conjunction with the Government’s plans to improve higher education and vocational education and training.

“Our Government wants universities to work more closely with local industries to improve workforce participation and productivity.”

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the Government strongly supported the report’s aims of strengthening the quality and relevance of vocational education and training in schools, while also supporting school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.

“Building engagement between schools and local employers exposes students to opportunities in their local area and helps them develop job-ready skills,” Senator Cash said.

“The report’s focus on the importance of high-quality career guidance for students aligns with our establishment of a National Careers Institute (NCI).

“The NCI is undertaking valuable work in bringing together schools, businesses, industry and career practitioners to help people successfully move through their chosen careers.

“The NCI’s Partnership Grants will also be announced in October.”

The Government will consider the recommendations of the review before working closely with state and territory colleagues on a response through Education Council.”

The review was led by Professor Peter Shergold AC, who spearheaded a panel of experts in school operations, industry, vocational education and training (VET), university entry requirements, student engagement and wellbeing, and the delivery of secondary education to disadvantaged students. The review panel included:

  • Chair – Professor Peter Shergold AC
  • Professor Tom Calma AO
  • Ms Sarina Russo
  • Ms Patrea Walton
  • Ms Jennifer Westacott AO
  • Dr Don Zoellner
  • Mr Patrick O’Reilly

It is fair to assert that there is nothing substantively new in the findings that were not already known and outlined in a number of other similar focused reports.  More importantly many of the recommendations are not surprisingly new either.  Notwithstanding, the report is welcomed, and given the Government has established the National Careers Institute (NCI) and the National Skills Commission (NSC), and will consider the recommendations, and in light of recent announcements by the Prime Minister of VET Reform, it is hoped that governments in concert with a range of industry stakeholders and the education and VET community can collaborate to implement many of the recommendations and provide a broader range of credible and distinctive pathways to young people than is currently provided.

For a copy of the report, “Looking to the future – Report of the review of senior secondary pathways into work, further education and training” visit the Education Council website http://www.educationcouncil.edu.au/ and follow the URL to: Reports and Publications / REVIEW OF SENIOR SECONDARY PATHWAYS INTO WORK, FURTHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING (Report)


3. WORKPLACE MENTAL HEALTH – STEPPING UP THE CHALLENGES THROUGH COVID-19 (FREE WEBINAR)

The Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA) advises of an important Mental Health free webinar it has scheduled for Thursday, 30 July 2020 at 9 am.  The promotional material states, “Do you know the signs to look out for to identify whether a colleague is not coping? Do you know what to do if a staff member is suicidal? Could you benefit from some strategies for protecting your own mental health?”

The free webinar will be hosted by Chris Lockwood, CEO of Mates in Construction will take us through some practical strategies for promoting good workplace mental health and the steps to take to assist colleagues and yourself to get through the challenges of the pandemic, including:

  • Practical steps to take in the workplace to promote good mental health
  • How to identify when a staff member is not coping, and what steps you should take
  • What to do if a staff member is suicidal. What to say. What action to take. What support mechanisms are available. Where to seek help.
  • The importance of protecting your own mental health

Mental health is a growing issue in the community and the workplace, and developing an understanding how to identify, help or provide pathways to assistance may save a life. 

A feature on the presenter states, “Presenter: Chris Lockwood, CEO, MATES in Construction … For the last 10+ years Chris has led initiatives to reduce the incidence of suicide and poor mental health through workplace based initiatives.

As the National CEO for MATES in Construction, Mining and Energy, Chris works to affect change every day in our workplaces. MATES are a leading evidence-based suicide prevention program delivered through the workplace and across industry in Australia.

Having delivered face-to-face programs to over 20,000 workers, MATES improves the mental health of all of us at work through trusted workplace development programs, on-site workshops, individual case management and helpline services.”

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know needs help, think of providing, in a sensitive way, the following supportive avenues: Lifeline 13 11 14, QLife 1800 184 527, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800, MensLine Australia 1300 789 978, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, Beyond Blue 1300 224 636, or Headspace 1800 650 890.

To register for the event go to this link:

This is a not-to-be missed webinar for all executives, managers, business owners and workers in the construction industry.

A sincere thanks goes to AMCA for advancing the cause of mental health and for conducting the forthcoming free webinar.


4. NSW MOVES ON TECH SECTOR SOVEREIGN CAPABILITY

James Riley from AuManufacturing reports that the “NSW government has unveiled a tech procurement taskforce aimed at building sovereign capability and the transfer of skills and capability into the state’s public service delivery programmes.”

This is a very important decision by the NSW Government in relation to security and independence and worthy of further reading.  The article reports that, “Having last month announced $1.6 billion in economic stimulus funding over three years to build government digital infrastructure, the state is now setting up mechanisms to ensure those industry development dollars do not simply flow directly to the large multinational vendors and consulting houses.

The ICT and Digital Sovereign Procurement Taskforce will be made up of senior public servants from across government as well as industry groups representing the ICT sector, startups, regional suppliers and indigenous-owned businesses.

The taskforce will be chaired by Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello and will include Small Business Minister Damien Tudehope as a member. The Taskforce secretariat will be run out of the Department of Customer Service.

While the Australian Information Industry Group (AIIA) will represent the tech sector on the taskforce, the government has decided specifically to exclude as members direct representatives of the tech giants or other multinational suppliers.

Minister Dominello’s office is still sounding out which startup sector advocates to invite on the taskforce.”

To learn more about this very important development, visit the following URL:  NSW MOVES ON TECH SECTOR SOVEREIGN CAPABILITY


5. COULD VEHICLE-TO-GRID ACCELERATE THE EV REVOLUTION?

In their latest newsletter, Energy Network Australia (ENA) raises the issue of whether, “we can make EVs more affordable to run while also making our electricity grid stronger?”

It states, “With vehicle-to-grid charging, we could have our EV cake and eat it too”. The article takes a look at how it would work and what it might mean.

Reference is made of, “One of the largest vehicle-to-grid (V2G) electric vehicle (EV) trials in the world will be run in Canberra to understand the potential benefits of EVs with V2G technology.

ActewAGL will undertake the trial project funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) in collaboration with the Australian National University (ANU), Evoenergy, ACT Government, Nissan, JET Charge and SG Fleet.”

To explore this fascinating new technology story and the details of the pilot visit the following link: COULD VEHICLE-TO-GRID ACCELERATE THE EV REVOLUTION?

For more, contact Dr Monaaf Al-Falahi, at Energy Networks Australia (ENA).


6. CAN WE CONVERT TO HYDROGEN? HISTORY SUGGESTS YES

In another interesting article in the latest Energy Network Australia (ENA), the question of whether we can convert hydrogen is raised.  It states, “Hydrogen as a fuel is not new. We’ve used it before, but for different reasons. With gas and heavy industry moving down the path of sustainable hydrogen, it’s worth having a look to the past to see what lessons we can learn.”

The article explores in some detail this question and reports on the history of gas in Australia, and a new report by Dr Carol Bond and Dr Angus Veitch of the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre’s (FFCRC) highlights some previous infrastructure conversions in the energy sector.  It discusses the FFCRC report, which identified six lessons that applied to future conversions to hydrogen.

It concludes with the statement, “History tells us we can undertake a successful conversion to decarbonised gas if we bring people along with us. This community engagement is as essential a component of the journey to a clean energy future as the research and development.”

For more, contact Dennis Van Puyvelde, Energy Networks Australia (ENA)


7. GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION – HVAC&R

Sandra Rossi, from CCN reports on the Cooling Emissions and Policy Synthesis Report which was released by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) on the 17th July 2020.  The article states, “Worldwide, doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioners could save up to $US2.9 trillion by 2050 in reduced electricity generation, transmission and distribution costs alone.

Doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioning by 2050 would reduce the need for 1,300 gigawatts of additional electricity generation.

That figure is the equivalent of all the coal-fired power generation capacity in China and India in 2018.  … These figures where included in the report … and is a call to action for the HVACR industry and governments worldwide.”

To learn more about the report and its findings and recommendations visit the CCN LINK: GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION-CCN