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NEWS SERVICE 45 – DESE Skills Reform Survey, Installing Solar Campaign, Problems-Electrotechnology Training Package continue, Dodgy Electrical Work Fine, Health Safety, SURVEYS – Wiring Rules & Neca Industry, RAC Upskilling, Safety Switches, Solar Standards, Product Recall

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  1. DESE PLANS TO HOLD FURTHER EVENTS IN THE FUTURE – SKILLS REFORM FOR BUSINESS-EMPLOYERS
  2. MINISTER ANNOUNCES – BE SAFE WHEN INSTALLING SOLAR CAMPAIGN
  3. PROBLEMS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE ROLL-OUT OF THE ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE
  4. ELECTRICAL WORKER FINED $30,000 FOR DODGY ELECTRICAL WORK AND NO LICENCE
  5. HELPING TO CREATE PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY AND SAFE WORKPLACES
  6. WIRING RULES FEEDBACK SURVEY
  7. NECA – MARKET MONITOR IS BACK AND WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!
  8. UPSKILLING REFRIGERATION AND AIR CONDITIONING (RAC) WORKFORCE
  9. ELECTRICAL SAFETY SWITCH PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
  10. ENA WELCOMES AEMC ROOFTOP SOLAR STANDARDS
  11. PRODUCT RECALL – HOME ENERGY BATTERIES

1. DESE PLANS TO HOLD FURTHER EVENTS IN THE FUTURE – SKILLS REFORM FOR BUSINESS-EMPLOYERS

NSW UE ITAB received a number of complaints last week from readers regarding access to the business and employer event on Skills Reform, that was oversubscribed.  DESE stated, “it was very popular, and places filled up quickly.”  They advised that they are planning to do further events in the future and are encouraging interested stakeholders to visit www.skillsreform.gov.au regularly to see what opportunities may become available.

In the interim, they referred to a number of surveys that are open, and replicated below, which they invite participation in, should they be relevant:

  • Make a submission: Provide your views by responding to the Improving industry engagement and reforming qualifications in Vocational Education and Training Discussion Paper. There are several questions presented in this paper. In your submission you can respond to all of them, or just the ones that are most relevant to you.
    Closes: 12pm AEDT Monday 1 March 2021
  • Survey for Businesses: Employers and businesses are invited to have your say on what you need from the VET system so it meets the skills needs of your business now and into the future.
    Closes: 12pm AEDT Monday 8 March 2021.
  • Supporting VET Workforce Quality Survey: This survey is for anyone who engages with the VET sector, including trainers, assessors and RTO managers, as well as peak bodies and employers. The survey is intended to help identify the strengths of the VET workforce, and areas for improvement and further support.
    Closes: 9am AEDT Monday 15 March 2021
  • RTO Standards Survey: Active users of the Standards for RTOs 2015 such as RTOs, trainers and assessors, and VET experts are encouraged to complete this survey. It seeks feedback on the general effectiveness of the Standards as well as individual clauses and schedules.
    Closes: 9am AEDT Monday 15 March 2021
  • RTO Quality Survey: This survey explores issues relating to the quality of RTOs. RTOs, employers, industry bodies and other VET stakeholders are encouraged to give feedback to help build a better understanding of what high-quality RTO practices look like and how governments can better support RTOS to deliver high-quality training.
    Closes: 9am AEDT Monday 15 March 2021
  • Training Experience Survey: This survey seeks feedback on the experience of those who have undertaken training (or their parents/carers) in the VET system in the last five years.
    Closes: 9am AEDT Monday 15 March 2021
  • RTO Student Pulse Survey: This short survey seeks feedback from students who have undertaken training in the vocational education and training (VET) system in the last five years. The survey aims to gauge the views of students and help us to improve the quality of training delivery by informing our understanding of where quality needs to be lifted, and what sets excellent registered training organisations (RTOs) apart.
    Closes: 9am AEDT 15 March 2021

For the lasts consultative activities DESE has underway or for the latest information, visit:  https://www.dese.gov.au/skills-reform-consultation; or, email the team at:  vet‑reforms‑engagement@dese.gov.au


2. MINISTER ANNOUNCES – BE SAFE WHEN INSTALLING SOLAR CAMPAIGN

SafeWork NSW has advised that the “Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, has announced (attached) that SafeWork NSW inspectors are targeting rooftop solar panel installation, as part of our ongoing focus on reducing fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry.”

The announcement along with the Minister’s media release stated, “Most serious solar installation incidents reported to SafeWork include workers falling from ladders, off or through roofs – such as polycarbonate plastic roof sheeting – and electric shock.

Inspectors continue to see unacceptable safety levels in the industry, with some installers using inadequate or no fall protections, or not isolating electrical power”.

The Minister for his part said, ““Last year we saw around 90,000 installations across the state and no doubt there will be even more this year, as many of us look at new ways to reduce costs of living. …

While our focus is on proactively raising awareness of safe practices, we will be taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who put workers’ lives at risk by not using the right safety gear or conducting work without a licence.  …  Businesses that sell, design and install solar systems have duties to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe for every worker.”

Suggestions promoted by SafeWork NSW include ways to get help, stating, “SafeWork has worked with industry to develop a Guide to Safe Solar Panel Installation and a Solar Installers Safety Checklist (also see attachedguide and checklist).

Online Eventbrite information sessions will be held throughout March/April to assist installers understand their safety obligations. …  You can also apply for a $500 small business rebate after attending an online safety session to assist in purchasing safety equipment.”

Advice is also offered as to how one can work safely when installing solar including a reminder, “There is no excuse to not have fall and electrical protections in place to protect workers.

On the spot fines of up to $3,600 for businesses and $720 for individuals apply for putting workers lives at risk when working at heights.

For more information on how to work safely when installing rooftop solar panels, see the SafeWork NSW solar panel installation safety webpage, or call 13 10 50.”


3. PROBLEMS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE ROLL-OUT OF ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE

Three core units in the UEE30820- Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician have been included in the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical (UEE62120) rendering the qualification inaccessible to year 11/12 learners.  RTOs, such as TAFE, who in the past have provided an open pathway to this knowledge rich qualification will be unable to enrol learners in this updated qualification, as the new evidence requirements encompassed in the three core units are impractical to achieve.  RTOs would be left with a choice, either ignore the evidence requirements or simply remove the qualification from scope.

These three units in the new Electrotechnology Training Package, require evidence to be “gathered in authentic workplace operational conditions (not simulated) before final determination of competence in this unit can be made”.  These units pose supplemental resource requirements for RTOs, as simulation is not accepted in relation to workplace evidence.  Given the qualification is designed for year 11/12 learner entrants who are not likely to be employed, working or permitted to undertake such electrical work in a workplace, the units cannot be completed and thus the qualification cannot be issued.  In turn learners would be denied access to a very well-intentioned and useful qualification.

The three units of competency that require evidence to be “gathered in authentic workplace operational conditions (not simulated) before final determination of competence in this unit can be made”, are as follows:

  1. UEEEL0008- Evaluate and modify low voltage heating equipment and controls
  2. UEEEL0009- Evaluate and modify low voltage lighting circuits, equipment and controls
  3. UEEEL0010- Evaluate and modify low voltage socket outlets circuits

The Companion Volume Implementation Guide (CVIG) for the UEE Electrotechnology Training Package Release 2.0, produced by Australian Industry Standards (AIS) the SSO for the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC) states at page 47, that the purpose of the additional “authentic workplace operational conditions (not simulated)” requirements or ‘Electrical Assessment Conditions’ is to ensure that evidence is gathered in authentic workplace settings and not limited to activities completed in institutional environments.”

Further it states, “Where the above requirements are included, evidence must be gathered in authentic operational settings. During training plan development, consideration must be given to the candidate’s ability, within the scope of their employment, to demonstrate Performance Evidence requirements on the job. This may require additional work placement/s outside of the apprentice’s/learner’s place of employment, where the employer’s normal activities do not provide the scope of works required.  The use of workplace logbooks, journals and/or a profiling system will support implementation of these requirements.” 

Refer to ‘Assessment Conditions’ in these specific units of competency, which state, “Assessment must occur in suitable workplace operational situations where it is appropriate to do so, where this is not appropriate, assessment must occur in suitable simulated workplace operational situations that replicate workplace conditions. In addition, evidence of Performance Evidence requirements of this unit must be gathered in authentic workplace operational conditions (not simulated) before final determination of competence in this unit can be made.”

This later sentence of Work Performance Evidence (WPE) clearly establishes a mandate for evidence to be gathered directly from the workplace under actual operational conditions.  Therefore, RTOs must look to establish processes and practices that will gather and confirm the learner/apprentice has demonstrated competent performance in the relevant ‘Performance Evidence’ required of each unit of competency, in a workplace setting, sufficiently and autonomously, as stated in the unit to “satisfy all of the requirements of the elements, performance criteria and range of conditions (i.e. each specified range item) on at least two separate occasions”.  Cohorts of prospective leaners in the above referred to qualification will not be able to meet these requirements.

This issue along with a list of other issues were brought to the attention of the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC), who nonetheless proceeded to progress the Training Package to endorsement.  Now, if RTOs follow the requirements in these units of competency learners can no longer access the qualifications and are denied a potential pathway to a career. 

Both the IRC and AISC should immediately look to address this unintended calamity so that learners can once again be given access to a valued qualification.  The NSW UE ITAB encourages RTOs who seek to offer the qualification contact the IRC and AISC and outline their concerns.  Contact information is as follows:


4. ELECTRICAL WORKER FINED $30,000 FOR DODGY ELECTRICAL WORK AND NO LICENCE

Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office reports in its latest eSafe Electrical bulletin of a significant fine issued to a worker undertaking electrical for multiple offences.  It states, “A man who installed air conditioning units around Brisbane in late 2017 has been convicted and fined $30,000 for multiple offences. He was charged under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 with:

  • conducting a business involving the performance of electrical work without holding an electrical contractor licence,
  • failing to comply with electrical safety duty, exposing an individual to the risk of death or serious injury,
  • eight charges of failing to ensure that electrical work performed on an electrical installation complied with the Wiring Rules.”

More information is provided in the medial release (10 Feb 2021) at: COURT IMPOSES $30,000 FINE FOR DODGY ELECTRICAL WORK AND NO LICENCE

For a list of prosecutions performed in 2021, 2020 and prior visit: OFFICE OF THE WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY PROSECUTOR – E.G. Company fined $6,000 for unlicensed asbestos removal.

Further information


5. HELPING TO CREATE PSYCHOLOGICALLY HEALTHY AND SAFE WORKPLACES

Safe Work Australia is promoting a new online tool that helps businesses identify, assess and manage psychosocial risks at work.  Safe Work Australia states, ‘People at Work’ “is free and easy to use and helps businesses to identify key psychosocial hazards in the workplace and provides guidance on practical ways to manage them.

The benefits of a systematic approach to psychological health include decreases in work-related injuries, illnesses, claims, absenteeism and turnover, and results in increases in engagement, productivity, job satisfaction and attraction of top talent.

People at Work was developed through collaboration by Australian work health and safety regulators and leading researchers and can be accessed via:  SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA

For more information visit the PEOPLE AT WORK WEBSITE” – Australia’s only validated psychosocial risk assessment survey.  Explore e-learning modules, resources and how People at Work can help businesses improve mental health in their workplace.


6.      WIRING RULES FEEDBACK SURVEY

Standards Australia has advised that feedback is sought on AS/NZS 3000 Wiring Rules, stating in its circular, “Standards Australia are currently seeking feedback from those who interact with AS/NZS 3000, also known as the wiring rules.

The Wiring Rules Feedback Survey will assist the committee of experts responsible for the standard continue to set the benchmark for electrical installations and electrical work.

All those who complete the survey will enter in a draw to win one of ten $50 e-gift cards. … If you have any further questions, please access the Terms & Conditions or reach out to mail@standards.org.au.”


7. NECA – MARKET MONITOR IS BACK AND WE WANT YOUR FEEDBACK!

Survey Reminder!!  NECA has forwarded information encouraging industry stakeholders to have their say.

NECA’s 2021 Market Monitor biennial survey is the most comprehensive survey of the electrotechnology industry in Australia and has been taking the pulse of the electrical and communications industry for the last decade.

Your participation enables NECA to engage with industry, government and key stakeholders on the issues that matter most to you, identify future trends and build market insights for the benefit of our industry.  … Individual survey responses are confidential and entrants will have the chance to win one of ten (10) VISA Gift cards valued at $500 each.

As a respondent you will receive a special report, not made publicly available, which summaries rates and charges per state/territory and size of business. This includes industry charging methods, call out fees and hourly charge out rates for both tradesman and apprentices by year.

The survey closes on Friday 16 April.  …  HAVE YOUR SAY and make a difference to the future of your industry!

For more information about NECA’s Market Monitor industry survey, email research@neca.asn.au


8. UPSKILLING REFRIGERATION AND AIR CONDITIONING (RAC) WORKFORCE

Sandra Rossi at Climate Control News (CCN) gives an account on the latest report released by Australian Industry Standards (AIS) on developments to facilitate inclusion of new skills and updated qualifications for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) technicians in the Electrotechnology Training Package.  The articulate states, “The 2020 Electrotechnology Skills Update, which is published every three years to identify skills in demand and to update VET qualifications, said three trends are impacting the RAC workforce.

These are Internet of Things (IoT) technology, solar installations and natural refrigerants.

The report said IoT technology has led to a massive uptake of smart devices at home which is why electrotechnology workers will need to be upskilled.”  …

The federal government has set a target to reduce HFC emissions by 85 per cent by 2036.

Skill development across the Electrotechnology workforce will be needed to ensure understanding and knowledge of the associated risks with new refrigerants and to ensure adequate safety training in the operation, installation and maintenance of these updated systems.

Many of the new skills technicians need today are included in the new Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.”  For older technicians who already have an older Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration qualification, an array of Skill Sets cover these new requirements and will provide opportunities for them to upskill.

In relation to assessment tools and resources, the article states, “To ensure the implementation of the new course is consistent across the entire country, assessment tools are being developed by a representative group of refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) teachers known as the RACTA (Training Alliance).

Currently the Alliance has 67 members representing almost all of the RAC trade teachers in Australia from both public (TAFE) and private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

RACTA is seeking support from industry to ensure the tools meet the needs of employers.

Interested parties should contact Steve Smith at the Superior Training Centre.”  STC’s contact details are:  T: (02) 9618 6809, E: info@stc.nsw.edu.au, W: www.stc.nsw.edu.au


9. ELECTRICAL SAFETY SWITCH PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN CONTINUES

Readers might recall that an earlier News Service in December of 2020, which reported on a campaign the Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson announced in late November 2020 regarding the promotion of electrical Safety Switches.  From all accounts the campaign is proving successful, facilitated largely through the use of a significant social media and online strategy. 

We understand the campaign has so far achieved the following:

  • 48,000 unique page views of the new electrical safety hub (+150% above target)
  • 2.27 million impressions on social media with 110,000+ click throughs (175% above target)
  • 85,000 social media impressions among Cantonese and Mandarin speakers
  • Best performing video (with fireman) has 5% click through rate which is 25 times more than the standard NSW Govt benchmark of 0.2%
  • Our translated fact sheets have been distributed widely to CALD community members in NSW

If you would like to know more or be part of the advocacy to promote safety switches the Department of Customer Service has developed a series of campaign and stakeholder communications resources at the following URL: https://www.nsw.gov.au/campaign-resources/electrical-safety-switches

The resources on the webpage have been developed to help organisations share information about household electrical safety during November 2020 to April 2021.  Available are flyers and images, as well as videos – e.g.


10. ENA WELCOMES AEMC ROOFTOP SOLAR STANDARDS

In its latest Media Release, “Energy Networks Australia (ENA) has welcomed new standards announced today by the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) to help the electricity grid handle increasing amounts of rooftop solar.

ENA Chief Executive Andrew Dillon said it was particularly positive that the AEMC had decided to introduce the standards within the existing framework rather than create new rules.

“It is important that regulatory bodies support the most efficient pathways to enable new technologies and integrate distributed energy resources like solar and batteries into the grid,” he said.

“These new standards will help networks ensure the growing amounts of rooftop solar can operate efficiently and safely and more customers can connect their devices to grid.” …

“With ever-growing new connections of solar and batteries, it’s important we deliver solutions that can work in all the vastly different system conditions right across the country.

“Uniform standards make sense, but a centralise-everything policy approach to integrating new technologies will be costly for customers and cause problems in many regions.”

For more information and a full version of the media release, CLICK HERE

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) reflected on developments in this regard, stating, “Compulsory new standards are on the way for household energy technologies that connect to the power system, such as solar panels, the Australian Energy Market Commission announced today.

“These new minimum technical standards are part of a raft of changes we are looking at to future-proof the power system so it can confidently handle more solar,” said AEMC Chief Executive Benn Barr.

“The rapid uptake of solar means we must act now to make sure this technology and the system it uses work hand in hand.

“We need to keep pace with the change underway – nearly three million households and small businesses have taken up solar, and the demand for household batteries and electric vehicles will increase over time.

“These new standards allow us to do two important things at once – welcome more new technologies into the power system and at the same time help protect grid stability. The more we keep the system stable, the more solar we can connect up and the faster we can decarbonise.”  …

It applies to all jurisdictions in the national electricity market and will take effect from December 2021.”  Visit the following link for more information:  NEW STANDARDS WILL HELP POWER SYSTEM HANDLE MORE HOME SOLAR


11. PRODUCT RECALL – HOME ENERGY BATTERIES

Product Safety Australia, part of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has circulated an Electrical Product Recall notice for the ‘ESS Home Energy Storage System Batteries’ supplied by LG Energy Solution Australia Pty Ltd.  Model numbers include the following:

  • RESU7H_Type R
  • RESU10
  • RESU10H Type-C
  • RESU10H_Type R
  • EM048063P3S4
  • EM048126P3S7

These ESS Home Batteries are installed as part of a residential energy solar system which allows owners to capture and store energy from solar panels. Each ESS Home Battery is marked with a unique serial number. 

IDENTIFICATION: The affected ESS Home Batteries are equipped with cells from specific production lots manufactured between March 2017 and September 2018.

DEFECT: The batteries may overheat and catch on fire.

HAZARD: If the batteries overheat, there is an increased risk of fire which may result in an injury or death and/or property damage.

ACTION REQUIRED: If you believe you have, or have installed, one of the ESS Home Battery models above please immediately contact LG Energy Solution Australia’s product department to arrange an inspection and (if applicable) a replacement of an affected ESS Home Battery free of charge.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY RECALL ALERT IS ATTACHED For more information visit:  PRODUCT SAFETY AUSTRALIA RECALL