1. ELECTRICAL APPRENTICES ‘LEFT BEHIND’ BY FAIR WORK COMMISSION’S ANNUAL WAGE REVIEW
Reporter Ellen Tansley writes in the 15 June 2022 edition of News.Com.Au that the Fair Work Commission has left apprentices behind in its latest annual wage review.
Ellen states, “Today’s minimum wage decision hasn’t been good news for all, with one group left behind set to have a massive impact on the country.
Apprentices are facing a “real wage cut” after they were left behind from a minimum wage increase in what unions say will slow Australia’s clean energy transition.
While the Fair Work Commission on Wednesday announced a 5.2 per cent pay rise – or $40 a week – for minimum wage workers, award-reliant workers – notably first-year apprentices – will receive just a 4.6 per cent rise.
The Electrical Council of Trade Unions said this meant a first-year electrical apprentice – who already earnt less than 60 per cent of the minimum wage – would “get barely half” of the $40 a week raise granted to minimum wage workers.
Acting national secretary Michael Wright said those first-years would instead receive just $20.69 – or 4.6 per cent – extra each week.
He said that represented a “wage cut in real terms”, with first-year wages to decrease from 58.2 per cent of minimum wage to 57.9 per cent.
A “simple fix to the problem” he says is to extend the $40 increase to every low-paid worker – including apprentices and trainees.
“Apprentice completion rates currently sit at only 52 per cent and need to rise to give Australia the skilled energy workers needed for the clean energy transition,” Mr Wright said.”
At a time when there are huge labour and skill shortages across Australia, in particular the electrical trade, the Commission has not helped the cause of promoting apprenticeships to school leavers and mature age career aspirants including women. Its decision will have the unintended consequence of reducing the attractiveness of apprenticeships because of exacerbated lower real wages at a time when cost of living is increasing and comparable non-apprenticeship wages because of labour shortages are on the rise.
2. HOW WE CAN EASE THE SKILL SHORTAGES PLAGUING AUSTRALIA
The Stats Guy offers an opinion on how plaguing skill shortages can be eased. Simon Kuestenmacher, the Stats Guy reporter at The New Daily, 11 June 2022 states, “Wherever I travel these days, business owners tell me crazy stories about the skills shortage.
There is the unnamed and newly renovated hotel that advertised 80 new jobs and received a total of eight applications.There is the fancy unnamed French restaurant that removed half its tables because it didn’t have enough staff. Four of the last eight hotels I stayed in apologised for only cleaning the rooms every third night. One luxury resort offered a complimentary cocktail at the bar if you forwent daily cleaning. I’ve spoken to IT and consulting businesses that don’t even bother advertising for jobs since it’s impossible to find staff anyways. One real estate company outsourced most of its repetitive digital tasks to the Philippines.
Let’s quickly recap why there is a skills shortage in the first place.
Our economy kept growing despite COVID-19, global supply chain bottlenecks and geopolitical tensions. That’s welcome news. The only problem is that we were forced to stop importing workers from overseas.
Pre-COVID Australia took in 180,000 net new migrants every single year. The first year of the pandemic saw a net loss of 90,000 migrants. The trend was weaker in the second year, but you get the gist – tens of thousands of workers that would usually have come to Australia didn’t do so.
At first, this wasn’t a problem. People that were otherwise locked out of the labour market found employment and many labour-intensive industries were still constrained by COVID-19 regulations. Now that restrictions have been lifted, sectors that had to let go of workers temporarily can’t find new workers. Airports and hospitality are probably the most obvious examples.
How do we deal with skills shortages? We will squeeze more productivity out of existing populations, train our young people, encourage more migration and invest in automation.
How do we make our existing workers more productive? Well, you just work longer hours for the same pay – congratulations, economically speaking you are now more productive. We will also tap into parts of the labour market that are underutilised.
3. TAFE NSW OUTLINES PLAN TO CATER TO THOUSANDS OF EXTRA STUDENTS
The 20 June 2022 edition of TDA Newsletter drew attention to the recent speech TAFE NSW Managing Director Stephen Brady made to the NSW & ACT Apprentice Employment Network conference in Sydney.
The article states, “… laid out a detailed plan to increase training capacity and manage the influx of thousands of new apprentices and trainees under the latest government skilling initiatives.
Mr Brady outlined the plan to help deliver an additional 70,000 fee-free training places in NSW over the next four years.
A series of TAFE initiatives will aim to increase training capacity, deliver skills more effectively, and fast-track trades teachers. It will see:
- Teams responsible for apprentices and trainees brought together so stakeholders have a single point of contact for advice and support.
- The possibility of staggered starts so new cohorts of students can start sooner to minimise wait times.
- Improved communications around the range of apprentice and trainee offerings, the enrolment process, learner progress and issues management.
- A new approach to training plans that will trigger consistent and timely communications.
- A fast-tracked approach to recruiting trades-based teachers, using the Diploma of Adult Education, which could halve the current 18-month lead time.
- Measures to attract and support new trades teachers including a mentor program and a state-wide peer support network in specific industry areas.
4. MAE CAREER PATHFINDER PROJECT TARGETS WOMEN IN RIVERINA
Are you female and interested in a career in a non-traditional area like, viticulture, energy, electrotechnology and advanced manufacturing?
The Agrifood ITAB in partnership with the NSW Utilities and Electrotechnology ITAB and Manufacturing Skills Australia (NSW ITAB) and Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) have been successful in winning funding under the National Career Institute Partnership Grants Funding Round 3.
With a focus on women, the MAE (Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology) Career Pathfinders Project will develop current, relatable career information for the Manufacturing, Agrifood & Electrotechnology (MAE) industries. The resources will contain information otherwise unavailable that will be endorsed by the relevant industry stakeholders.
The Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology ITABs will host a FREE showcase day for these industries in partnership with Casella Family Brands.
The showcase day for the (Food Science and Manufacturing/Electrical – Industries) is to be held at Casella Family Brands (Yenda) and will have demonstrations from female industry leaders & practitioners and you will have the opportunity to:
- Meet female industry leaders
- Have a hands-on experience
- Access to current career information
- Have your questions answered by industry experts
- Obligation-free opportunities to do work experience
- Free networking lunch
Date: 31st August 2022: Griffith/Yenda NSW
To participate in the Food Science and Manufacturing/Electrical event please register below:
The project will benefit the Manufacturing, Agrifood and Electrotechnology industries by increasing relevant, industry-endorsed career data, strengthening partnerships & attracting new female candidates.
If you are a woman aged 16 – 64 and interesting in participating in the showcase day or wish to follow the developments of this project and career resources, please email email@example.com or call 0421830056 – Melissa Wortman.
5. PROMOTE ‘SAY YES TO THE TRADES’ CAMPAIGN
Meet employers and training providers that are looking for apprentices and want to help train the next generation of tradies.
The event that brings together training, employers and service providers to show students choosing trades is a great option will be held on Sunday, 26 June 2022 (World Refrigeration Day 2022) at Canterbury Leagues Club, 26 Bridge Rd, Belmore.
The event provides a focus on Electricians, Air-conditioning and refrigeration technicians, and Metal fabrication fabricators. The employers and careers event also, focuses on employment issues facing high school students and job seekers as well as the skills shortages business are experiencing, as well as spurring on businesses to actively employ young apprentices and invest in staff training.
Meet companies that are looking for apprentices and want to help train the next generation of tradies. Listen to the speakers on getting into a trade apprenticeship. Getting trade-qualified is the way to a secure future so bring your resume and a ‘can-do’ spirit!
The event will be held at the Canterbury Leagues Club June26, 2022, 11.00 am – 3.00 pm (Paragon Room Canterbury Leagues Club)
The partnership between STC and the Canterbury Bulldogs One Community Program for schools in the west and southwest Sydney, is to:
- increase the employability of students
- deliver hands on training in schools
- expand the career options for students
- make trades a first option in minds of more students
- gather employers who want to invest in training their staff
The goals of the SAY YES TO THE TRADES FAIR:
- Trades and employer focussed event about industry careers
- Highlight the many pathways into and from trades including women and trades promotion
- -A focus on Electricians, Air-conditioning and refrigeration, and Metal fabrication’
- -Open dialogue with employers and providers with accurate expectations of a trade careers
- -A real scope for understanding the advantages of apprenticeships
Attendees under 18 MUST attend with a parent or guardian as per Club guidelines.
STC has a partnership with the Bulldogs NRL team community arm promoting VET trades courses. Bulldogs are giving away double passes to the Rabbitohs Bulldogs game on Sunday July 17 to all participants of this event. Bulldogs Legend Sam Perrett will be there to speak. As an ex-footballer how he found life after NRL and the value of trades training.
The event organisers are looking for exhibitors and speakers on the day regarding trades training and industry.
HELP PROMOTE THE EVENT TO EMPLOYERS
We invite key stakeholders to reach out to employers looking for apprentices and invite them to be part of the event (they have space for 25 employers).
It would be appreciated if you can help promote the event to an array of contacts in the area related to Electrical, Air conditioning and Engineering Metal Fabrication.
Exhibitors will have a table/tablecloth 2 chairs – room for two banners behind the table and lunch will be provided for exhibitors.
For more information or sponsorship opportunities about the partnership or proposed event program, contact Robert Parsonson, General Manager at STC on M: 040 7284 067 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website: www.stc.nsw.edu.au
6. SHOWCASE OF TALENTED TECHNICIANS
Editor, Sandra Rossi at Climate Control News (CCN), in the 16 June 2022 edition takes a look at talented technicians that are helping to make up Australia’s next generation technicians. Sandra states, “Meet the talented technicians that make up Australia’s next generation technicians for 2022.
NextGen continues to be an annual showcase of our best and brightest technicians under the age of 25.
This year’s Top 20 are profiled in alphabetical order and provide a first hand account of why refrigeration and air conditioning is such a great trade.
CCN in partnership with the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) is proud to present NextGen 2022.
Second year apprentice, Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke, describes refrigeration and air conditioning as an all-encompassing trade.
“We do a bit of electrical work, chemistry and plumbing, there is a lot to learn,” he said. When the 22 year old technician joined Woolworths two years ago, he was familiar with the trade but didn’t know specifically about supermarket refrigeration.
“I was looking for a trade but didn’t realise how interesting supermarket refrigeration would be,” Nicholas said.
“Even after I complete my apprenticeship I will continue to work in this area because it will take more than four years to be good at this job. It will take many years to learn everything.”
Jarred Budny is a former WorldSkills competitor who has already made his mark as a refrigeration and air conditioning technician.
He has won apprentice of the year at AJ Baker & Sons where he is employed and has also been a finalist for CCN’s Male Rising Star Award.”
“Aedan Whyte became a chiller technician by default. “I had applied for a pre-apprentice plumbing course at TAFE but there were no places left so a family friend suggested refrigeration and air conditioning,” he said.
“When I was in high school I didn’t even know this trade existed and initially I thought it was just some kind of handyman job.”
Today the 22 year old is glad he discovered such a great trade, even though it was by accident. “This trade definitely needs a higher profile because it is such a great job, it is a mix of all trades,” he said.”
READ MORE HERE
7. AUSTRALIA’S PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION NOTES MANY SKILLS TARGETS NOT MET
The Australian Government Productivity Commission has released its Report on Government Services (RoGS) report on 7 June 2022. The Report on Government Services (RoGS) provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia.
The 2022 RoGS was progressively released between 25 January and 3 February 2022. A mid-year data update aims to improve the timeliness of information in the RoGS and was released on 7 June 2022. The mid-year release provides new data for a sub-set of indicators in the following sections:
- Early childhood education and care (part B, section 3)
- School education (part B, section 4)
- Vocational education and training (part B, section 5)
- Police services (part C, section 6)
- Housing (part G, section 18)
In relation to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) section the report notes on the performance information for vocational education and training (VET) services. With respect to Skills it found many of the indicators were unmet for the period. The report states, “For the VET section, there has been some impact on the data that could be attributable to COVID 19 but this has not affected the comparability of any indicators. These impacts are likely to be primarily due to the social distancing restrictions implemented periodically from March 2020 and associated economic downturn.”
Most interesting is the report on the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development which found that the following indicators were not met:
- Reduce the number of Australians without a Certificate III qualification or above – NOT MET
- Increase the number of higher level qualifications – NOT ON TRACK
- Improve employment outcomes for VET graduates– NEGATIVE CHANGE
For more information visit: https://performancedashboard.d61.io/skills
8. GAS TRAINING PACKAGE VALIDATION
Australian Industry Standards (AIS) has written to advise that the Gas Industry Reference Committee’s (IRC’s) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has considered all stakeholder feedback and revised draft Training Package materials for the Gas Supply Industry Skills project, including updates to four qualifications and 51 Units of Competency.
The draft materials were developed following the review of five qualifications and 69 Units of Competency, aimed at streamlining and modernising the Gas Supply Training Package to increase its relevance and useability. Relevant occupational skills standards contained in this Training Package have been aligned with current industry practice and workforce development requirements
In line with the approved scope of the project, weighting points have been removed to align with Training Package policy. Relevant knowledge and performance criteria have been included to address the introduction of hydrogen to existing gas networks in line with the National Hydrogen Strategy. One new Industrial Gas unit has been created.
To achieve these objectives, the revised materials include the following:
- Merging of Certificate IV in Gas Control Operations into Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
- Units of Competency in all qualifications have been categorised in 3 groups: Core Units, Gas Electives units and Imported Electives
- Merging of Units of Competency with common knowledge and performance requirements and the deletion of duplicative or redundant Units of Competency.
- Definition of gas has been clearly defined to incorporate all gases. (eg reference to LPG is replaced with the term industrial gas, which includes but is not limited to propane, butane, propylene, nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, hydrogen, helium and acetylene)
- Where applicable, knowledge evidence relating to the characteristics and properties of all gases that may be encountered in an applicable gas class (eg combustible / industrial gas) have been updated to address not only Hydrogen awareness but increased awareness of differences between all gases being used.
- Standardisation of terminology and language across all Units of Competency reviewed.
The Gas IRC is seeking your feedback to validate these draft materials to ensure the proposed products meet industry needs.
Detailed mapping information, tracking changes to the existing Training Package, is also available to view.
Submit your feedback by close of business Tuesday, 28 June 2022.
For more information on this project, please contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Shaun Thomas, M: 0409 505 196 | E: email@example.com
9. ELECTROTECHNOLOGY TRAINING PACKAGE VALIDATION
Australian Industry Standards (AIS) has written to advise that the Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee’s (IRC’s) Technical Advisory Committee/s (TAC/s) have considered all stakeholder feedback and revised draft Training Package materials for the Renewables, and Computer Systems Engineering projects.
The Electrotechnology IRC is seeking your feedback to validate these draft materials to ensure the proposed products meet industry needs.
Detailed mapping information, tracking changes to the existing Training Package, is also available to view.
Draft materials have been developed to enable Electrotechnology workers to develop skills for the design, installation, maintenance and inspection of renewable energy technologies. The materials include 14 new Units of Competency and updates to four qualifications and 32 units. A further four qualifications and 15 units have been recommended for deletion. Nine of these units have had their content absorbed across other new and existing units. An update document on the project webpage details the project work to date and shows how the structure of content has been reorganised to better reflect current industry needs.
Computer Systems Engineering
The project scope included reviewing the Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Engineering and 24 associated Units of Competency. The qualification was last updated in 2012, and computer systems and industry’s skilling needs have evolved significantly since then. A detailed desk-top review identified that content of the 24 UEE units is extensively covered in current qualifications and Units of competency from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Training Package which reflect contemporary industry practice. Subsequently, the UEE units have been replaced with the ICT equivalents across all qualifications in which they appear. It is proposed to also delete the two UEE Computer Systems Advanced Diploma Qualifications. More information and detailed mapping of content can be found on the project webpage.
Submit your feedback by close of business Monday, 4 July 2022.
For more information on this project, please contact the Industry Skills Specialist, Paul Humphreys M: 0429 670 588 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
10. NEXT GENERATION OF EPROFILING LAUNCHED FOR ELECTROTECHNOLOGY QUALIFICATIONS
Profiling is the preferred mechanism for gather workplace evidence for a number of selected Electrotechnology Training Package qualifications. For example, the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician and Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. Profiling requires the progressive collection of many samples through structured documentation and progress summative reporting.
Progressive monitoring of direct and possibly indirect evidence, over an extended period of time is used to assist in intervention and making judgements about the developing competency profile of the candidate/learner. The focus of evidence collection is set against the elements and the related performance criteria; representative range; critical components of the performance evidence and autonomy and supervision levels. Information is gathered over time from a structured profiled data mechanism which in turn produces a periodic resultant trend report.
In a long-term profiling process the qualified assessor may establish with an approved industry data gathering administrator/manager the system and identify the evidence required. They may then cause the evidence to be gathered by others after which they will examine the evidence and make judgments.
The partnership between assessors and other competent persons is essential if the information is to be qualitative. It should be noted that technical assessment responsibility and systems accountability may only be exercised by a Registered Training Organisation using qualified assessors.
Exemplar Profiling (an industry owned organisation) is one of the current administrators/managers of an industry supported profiling system. It has recently updated its eProfiling platform to take account of the new updated UEE20 Electrotechnology Training Package, and specifically UEE30820, UEE32220 and others.
The new platform represents the next generation of workplace evidence collection systems. It provides a streamlined and intuitive user experience, which allows for the collection of a broad range of multimedia evidence and is optimised for usage on mobile devices, both on and offline.
Exemplar Profiling maintains eProfiling’s focus on longitudinal competency development across a representative range of equipment, it has a range of features to make it more user friendly. That is:
- Detailed mapping is available to all users, showing which evidence requirements have been met and which remain outstanding (and linking this to individual cards),
- Flexible card – period of experience logged on a single card can be customised, from 1 day up to 6 weeks (controlled by RTO), and
- Full portability of evidence across all UEE20 qualifications.
Transition to UEE20
UEE30820 has much more stringent and specific requirements for workplace evidence collection compared to UEE30811. In total, 11 units require evidence from the workplace is collected to satisfy every Performance Evidence (PE) item – there must be non-simulated evidence for each PE. To this end Exemplar has developed a transition ‘card’ which estimates which activities are likely to have been completed based on their level of workplace exposure. This is a one-off process which is estimated to take a student up to 15 minutes. The card will then be provided to their employer (or RTO) for approval.
More control. More support.
Exemplar Profiling allows RTOs even more flexibility in how they would like to manage their workplace evidence collection.
There are also a range of ‘Walk Me’ tutorials, which show you exactly where to click to complete each basic task as well as the usual help desk and customer service support.
11. LEARNING MOMENT – DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STAR AND DELTA CONNECTED MOTORS
This week, Infinispark shares an updated learning moment on understanding the difference between Star and Delta Connected Motors.
CEO, Husnen Rupani explores how a three-phase induction motor can be connected in either Star or Delta connection. Both have their respective applications in the industry.
Infinispark team has prepared a short quiz to help check a learners’ understanding of this topic – visit the link: Star VS Delta Motor Connection quiz
Husnen states, “In my experience, I have found that the learners get confused between the two types of connections and find it hard to remember the major differences between them.
He will share the solution and a video demonstration of the responses in his next learning moment newsletter email.
Find out more learning moments and Infinispark offerings by visiting https://infinispark.com.au/
Infinispark is a corporate affiliate of TDA Australia – TDA Australia Corporate Affiliate
12. FEEDBACK SOUGHT FOR ESI TRANSMISSION, DISTRIBUTION AND RAIL TRAINING PACKAGE POWERLINE SAFETY
Australian Industry Standards (AIS) has written to advise that the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) – Transmission, Distribution and Rail Training Package (ESI-TDR [UET]) Industry Reference Committee’s (IRC’s) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has has drafted Training Package materials for the Powerline Safety project and would like your feedback.
A new Unit of Competency has been drafted to address the skills and knowledge required by non-Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) workers to work safely around electrical powerlines.
This will enable the education and building of awareness of non-ESI workers across industries about the risks and hazards associated with working around electrical powerlines.
Submit your feedback by close of business Friday, 15 July 2022.
For more information on this project, please contact the Industry Skills Manager, Erin Knudsen, M: 0418 434 302 | E: email@example.com
13. WORLDSKILLS INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION CANCELLED
Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) reports in its 17 June 2022 in its latest HVAC&R News that the 46th WorldSkills International Competition scheduled to be held in Shanghai has been cancelled. Cancellation is due to ongoing pandemic prevention and control restrictions in China.
The article states, “Scheduled for October 12–17, 2022, the competition was originally planned for 2021 and was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“It is with deep disappointment that we announce the cancellation of WorldSkills Shanghai 2022,” says WorldSkills International president Chris Humphries. “Looking ahead to the future, we have no doubt that when China hosts a WorldSkills Competition, it will be extraordinary.
“We are grateful for the time and resources that the competitors and the committed supporters, employers, experts, and partners have invested in preparation for the event. Alongside WorldSkills members and partners, we are working actively to develop alternative competitive arrangements to celebrate your skills in 2022. Look for announcements by the end of June 2022.”
One of the many competitors set to appear at the tournament was Perth-based Tom Clancy, representing Australia in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning category. He had been undergoing intensive training in the lead-up to the event with WorldSkills international training manager and expert Carl Balke, Affil.AIRAH. Those in the skills camp have acknowledged the cancellation as very disappointing for all involved.
One option being investigated is to hold the international Refrigeration and Air Conditioning competition as part of Chillventa 2022 – a leading international HVAC&R exhibition and conference to be held from October 11–13, 2022 in Nuremberg, Germany. Germany’s national refrigeration WorldSkills competition has been held as part of this event previously. A decision on the alternative competitions is expected by June 30.
14. KEEP SAFETY INCIDENT SITES INTACT AFTER AND ACCIDENT
Master Electricians Australia (MEA) includes an article in the 20 June 2022 MEA Industry News recommending the preservation of a site incident in the instance of an accident.
The article states, “When an accident occurs, and someone is hurt, your first instinct is probably to clean up and make sure the site is safe for more work to take place.
While you must ensure the area is safe so the incident does not get worse, you could face penalties if you do not ensure the incident site is preserved for workplace safety authorities to inspect.
Preserving an incident site is crucial when identifying an incident’s cause.
In a recent incident in the ACT, a worker fell from a ladder whilst conducting roof cleaning and landed on his lower back and arm. The CCTV footage that WorkSafe ACT reviewed as part of its inquiries, showed someone collecting the fallen ladder prior to WorkSafe ACT’s attendance on the site. …”
15. WORKING AT HEIGHTS – NEW INDUSTRIAL ROPE ACCESS SYSTEMS GUIDE
Safe Work Australia advises it has published guidance to assist persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to manage the health and safety risks of industrial rope access systems.
An industrial rope access system is a work positioning system used for gaining access to, and working at, a workface, usually through vertically suspended ropes.
The use of these systems can pose work health and safety risks that must be identified and managed by PCBUs.
The guide provides information about duties under the model Work Health and Safety laws and practical guidance on:
• selection and installation of anchors
• anchor access and layout
• anchor inspection and testing
• rigging techniques
• rope protection, and
• exclusion zones.
This guide is for industrial rope access service providers, building managers, owners, and body corporates, principal contractors, and other PCBUs at a workplace where an industrial rope access system is used.
Whether you are a PCBU or a worker, download the guide to ensure you know your duties and how to manage the health and safety risks associated with using industrial rope access systems at work https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/guide-managing-risks-industrial-rope-access-systems
16. BUILDING COMPANY FINED AFTER WORKER FALL
The 16 June 2022 NSCA Foundation’s Safe-T-Bulletin eNewsletter reports on a building company that was fined $45,000 after a worker fell three metres through a concealed void at a construction site in Safety Bay, WA. The article states, “Building company Alcove Engineering & Construction Pty Ltd has been fined $45,000 and ordered to pay $5000 in costs over an incident in which a worker fell approximately three metres through a concealed void at a construction site in Safety Bay.
The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment for a person who was not their employee. Alcove Engineering was engaged as the main building contractor in late 2018 to undertake home renovation work at a property in Safety Bay involving the addition of a second storey. The company engaged a number of subcontractors, including a glass company that was to supply and install six double-glazed windows in the upstairs addition, and a carpentry company.
In January 2019, an employee of Alcove Engineering and a carpentry subcontractor went to the site to remove a 2.5 x 2.5 m portion of the upper level mezzanine floor in preparation for the installation of stairs. When the task was completed, the carpenter told the property owner he would fit an edge protection handrail to the void the next morning, before the expected arrival of glass company workers. The property owner requested that a tarpaulin be put over the void to stop wind and rain from entering the lower level, and this was done by the carpenter after consultation with Alcove Engineering’s site supervisor.
The ladder leading to the upper level was removed and the carpenter assured the site supervisor he would be back at around 7.00 am to fit the handrail and that no other workers were scheduled to arrive at the property until around 8.30 am. Between 7.00 am and 7.30 am the next morning, three workers from the glass company arrived at the site to fit panes to the windows, accessing the upper floor via the outside scaffolding. After the glass was brought up via the outside barrow ramp, one of the workers entered the upstairs sitting room and saw the tarpaulin on the floor. There was no signage or other indication of an opening below, and no railing or other edge protection preventing access to the void. The worker walked towards an open window in the sitting room and stepped on the tarpaulin, not knowing there was no floor beneath it, and fell around three metres to the concrete floor below.
The worker suffered severe injuries to his elbow and shoulder. The carpenter arrived at the property shortly after the fall. WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said it was a serious failing that Alcove Engineering’s site supervisor agreed to placing the tarpaulin over the void with no signage or other indication that there was no floor underneath it. …
17. UNDERGROUND FAST CHARGERS FOR ELECTRIC TRUCKS REDUCE EMISSIONS, ENHANCE SAFETY
Editor Sean Carroll in this week’s Electrical Connection of 14 June 2022, reports on an innovative underground electric charging solution trial that ABB will provide to power a new Epiroc ST14 battery-electric loader at the CSA Mine (formerly owned by Glencore) in Cobar, New South Wales.
It is part of a solution that has the potential to be rolled out across other mining operations in future. He writes, “CSA Mine is trialling the use of battery-powered electric loaders, which are more than 2.5m tall and capable of carrying up to 14 tons of copper each, as a direct replacement for diesel-powered load haul dump trucks.
These haul around 50,000 tons of copper every year, but produce heat, noise, moisture and emissions, so the 2,000m deep mine must be kept well ventilated. Battery electric loaders can reduce emissions and costs, as well as improving operator safety and mine productivity.
“From electric vehicle batteries to solar panels, copper is a key element in delivering a zero-emissions future. This is driving demand for copper, which is expected to grow by 350% by 2050,” ABB head of E-Mobility division Sean Stove says.
“At the same time, manufacturers are increasingly focused on the whole life cycle impact of their products, so need the entire supply chain to improve its environmental performance. Our innovative underground charging solution is just one of many ABB technologies helping the mining industry to reduce its carbon footprint and deliver the natural resources for zero and low-carbon power solutions as efficiently as possible.”
As the mine operates 24/7, downtime waiting for EV batteries on the dump trucks to be charged should be as short as possible. To provide power for Glencore’s battery electric loader, ABB created a bespoke fast charging solution, situated 1,000m underground, to deliver 150kW of DC power to fully charge each truck in less than one hour.”
18. A POST-BLAME EXPLAINER OF THE CURRENT ENERGY CRISIS
The 16 June 2022 edition of EnergyInsider jointly published by Energy Networks Australia (ENA) and Australian Energy Council (AEC) includes a timely article on the energy crisis the eastern seaboard is experiencing. The article states, “A combination of energy shocks which resulted in more than a week of very high wholesale electricity prices first triggered an automatic price cap in the National Electricity Market, and then the suspension of the market.
Suspension was a radical step, reflective of the extreme market conditions. It was also better than where we were before when some generators were in the market, while others were being directed. We take a look at how we got here.”
“In times of crisis, it can be strangely satisfying to have someone to blame for it: a mistake, a villain, a government, a company. The bigger the crisis, the bigger the need to hold someone responsible.
Australia and the world are reeling from the most serious global energy crisis in decades. The imposition of economic sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine has created a global energy shortage. Europe was already facing tight energy supplies as below average wind generation for much of 2021 had forced it to use up much of its gas reserves.
Imposing sanctions on Russian oil, gas and coal has created major economic headaches in Europe, as they have few alternative suppliers. The aggressive re-contracting of available energy supply chains has sent global prices for these fossil fuels to record highs.
This price shock wave has now reached Australian energy markets, with spot market prices for black coal above $500 per tonne and $40 per GJ for gas. These prices are four to five times the long-term average.
These high fuel prices have driven up the price of electricity, as generators have had to compete with these international spot prices to buy some of their fuel. Coal generators are more exposed to spot prices now because they have been reducing forward-contracting in anticipation of continued increases in renewable generation. That’s how the transformation was supposed to work.
This price spike hit Australia at the same time as a fierce June cold snap, following two months of low wind generation, reduced coal stockpiles, and heavy rains slowing coal mine output. Solar output is below average due to the shorter days.
The cold weather has exacerbated the problem by increasing demand, which made the energy shortage more acute. On top of this there were unscheduled outages in some coal generation units. The disruption to global supply chains is causing delays in getting essential parts to fix these units. It has been a combination punch of shocks: global energy shortage, increased exposure to spot prices, cold, wet weather and unplanned, prolonged outages.
Is the NEM broken?
The short answer is no. The long answer is recent events have revealed the need for some simple, but important repairs.
The combination of all these energy shocks resulted in more than a week of very high wholesale electricity prices. When this happens, it triggers an automatic price cap mechanism in the National Electricity Market. As the name implies, this caps wholesale spot prices at $300/MWh.
This price cap mechanism was designed when the NEM was created in 1998 to manage short term events like summer heat waves. Longer term global energy shortages like now were not anticipated. Sustained higher wholesale prices are the market solving for the combination of problems it faces: high demand, some units unavailable and the need to ration scarce coal at some power stations.
For more, contact Sarah McNamara, Australian Energy Council.
NOTE – LATEST CRISIS UPDATE:
Energy Security Board (ESB) releases ‘high-level design paper’ for Capacity Mechanism – Posted by PAUL MCARDLE
Along with the ACCC’s release today (Inquiry into the National Electricity Market), the other significant release (at least thus far today!) has been from the Energy Security Board (ESB) with their high-level design of the proposed Capacity Mechanism:
Submissions on the paper are due by 25 July 2022, with details of a stakeholder webinar to be confirmed and circulated in the coming days.
19. NSW ENERGY & WATER OMBUDSMAN HELPING CONSUMERS RESOLVE ENERGY OR WATER ISSUES
With an Energy Crisis looming on the eastern seaboard, it is timely to note that the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) helps consumers resolve issues with their energy or water providers. EWON is free, fair and independent.
We investigate and resolve complaints by working with each party (retailer and consumer) to understand their perspective. We don’t advocate on behalf of consumers or represent the interests of energy or water providers.
EWON can help NSW customers and small businesses with issues including:
- High and estimated bills
- Debt and credit default listings
- disconnection or restriction of supply
- provider actions that affect someone’s property
- reliability and quality of supply
- connection or transfer issues
- marketing practices
- poor customer service
EWON provides interpreter services and translated information in over 40 different languages, as well as educational videos in Mandarin and Arabic.
20. THE MECHANICS OF THE NEW HYDROGEN ECONOMY
The Australian Pipeliner’s 14 June 2022 edition includes an article on the mechanics of the new hydrogen economy. The article states, “New announcements for hydrogen projects around the world are coming almost daily, with Australia leading the charge thanks to its abundant solar, wind and real estate resources.”
The article written by Managing Director, Warren Brown goes on to state, “At the moment, most of the projects are still in the pre-engineering stage and consideration of the actual mechanics of how they are to be executed is perhaps poorly defined. There is a mix of excitement and trepidation, with the speed of development tempered by the worry that their project may end up being the process plant equivalent of the Hindenburg.
While that certainly is possible, given the wrong design, construction or particular set of circumstances, it is worthwhile remembering that hydrogen has been transmitted and stored in pipelines, piping and pressure vessels for decades. Experience from the refining and aerospace industries can be drawn from to demonstrate that, with due care, hydrogen does not represent a particularly extraordinary challenge.
It is this exact experience, including being a world-leader in pressure boundary bolted joints, that has led to Integrity Engineering Solutions performing consulting work on the mechanical, material and welding considerations for a number of Australian and international projects in the Hydrogen sector. Our work has included assessment of materials selection, mechanical design, and hydrogen storage solutions for both ultra-high temperature hydrogen production processes and renewable energy driven hydrogen production and processing plants.
As a result of these projects, it was our finding that, as long as certain situations are avoided (for example HTHA, High Temperature Hydrogen Attack), then the risk profile of hydrogen is very similar to other hydrocarbons. Due to hydrogen’s low density and ease of ignition, it is demonstrable using industry standards that there is very little difference with respect to consequence by comparison to other hydrocarbons.
From our refining experience, if best practices are followed, then leakage of hydrogen should not represent a higher likelihood than other hydrocarbons in refining and LNG. Therefore, the overall risk profile of hydrogen can be maintained at a level that is similar to current hydrocarbon processes. This, in turn, enables the use of current and known risk analysis, risk management and inspection management procedures from the hydrocarbon sector in the hydrogen sector, which is of great benefit.
Of course, if sub-optimal practices are employed, then the certainty of ignition and high propensity to leak due to the small molecule size can make damage from hydrogen leakage extensive.
The future is green, but pipeliners need to ensure care is taken at the design and construction stages to ensure hydrogen continues to be part of that green future.”
21. WEBINAR ON UPCOMING PHASE TWO CHANGES TO SMALL-SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY SCHEME (SRES)
The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) is inviting Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) participants to join the forthcoming webinar covering the phase two changes to the scheme.
From 1 July 2022, the following changes come into effect:
- Designer and installer accreditation scheme – the Clean Energy Regulator (the agency) must open an application round and approve a designer and installer accreditation scheme(s).
- Product listing – the agency may, after public consultation, nominate a body to publish lists of approved solar components (solar PV modules and inverters).
To ensure SRES participants are informed and prepared for these changes, the agency is hosting a webinar on 29 June 2022 at 10am (AEST).
REGISTER NOW for the webinar to learn about the phase two SRES reforms changes.
For queries about the SRES reforms prior to the webinars, please CONTACT CER.
Learn more about the first phase of changes that came into effect on 1 April 2022 via our website.