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News Service 123 – Skills shortfall in climate goals, Student courses Jan-Mar 2023, Government targets for apprentices, Crackdown on dodgy providers, NSW VET Review – progresses, Adv-Diploma Forum Newcastle – 25 Oct 2023, Smart & Skilled Update, It’s small business and safe work month, Powering Skills forums, Overseas qualified upskilling program, Nominate woman of the year, UEE & UET ASQA Transition period extension, ACCC LG Solar battery warning, InfiniSpark upgrades EL0039 and EL0014 test board, Heat pumps, Electrical incidents and shocks, Too many fatalities and injuries, NSW to legislate emissions targets, and latest energy news

uensw  > Industry News, News headlines >  News Service 123 – Skills shortfall in climate goals, Student courses Jan-Mar 2023, Government targets for apprentices, Crackdown on dodgy providers, NSW VET Review – progresses, Adv-Diploma Forum Newcastle – 25 Oct 2023, Smart & Skilled Update, It’s small business and safe work month, Powering Skills forums, Overseas qualified upskilling program, Nominate woman of the year, UEE & UET ASQA Transition period extension, ACCC LG Solar battery warning, InfiniSpark upgrades EL0039 and EL0014 test board, Heat pumps, Electrical incidents and shocks, Too many fatalities and injuries, NSW to legislate emissions targets, and latest energy news
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Download a PDF version of the News Service 123

Table of Contents

1. ETU WARNS OF SKILLS SHORTFALL IN NATION’S CLIMATE GOALS

San Williams reports in the 4 October 2023 edition of Electrical Connection of an anticipated the huge shortfall of skilled persons required to support Australia’s transition to a clean energy economy. 

The article state, “Electrical Trades Union (ETU) has warned of a skills shortfall that poses a major threat to the nation’s climate goals unless the federal government aggressively trains more electricians.

A report points to the immense scale of the challenge, showing an additional 32,000 electricians needed by 2030 and another 85,000 by 2050, according to Jobs and Skills Australia.

“The global shift towards renewable energy means that electricians worldwide are already in high demand, from California to Germany,” ETU national secretary Michael Wright says.

“With the federal government’s neglect of training over the past decade there’s now an urgent need for a renewed focus on vocational training, expansion of TAFE and making teaching careers in the industry more attractive.”

With the Rewiring The Nation initiative requiring 10,000kms of transmission lines to be built, there are just 32 apprentice transmission line workers in training.

Australia needs an extra 20,000 electrical apprentices each year for the next three years, based on current completion rates which represents a 240% increase.”

The report coincides with Power Australia initiative, which is focused on creating jobs, cutting power bills and reducing emissions by boosting renewable energy.

READ MORE HERE

The Clean Energy Generation Report:

The Report – “The Clean Energy Generation: workforce needs for a net zero economy” was published on 3 October 2023.  It includes 50 recommendations aimed at ensuring Australia has the skills and workforce required to meet our clean energy ambitions.

The report includes a holistic analysis of the existing and future needs of the clean energy workforce, training and education pathways, and opportunities to transform existing sectors through decarbonisation.

“Despite a proven need to increase the number of apprenticeships in relevant trades, there is significant underinvestment in this pipeline. Leveraging government procurement and financing is a way to set standards regarding apprenticeship uptake, workplace gender equality, and secure employment. …”

“The preliminary modelling suggests that under the central scenario we will need close to two million workers in building and engineering trades by 2050, an increase of around 40%.”

The Clean Energy Generation can be downloaded HERE


2. GOVERNMENT-FUNDED STUDENTS AND COURSES – JANUARY TO MARCH 2023

NCVER has released its latest publication on the state of Australia’s government-funded vocational education and training (VET) courses. 

The report provides a summary of data relating to students, programs, subjects, and training providers in Australia’s government-funded vocational education and training (VET) system. Government-funded is defined as Commonwealth and/or state or territory government-funded training delivered by contracted training organisations.

The data in this report covers the period of 1 January to 31 March 2023. For comparative purposes it also examines data for the same period of the previous year.

AUSTRALIA

In the three months ending 31 March 2023, 753 875 students were enrolled in government-funded vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. They included:

  • ▪ 739 680 students enrolled in nationally recognised training
  • ▪ 25 205 students enrolled in non-nationally recognised training.

There were 821 765 government-funded program enrolments in Australia comprised of:

  • ▪ 94.6% in nationally recognised programs
  • 90.5% were in qualifications: 82.5% in training package qualifications and 8.0% in accredited qualifications
  • 4.0% were in training package skill sets and accredited courses
  • ▪ 3.5% in locally developed programs
  • ▪ 1.9% in non-nationally recognised programs.

In the three months ending 31 March 2023, there were 744 010 government-funded nationally recognised qualification enrolments in Australia. The most popular level of education was Certificate III (373 585 or 50.2%), followed by Certificate IV (159 515 or 21.4%).

NEW SOUTH WALES

In the three months ending 31 March 2023, 292 310 students were enrolled in government-funded vocational education and training (VET) in New South Wales. They included:

  • ▪ 287 805 students enrolled in nationally recognised training
  • ▪ 13 490 students enrolled in non-nationally recognised training.

There were 328 050 government-funded program enrolments in New South Wales comprised of:

  • 90.1% in nationally recognised programs
  • 87.6% were in qualifications: 79.5% in training package qualifications and 8.1% in accredited qualifications
  •  2.6% were in training package skill sets and accredited courses
  • 5.9% in locally developed programs
  • 4.0% in non-nationally recognised programs.

In the three months ending 31 March 2023, there were 287 230 government-funded nationally recognised qualification enrolments in New South Wales. The most popular level of education was Certificate III (146 620 or 51.0%), followed by Certificate IV (75 510 or 26.3%).

REVIEW THE REPORT HERE


3. APPRENTICE TARGETS FOR MAJOR PROJECTS OUTLINED IN DRAFT GUIDELINES

TAFE Directors Australia (TDA) reported in its 9 October 2023 newsletter of the Government’s initiative to increase women participation in apprenticeships in flagship projects. 

The article states that, “Firms engaged on major government funded construction projects will need to have at least 12% of women apprentices by 2030, and higher targets on flagship projects, under draft guidelines for the Australian Skills Guarantee, released last week.

The Skills Guarantee Working Draft sets a national target for one-in-ten workers on major government projects to be an apprentice or ICT cadet, commencing next July.

The target for women apprentices will commence at 6% next July, rising to 12% by 2030. There is also a trade-specific target for women, starting at 4% and rising to 10% by 2030. For flagship projects, there will be higher targets.

“This may help work towards a critical mass of women on site to help shift cultures on individual projects, and act as exemplars across the sector,” the paper says.

All the targets will be calculated using labour hours (including time spent on off-site training), not headcount.

While the Skills Guarantee applies to major Commonwealth procurements in construction and ICT worth $10 million and above, the government says it will be working with states and territories to apply it to the National Housing Accord and the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Submissions on the draft guidelines are due by October 20.

See the draft guidelines


4. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CRACKDOWN ON DODGY ‘BOTTOM FEEDER’ VET SCHOOLS

Jack Quail, reporter at News.Com in a 2 October 2023 article, reports on the Federal Government’s announcement that it aims to crackdown on doggy training providers. 

The article states, “Dodgy training providers who rort the system and take advantage of international students will be targeted in a new ‘compliance blitz’.

Dodgy training providers who rort public funding and take advantage of vulnerable students will be targeted in a new compliance blitz, the federal government has announced.

In an address to the National Press Club on Tuesday, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor will announce a new $37.8m investment towards a new integrity unit to crack down on non-genuine vocational education and training (VET) providers.

“We are working to weed out the minority of non-genuine VET providers, the bottom feeders, who seek to exploit people and traduce the integrity and reputation of the entire sector in the process,” Mr O’Connor said in a statement announcing the new funding.

The unit will be established within the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and will work to address threats to the integrity of the VET and improve student outcomes.”

READ MORE HERE


5. NSW VET REVIEW CONSULTATIONS PROGRESS

The NSW VET Review Expert Panel is continuing its round of consultation and discussion regarding state of the VET system in NSW.  The review panel is listening to the views and ideas offered by stakeholders from across the state. 

The NSW VET Review aims to identify current strengths of NSW VET, gaps and opportunities for improvement.

The NSW VET Review is led by former federal education department secretary Michele Bruniges, who is leading a three-member expert panel that will undertake the major review of VET in NSW.

Stakeholder participation is welcomed.  Stakeholders are invited to read the review’s discussion paper, developed from the deep research and analysis conducted during phase 1 of the review. It’s designed to stimulate conversation and pose questions for consideration.

There are 4 key themes:

  • boosting student success
  • placing TAFE NSW at the heart of the system
  • delivering VET in NSW
  • preparing VET for the future.

If you are considering making a submission, email it to NSWVETReview@det.nsw.edu.au or complete the short and simple Have Your Say survey.

Submissions close Friday 24 November at 11:59 pm.

See more on the review and the Terms of Reference.  Full terms of reference attached.


6. ADV-DIPLOMA FORUM 25 OCT 2023 – NEWCASTLE

The NSW UE ITAB with the assistance of Training Services NSW will hold a second Forum in Newcastle to discuss post trade training prospects, particularly to Advanced Diploma.

The Forum will discuss training delivery issues and possible solutions associated with access and career pathways to Advanced Diploma Electrotechnology qualifications.  Includes, improving the understanding of the serious problem that was created when they removed the nested CIII Electrician’s qualification within the standalone post trade technical officer qualifications.

The Forum will be held as follows:

DATE:             25 October 2023 – Wednesday

TIME:             10.00 and 2.00pm

VENUE:         Green Room (Merewether Carlton Rugby Club)

ADDRESS:     24 Mitchell St, Merewether NSW 2291

Discussion will aim to focus on.

  1. UEE62122 – Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical (this qualification has no prerequisite requirements and maybe useful as an interim measure pending a fix to the Electrotechnology Training Package).

For more information and to download the flyer visit: ELECTROTECHNOLOGY ADV-DIPLOMA FORUM – NEWCASTLE.

Register your interest to attend by contacting or emailing Tony Palladino at tony@uensw.com.au


7. SMART & SKILLED UPDATE – NO 216 OCT 2023

Training Services NSW has published the latest Smart and Skilled Update, No. 216 for October 2023 (DOWNLOAD A COPY HERE). 

Smart and Skilled is an NSW Government program that helps people get qualifications in in-demand skills and industries.  It’s a key part of the NSW vocational education and training system. 

This Smart and Skilled Update 216 covers the following:

  1. Financial Caps – Current Budgetary Constraints
  2. Financial Cap Review #1 – Continuing Students
  3. Financial Cap Review #2

The department is managing Financial Caps carefully, in consideration of the changing budget environment.

Find out how to access funding for vocational education and training that gives people workplace skills in high demand industries.  Learn about Smart and Skilled and other government programs in NSW.  For more information visit: FUNDING AND SUPPORT – SMART AND SKILLED

Or, for technical support in relation to this update, contact Training Market Customer Support at Training.Market@det.nsw.edu.au

For the Smart and Skilled – NSW Skills List visit: NSW SKILLS LIST – SMART AND SKILLED


8. ASQA ANNOUNCES VET TIP-OFF LINE – NOW LIVE

ASQA has announced that it is following through with the Government’s investment in ASQA and its role in strengthening integrity in the VET sector by establishing new initiatives and upgrading others.

Part of the new initiatives is a new integrity unit within ASQA and a VET tip-off line to prevent and disrupt illegal behaviour and the exploitation of vulnerable students.

ASQA states, “The tip-off line, which is now live, provides a safe and confidential avenue for current and former students, staff and other potential whistleblowers (such as homestay hosts and employers of international students) to report, anonymously if they wish, alleged illegal and serious non-compliance activity.

The tip-off line will contribute to the wider targeted compliance operation, which is focused on assessing high-risk VET providers.

Anyone can make an anonymous report to the referral line (1300 644 844) and VET tip-off form on the ASQA website.

What is a Tip-off?

  • A Tip-off refers to suspicions or evidence/intelligence you may have of deceptive practices, unethical behaviours or illegal activities.
  • A complaint refers to your dissatisfaction with the quality of training, customer service, communication or administrative processes you have experienced.

READ MORE HERE


9. OCTOBER IS NSW SMALL BUSINESS MONTH

October is NSW Small Business Month

NSW Small Business Month is a month-long program created for small businesses across New South Wales to attend events aligned to their individual business interests. It’s all about providing an opportunity for small businesses to take the time to work on their business in October!

Coordinated by the NSW Small Business Commission, NSW Small Business Month brings together small businesses with local chambers, industry associations, other not-for-profits, large businesses, and all levels of government.

The theme for October 2023 is My Small Business and is focused on providing assistance and tips on how small businesses can strengthen their business in seven key areas – branding and marketing, cyber security, business health, ecommerce, current market conditions, resilience and teams.

With so many great events scheduled for week 3 of #NSWSmallBizMonth you are sure to find events to help you achieve your business goals.  Visit the NSW Small Business Month website to browse the 90 plus events that are happening online and across New South Wales this week.

VIEW ALL THE SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES HERE


10.   OCTOBER IS NATIONAL SAFE WORK MONTH – 2023

October is safe work month

Commit to building a safe and healthy workplace this National Safe Work Month.

Safe Work Australia has release promotional campaign to promote “National Safe Work Month” in October.

The latest media release states, “All workers should get home safe and healthy every day. Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

Work-related fatalities, injuries and illness have a devastating impact on individuals, families and the broader community. Safe Work Australia data shows that each year up to 200 workers are fatally injured at work and around 120,000 workers are compensated for a serious work-related injury or illness.

In 2021-22, the construction industry accounted for 23 of those deaths and 15,600 claims of serious injury and illness.

This year’s National Safe Work Month theme – for everyone’s safety, work safely – encourages all of us to prioritise safety in the workplace and work towards preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities. The theme highlights the various ways individuals and organisations can work together to manage risks at work, and ensure all workers are supported in a safe and healthy workplace.

This year we will focus on different work health and safety themes each week during October:

Week 1 – Working together to manage WHS risks at work

Week 2 – Working together to protect workers’ mental health

Week 3 – Working together to support all workers

Week 4 – Working together to ensure a safe and healthy workplace

By popular demand SafeTea returns this year. Go to our website to find resources to help you plan and host a SafeTea event and have a conversation about WHS at your workplace.”

SEE WHAT EVENTS ARE ON IN NATIONAL SAFE WORK MONTH


11. POWERING SKILLS JSC TO HOLD MONTHLY INSIGHT MEETINGS

The new Energy, Gas and Renewables Jobs and Skills Council known as the ‘Powering Skills Organisation’ has advised in its latest, 12 October 2023 newsletter, Energise that it will be conducting monthly meetings for all stakeholders interested in learning more about Powering Skills Organisation (PSO).

Powering Skills Organisation is one of ten Jobs and Skills Councils (JSCs), established by the Federal Government to address skills shortages and training structures in different sectors.  PSO works across the energy sector, focusing on electricity, renewables and gas.

PSO will perform a number of functions to fulfil its role within the national training system in Energy, Gas and Renewables sectors, including identifying, forecasting and responding to current and emerging skills needs and workforce challenges.

PSO will be driven by a strategic vision outlining a range of responses to our sectors’ workforce challenges.

Read the latest news here: www.poweringskills.com.au/news


12. ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRADES ASSISTANT UPSKILLING PROGRAM (ETAUP) – NSW

HAVE AN ELECTRICAL QUALIFICATION AND/OR EXPERIENCE FROM OVERSEAS?

Want to progress your career for FREE?

The Program

The Electrotechnology Trades Assistant Upskilling Program (ETAUP) is a joint initiative of the New South Wales Government Trade Pathways Innovation Fund and the Electrical Trade Union with assistance from Energy Skills Australia to provide free upskilling pathway for Australian citizens and residents who work or reside in NSW and hold electrical qualifications and/or experience gained overseas.

What’s in it for you?

  • Free training
  • We will cover all training and assessment costs
  • including:
    • Australian Technical Competencies Statement (ATCS) assessment
    • NSW provisional trades person certificate
    • Certificate of Proficiency
    • 10809NAT Training Course
    • Workplace evidence fee
  • Upon successful completion of the above, issuance of Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician UEE30820
  • Eligible in NSW for a qualified supervisor’s certificate (unrestricted electrical licence)

Proudly funded by the NSW Government

For more information visit: www.energyskillsaustralia.com.au/electrotechnology-trades-assistants-upskilling-program/


13. NOMINATIONS CLOSING FOR THE NSW WOMEN OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2024!

Shine a light on
women and girls making a difference!

The NSW Women of the Year Awards celebrate the incredible women and girls among us who are improving the lives of people in NSW.

There are two weeks left to nominate a woman or girl you know who you’d like to recognise for their achievements.

Nominations are encouraged for regional women and girls across all the listed categories.

Category nominations are now open for the following:

  • Premier’s NSW Woman of Excellence Award
  • NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Award
  • NSW Community Hero Award
  • NSW Young Woman of the Year Award (ages 16-30 year old)
  • Ones to Watch Showcase (ages 7-15 years old)

We encourage nominations for regional women and girls across all the categories.

The NSW Regional Woman of the Year

The NSW Regional Woman of the Year recognises the accomplishments of exceptional women living in regional NSW who inspire and advance their communities and contribute to the fabric of their local areas.

NOMINATE A WOMAN OR GIRL
YOU WANT TO SHINE THE SPOTLIGHT ON!

The closing date for nominations is 11:59pm, Tuesday 24 October.


14. ASQA EXTENDS TRANSITION PERIOD FOR UET REFRESHER UNITS AND UEE QUALIFICATIONS

ASQA advises, that it has approved an extension to the:

  • Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) – Transmission, Distribution and Rail Training Package (ESI-TDR [UET]) refresher units of competency (X7), and
  • Electrotechnology Training Package (8) qualifications.

UET – ESI – Transmission, Distribution and Rail Training Package:

“Extended transition period: UET Units of competency (x7) – 22 September 2023:

  • UETDRRF001 Perform cable pit/trench/excavation rescue
  • UETDRRF002 Perform EWP rescue
  • UETDRRF003 Perform pole top rescue
  • UETDRRF004 Perform rescue from a live LV panel
  • UETDRRF005 Perform rescue from switchyard structures at heights
  • UETDRRF006 Perform tower rescue
  • UETTDRRF08 Perform EWP controlled descent escape

The transition period for training, assessment and certification issuance for these training products is extended from 13 October 2023 to 13 October 2024. It applies to providers for delivery to all students on the condition that they must complete and receive certification by the new transition end date.”

UET UNITS OF COMPETENCY (X7) -REFRESHER UNITS

UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package:

“Superseded in UEE Electrotechnology Training Package – Release 5.0:

  • UEE41920 Certificate IV in Electrical – Renewable Energy
  • UEE42020 Certificate IV in Electrical – Photovoltaic Systems
  • UEE43120 Certificate IV in Energy Efficiency and Assessment
  • UEE50120 Diploma of Computer Systems Engineering
  • UEE50711 Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
  • UEE60920 Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
  • UEE62020 Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy

Superseded in UEE Electrotechnology Training Package – Release 6.0:

  • UEE41220 Certificate IV in Electrical – Rail Signalling

The transition period for training, assessment and certification issuance for qualifications superseded in UEE Training Package Release 5.0 and 6.0 are extended to 31 January 2025. This decision only applies for students who have commenced formal training and/or assessment in their course by 19 December 2023 and 7 February 2024 for UEE Training Package Releases 5.0 and 6.0 respectively.

All students must either complete and receive certification or be transferred to replacement training product, by the new transition end date.”

ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE (8) QUALIFICATIONS

ASQA has recently approved an extended transition period for the training products referenced above.

ASQA has advised the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Training Accreditation Council of Western Australia regarding this extended transition period.

The training products referenced above will remain on RTOs’ scope of registration until the end of the extended transition period.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TRANSITION PERIOD


15. URGENT WARNING OVER LG SOLAR BATTERIES

The latest Energy Source & Distribution newsletter of 12 October 2023, alerts readers to the urgent warning issued by ACCC over LG solar batteries, stating, “The ACCC says households with solar storage systems should shut off LG solar batteries immediately.”

The article states, “All households with a solar storage system need to urgently check if the system has a recalled LG battery installed and should switch off affected batteries immediately, the ACCC has warned.

When these batteries malfunction there is a serious risk of injury or death due to the affected batteries overheating and causing a fire.

Related article: Consumers urged to check storage batteries due to fire risk

LG is now instructing all consumers with affected LG batteries in their solar energy storage system—which may be branded LG, SolaX, Opal, Red Earth, Eguana or VARTA—to switch their energy storage system off immediately and to keep it switched off until they are remediated.

Consumers with affected LG batteries are urged to switch off and contact LG or SolaX to arrange remediation of the battery, which could include a free battery replacement or a software update, or a refund.

READ MORE HERE


16. INFINISPARK EL0039 AND EL0014 EQUIPMENT GETS A MAJOR UPGRADE

Infinispark has upgraded its Installation Testing Fault board for units EL0039 and EL0014. Now Version 3 (FBV3), the FBV3 is designed for the following units and applications:

  • UEEEL0039
  • UEEEL0014
  • Mandatory testing section of the Capstone testing and the Licensed Electrician Assessment Practical
  • Safe isolation and Mandatory testing for Electrician’s CPD in Victoria

The following is a list of upgrades and their benefits:

  • FBV3 now has a three-phase installation with a single-phase submains board for more comprehensive testing scenarios.
  • The addition of submains has allowed for more circuits, giving the learners more test points.
  • Increased faults in FBV3 from 50 to 100 sets to allow for a higher volume of testing practice.

Unique features that both FBV2 and FBV3 share:

  • They are battery-operated with 40 hours of run time for ultra portability and flexibility.
  • Both have built-in hotplates and turn the working appliance into a faulty one for appliance testing.
  • Standalone devices with a built-in touchscreen, so you don’t need extra devices or software.

For more information contact, Husnen Rupani, CEO and Learning and Technical Consultant at Infinispark on 1300 15 22 99 or visit the website for more information:  www.infinispark.com.au


17. PHASE DOWN BANS IMPACT HEAT PUMP SALES

Editor Sandra Rossi reports in the 3 October 2023 edition of Climate Control News (CCN) that Australia is experiencing a surge of heat pump sales that is expected to continue at least into the mid-2030s as heat pumps continue to replace gas appliances in both existing and new buildings.

The article states, “The additional HFC usage from the surge in heat pumps is estimated to add up to 0.071 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e), equating to around 4.4 per cent of the Montreal Protocol limit of 1.622 Mt CO2e in 2036.

The largest emission risk from this equipment – hermetically sealed heat pumps and split system air conditioners – will be at end of life, according to a federal government report entitled Heat pumps – emerging trends in the Australian market.

The report, which was released this week by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, was undertaken by the Expert Group.

It looks at heat pumps from a refrigerant perspective, particularly at the types of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in equipment that could have an impact on Australia’s HFC phase down which began on 1 January 2018.

“There is no national legislative approach to the end-of-life disposal and recycling of heat pumps, air conditioning equipment and refrigeration equipment,” the report said.

“To date there have been few restrictions on the GWP of refrigerants in heat pump equipment however this is changing with international and Australian regulations and incentives expected to influence manufacturers’ choice of refrigerant in products sold locally.”

From 1 July 2024 the Australian government will ban the import and manufacture of small air conditioners using refrigerant with a GWP over 750.

READ MORE HERE


18. ELECTRICAL SAFETY INCIDENTS SEP 2023 – SHARING THE KNOWLEDGE

The NSW UE ITAB is fortunate again this month to be provided with the latest electrical incident reports from BluScope Steel.  As stated in previous News Services, the NSW UE ITAB has received permission from BlueScope Steel to share the information.

The aim is to help RTOs and industry practitioners have available, real case studies of electrical incidents that have occurred in workplaces and which they can showcase and use in their programs or safety moments to highlight findings and experience, and discuss possible issues, responses or solutions.

The NSW UE ITAB again, sincerely thanks BlueScope Steel for their permission, and advises RTOs and industry practitioners to ensure they recognise and acknowledge attribution to BlueScope for sharing this information and treat the information for educational purposes only.

As we receive the incident reports, we will continue to share them accordingly.

For this News Service we have two Blue Scope Steel reports covering the months of September 2023:

For more information and BlueScope contact details please refer to the undersigned for more information.  Again, a sincere thanks to BlueScope.


19. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO BREACH OF ROOF TOP SAFETY

An electrical contractor was placed on an undertaking to be of good behaviour with a special condition by Work Safe Victoria after a WorkSafe Inspector observed two persons on the roof working without fall protection and from a height of greater than 2 meters. 

Additionally, the contractor had no SWMS for the work being conducted.

The incident occurred on the 29 June 2021, when the inspector also observed works being undertaken on a switch board at the workplace whilst the cover plates had been removed. The switchboard had its main isolator switched on.

Two prohibition notices issued:

“As a result of his observations, the inspector issued two prohibition notices:

  • prohibiting work on the roof at the workplace due to a risk of serious injury or worse, with the suggested means of compliance including the ‘installation of a hand rail system around the roof area of the building where solar panels are being installed’; and
  • prohibiting work on the electrical switchboard, with the suggested means of compliance developing a system of work for the isolation of electrical supply to the switchboard prior to undertaking electrical work

On 6 July 2021 the inspector returned to the workplace and met with the company director. …”

READ MORE HERE – WAYNE DAVIES ELECTRICAL PTY LTD


20. HAZARDS AT THREE PILBARA HOMES FOLLOWING ELECTRICAL ERRORS

  • Houses in Tom Price and Wickham left unprotected
  • Electricians failed to install a vital safety component during switchboard upgrades
  • Company submitted incorrect safety and compliance declarations

Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, Building and Energy division issued a Media Release on 12 September 2023, highlighting the hazards of three homes having been left exposed to potentially fatal hazards for weeks after electricians failed to install essential safety devices while upgrading switchboards.

The Media Release states, “Occupants in three Pilbara homes were left exposed to potentially fatal hazards for weeks after electricians failed to install essential safety devices while upgrading switchboards.

Karratha electrical contractor Minbaringu Services Pty Ltd (EC13443) and electrical workers Zane Russell (EW179116) and Trent Tatham (EW148593) all pleaded guilty to breaching WA’s electricity licensing regulations following prosecution by Building and Energy.

At Perth Magistrates Court last month, the company was fined $50,000 and the electricians were fined $10,000 each for the offences, which included incorrect certifications that their work was safe and compliant.

The court was told Mr Russell and Mr Tatham were employed by Minbaringu in late 2021 when they upgraded switchboards at properties used by mining workers in Tom Price and Wickham.

Electrical workers and designated electrical inspectors from the electricity network operator, Rio Tinto, later found a key safety component, the multiple earthed neutral (MEN) connection, had not been installed in the switchboards at three properties.

Without an MEN, protective devices such as circuit breakers and fuses may not operate if an electrical fault occurs, which can cause metal objects to become live with lethal voltage levels.

The Tom Price home was occupied and hazardous for two months between Minbaringu’s switchboard work and the discovery and rectification of the missing MEN. The same risk was present for a month at the Wickham properties. …

In court on 4 August 2023, Magistrate Thomas Hall said there was “risk of death or permanent injury” from the “very serious” offences, which were made more significant by the work being incorrectly signed off as compliant.”

READ MORE HERE


21. ELECTRICAL LICENSING DISCIPLINARY ACTION – SEP 2023

The Electrical Licensing Committee took disciplinary action against 10 licence holders in September.  Two sample cases are provided below.

Case 1:

An electrical contractor engaged to perform electrical works which included the replacement of a distribution board, failed to have systems in place to ensure the electrical installation was electrically safe and compliant with the Wiring Rules.

As a result of this failure, two workers received electric shocks when they made contact with the stainless-steel enclosure of the sewage pump controller.

Case 2:

A worker failed to supervise electrical work on isolation of combiner boxes to allow realignment of DC mains cables and DC isolators. The worker failed to ensure the equipment had been tested by a competent person to determine whether or not it was energised.

As a result, a third-year electrical apprentice received burns to the face from an arc flash when the spanner he used shorted and energised the DC mains cables.

REVIEW ALL 10 CASES HERE


22. TOO MANY WORK-RELATED FATALITIES AND INJURIES

Safe Work Australia has released its latest annual report on national work health and safety statistics.  The report provides important evidence on the state of work health and safety in Australia.

Safe Work Australia’s recent media release states, “Today we released the Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia 2023 report, which provides the latest figures on work-related fatalities, injuries and disease in Australia.

The report is a high-level overview of national WHS statistics which can help increase understanding of the causes of, and industries most affected by, work-related fatalities, injuries and disease.

Work-related fatalities 2022

Tragically, in 2022, 195 people were fatally injured at work in Australia.

  • The traumatic injury fatality rate for workers in Australia has decreased by 30% since 2012.
  • 93% of worker fatalities were male.
  • 42% of all worker fatalities involve a vehicle.
  • Machinery operators and drivers had the highest number of fatalities by occupation (74 fatalities).
  • The agriculture, forestry and fishing industry had the highest worker fatality rate (14.7 per 100,000).

Workers’ compensation claims 2021-22p

  • There were 127,800 serious workers’ compensation claims in Australia.
  • Body stressing was the leading cause of serious workers’ compensation claims (32.6%).
  • Mental health conditions accounted for 9.2% or 11,700 claims in 2021-22p. This figure is substantially higher than 10 years ago, rising from 6.5% of all serious claims in 2011-12 to 9.2% in 2021-22p.
  • Accepted serious workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19 increased substantially from the previous year, from 400 in 2020-21 to 9,500 in 2021-22p.
  • The age group with the lowest frequency rate continued to be workers aged 35-44 years, at 5.4 serious claims per million hours worked.

Download the full report and explore more data on our interactive data website – Our Data. Your Stories.


23. NSW TO LEGISLATE EMISSIONS TARGETS, DESPITE DITHERING OVER COAL – URGED TO DO MORE

Sophie Vorrah, editor of One Step Off the Grid and deputy editor of Renew Economy reports in the latest RnewEconomy newsletter of 12 October 2023, that “New South Wales Labor has announced it will enshrine the state’s emissions reduction targets in law, including a 2030 target of “at least” 50 per cent and net zero by 2050.”

The article states, “The Minns government says the Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Bill 2023 commits the state to these targets “to provide certainty and opportunity” to households, industry and investors.

The new legislation, which delivers on an election promise, will also establish an independent Net Zero Commission to monitor the state’s progress to net zero, including through annual reports to ensure parliamentary transparency and accountability.

The new Commission would also liaise with regional communities to ensure climate action is “informed, fair and transparent,” the government said on Thursday.

“Enshrining targets in law shows the NSW Labor government is serious about reaping the benefits of driving down emissions and moving to more affordable, renewable energy,” said NSW premier Chris Minns in a statement.

“NSW is driving down emissions while putting downward pressure on power bills.”

The state’s energy and climate minister Penny Sharpe said the laws would serve as a “down payment” on securing the future for the people of NSW.

READ MORE HERE


24. ARE WE READY FOR SUMMER? AS BEST AS WE CAN BE

EnergyInsider, the joint newsletter publication of Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) in its 5 October edition, poses the question as to whether we are ready for a hot summer.

The article written by Dor Son Tan at ENA, states, “Energy Networks Australia was honoured to be invited to the inaugural 2023 Higher Risk Weather Season Summit, hosted by the Federal Government National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).  The summit brought over 300 people from across the country representing almost the entire gamut of government, NGOs, emergency services and other first responders.  …

If you live in Australia, then you know the weather can get pretty wild.  From bushfires to dust storms, thunderstorm asthma, tropical cyclones and floods it seems like we’re spoiled for choice in terms of natural disasters and wacky weather.

While no one can say exactly when another disaster will occur, I’m sorry to say it’s just a matter of time. What I can say with certainty is that the NEMA summit demonstrated there’s a gargantuan amount of effort from all levels of government, emergency services, NGOs and private industry to make sure that collectively, we are better prepared for the next one, wherever and whenever it may be.

It’s going to be a hot one, folks

The Bureau of Meteorology’s CEO, Dr Andrew Johnson provided an update on the current expectations for this summer. I won’t pretend to speak knowledgeably about how a positive Indian Ocean Dipole makes it so, but thankfully the experts at the Bureau of Meteorology have done a much better job at explaining the why, so I can just talk about the “so what for energy?”.

The important takeaway for the energy sector is an El Niño weather system typically results in reduced rainfall and warmer, more extreme temperatures. To my layman brain that means dry and really hot which is generally not great news in terms of heatwave and bushfire risk.

What does a hot summer mean for networks?

As many readers may be aware, Australia is coming off three consecutive years of La Niña (more rainfall and generally cooler days) which has provided excellent conditions for vegetation to grow.

But before you start thinking about how good the weather has been for your garden, please consider the fact that there is now a lot of vegetation out in the country and in national parks and forests to potentially feed a bushfire. This is known as “fuel load” and an excellent explainer from our friends at the Department of Environment and Water in South Australia.  After three years of La Niña, levels are very high.

Why networks care about bushfires should be obvious, it can burn down poles and wires, but a less obvious consideration is just how much effort and money goes into vegetation management, particularly for distribution networks who operate the assets that probably supply your house. Vegetation management is an industry term for “pruning the trees” so they don’t come in contact with powerlines. This is undertaken throughout the entire year above and under millions of kilometres of powerlines across Australia.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the significant efforts of networks to restore power to communities (usually remote and regional) disproportionately impacted by these events. It isn’t a stretch to say that our people -working together with state emergency services- are usually one of the first on the ground in response, sometimes even from other states!

Another less than obvious topic of interest is resilience, or as the Black Summer Royal Commission calls it “Building back better – recover in a way that makes the nation better prepared to withstand the next disaster”.  Unfortunately, networks have begun to hit regulatory barriers to this and the regrettable result has generally been to “build back the same”, but that is a topic for a deeper dive another time…

READ MORE HERE

For more, contact Dor Son Tan, Energy Networks Australia


25. VICTORIAN EV ROAD CHARGE SYSTEM COMPARED TO ROBODEBT

The 6 of October 2023 edition of Government News reports that Victoria’s Ombudsman has found a litany of failures in the state government’s implementation of its electric vehicles levy and compared the road charge system to Robodebt.

The article states, “The report looks at the application of the state’s Zero and Low Emission Vehicle Distance-Based Charge legislation which applies to electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Owners of zero and low emissions vehicles aren’t subject to the Commonwealth fuel excise, which goes towards roads maintenance, so the legislation was introduced in 2021 to make sure the drivers of the state’s 19,2000 registered EVs are paying their share.

It does so by charging them for each kilometre they travel on public roads, including outside Victoria.

The legislation is already controversial and is currently the subject of a High Court challenge on a constitutional point.

Thousands affected

In a report tabled this week, Ombudsman Deborah Glass found that thousands of Victorians have been affected by the charge since it came into force.”

READ MORE HERE


26. AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION PROJECT POWERING AHEAD

Patricia Mae Tagabe, reports in the 5 October 2023 edition of Utility Magazine of huge strides underway to underpin the energy revolution and shift to clean energy. 

The article states, ‘’In a dusty corner of NSW and South Australia, an energy giant is emerging, as EnergyConnect, Australia’s largest electricity transmission project, continues to hit further milestones.

The $1.8 billion EnergyConnect project is a 900km transmission interconnector that will connect Wagga Wagga in New South Wales to Robertstown in South Australia and Red Cliffs in Victoria. Transgrid’s Executive General Manager of Major Projects, Gordon Taylor, said the project is a critical part of the shift to clean energy.

“EnergyConnect is a once-in-a-generation transmission project that will improve the affordability, reliability and security of electricity supply and we are really pleased construction is moving full steam ahead. “It will allow energy to be shared between New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria for the first time and enable the connection of new renewable generation to support Australia’s clean energy future,” Mr Taylor said.

Crossing borders

Transgrid and its construction partner SecureEnergy are building the 700km New South Wales section from Wagga Wagga to the South Australian border, with a 22km connection to Red Cliffs, Victoria. South Australia’s ElectraNet is responsible for the remaining 200km from the border to Robertstown. Work on the $1.8 billion New South Wales section began in June 2022 and is well underway.

“We’re getting on with the job of delivering this critical project and we’re hitting significant milestones. “In late March we saw the first of 1,500 steel towers go up and since then we’ve erected another 90, with another 64 assembled and ready to go up,” Mr Taylor said.

“Using guyed towers is just one of the ways we’re working to make EnergyConnect as sustainable as possible and this type of tower requires about 15 per cent less steel and 25 per cent less concrete, which helps us reduce the project’s carbon footprint,” he said.

At the centre

Transgrid’s Buronga substation is the hub that will connect New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria and will be one of the largest in Australia.  …

“This is Australia’s biggest electricity project and everything on this project is big – the size of the equipment needed to move this transformer is another example of the scale of the project. …”

READ MORE HERE