Electrical safety summit
Watch the Summit recording, which saw electrical industry leaders focus on global supply and emerging technologies in the electrical industry.
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Good morning, everyone.
Give the room a moment to quieten down.
Thank you for the... Good morning, everyone. And welcome to the Electrical Safety Summit.
I'm Belinda Watton. I'm currently an executive with Energy Queensland currently leading the contestable Yurika Energy Business. And I'll be your MC for this morning.
Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet today and their elders past, present and emerging.
Some very simple housekeeping tips for those that might already not already know. The toilets are over to our left. If we do have an evacuation, which we are not aware of any planned for this morning, please follow the Vic Park staff to safety. For those of you who are online, if you have any issues with your browser, please try to refresh, make sure your volume's up and worst case scenario, there's a Q&A chat box in the bottom right of your screen. Not withstanding that, I'm sure you'll be able to catch up with us at a later stage if that doesn't work out.
So this is the sixth electricity safety summit following on from a great event last year, where we focused on workforce competency. It's exciting to see everybody gathered here this morning. It's great to be in person and we have a wonderful contingency online this morning. So again, welcome.
Today's summit will focus on an issue many of us are being challenged with and the opportunities that sit in front of us, both emerging technologies and global supply. Electrical Safety Week is about raising awareness of electrical safety. We have some 59,619 licensed electrical workers in Queensland and over 7,000 electrical apprentices. So we wanna make sure that every single one of them goes home every day safely.
There's a number of acknowledgements I'd also like to make this morning. I'd like to acknowledge Keith McKenzie, Commissioner For Electrical Safety Queensland, the newly appointed DDG for the Office Of Industrial Relations, Kym Bancroft, Donna Helton, executive director of the Electrical Safety Office, Electrical Safety Board Committee and associated members. Our guest speakers, Tim Curtis, Carly Irving, Veronica Maury. And so to kick us off this morning, I would like to introduce Donna Helton from the Electrical Safety Office. Donna is the Executive Director Of Electrical Safety and oversees the strategic delivery of safety across Queensland. Donna is going to officially open the event and give us an update from the Electrical Safety Office. Welcome, Donna.
- Thank you, Belinda. Good morning, everyone. And thank you so much for joining us bright and early at this beautiful venue this morning, I'm hoping the weather warms up. It's supposed to be spring, but no one told the weather yet.
Belinda said this is our sixth electrical safety summit for Electrical Safety Week. As part of the industry, you all play a critical role in ensuring the professionalism, competency, wellbeing, and safety of Queensland's electrical industry, our homes, our communities, and our workplaces. Belinda stole my thunder with the numbers. So we have almost 60,000 licensed workers and almost 12,000 electrical contractors in Queensland on any given day, and 7,000 apprentices, unless you hold your age really well, no one in this room, I don't think, has a living knowledge of what life is like without electricity. We don't remember not being able to have lighting, heating, cooling, cooking, all of the things that we take for granted. And for those of you in the room that are a lot younger than me, the gaming, your iPhones, your PCs, your laptops, all of those things that they can't live without. It's something that we are so used to. Something that we cannot see or often smell or hear. It's really easy to get complacent. Sadly, complacency around electricity will often result in injuries and fatalities.
In the last financial year, we had 25 serious electrical injuries and four fatalities. That's four families, four workplaces, four moms, four dads that don't have a son or a daughter or a workplace or a loved one anymore. That's a massive ripple effect across our community and across the industry, and it's four people too many. Interestingly enough, only one of these fatalities in the past 12 months was a licensed electrical worker. Everyone else was a member of the public or the community, which tells us something. People around electricity are complacent and complacency is fatal. I ask you today while you're having breakfast to turn your mind to one question, what's one thing that you, your workplace, your loved ones can do to share the message about electrical safety? And for those of you online, if you can join us in the chat, it would be great. I think we've got about 220 people online today. So 100 people in the room, and 220, which is a great turnout. And I'll come back to that later. In August, 2020, the Queensland Minister For Education, Minister For Industrial Relations and Minister For Racing, the Honorable Grace Grace announced the independent review of the Electrical Safety Act. This act was over 20 years old and it was long awaited for the review. The purpose was to consider what legislative changes might be needed to ensure our safety laws are fit for purpose with specific focus on new and emerging technologies. And to recommend those changes to the minister for government consideration. I know many of you in this room were involved in the submissions and the working groups as part of that review, the report and recommendations are finished and are due to be released in the coming months. We'll keep you updated as things progress in that space. It's very exciting, and we're all looking forward to that. On this note, you all know emerging technologies and renewable energy has led to significant changes for electrical storage, generation and supply. It's projected that Queensland will move from using 5% renewable energy sources in 2020 to 70% in 2050. Again, all in our working lifetime or at least in our living memory. This is a massive leap in a short period. With renewables, hydrogen and battery energy storage systems, this is an exciting time for all of us, but changes often bring challenges. I'm really proud to lead the team of the ESO. And I'm pleased to see a couple of 'em around the room today. If you've got any questions, I'm sure that ESO or the Electrical Safety Office members will make themselves known. Emerging renewable technologies are high on our agenda along with another priority areas, which include unlicensed electrical work, contact with overhead lines, working around energized parts and the risk of arc flash, compliance with the installation safety standards and the safe sale of electrical equipment for all Queenslanders. I asked you the question about what can you do to share the message of electrical safety? And I'm sure the question you asked is what are you doing about electrical safety? So I'll give you a quick recount, 'cause there's plenty of other speakers that you wanna hear from today. We're continuing to investigate online platforms being used to advertise unlicensed electrical work. In the past 24 months, we've had over 400 ads removed for people that are touting for electrical services that don't have the appropriate licenses in Queensland. And we're working at the front end with the platform providers to give them the license details of everyone in Queensland so they can take them off before they get work out in the field. This is in addition to on the spot fines and court proceedings, which is totaled just over $273,000 in the past two years for unlicensed electrical work. We are also ensuring compliance within industry with the first immediate license suspension in Queensland and to my knowledge, anywhere in Australia for very serious non-compliance with the wiring rules and the first industrial manslaughter of prosecution is currently before the court. We are integral in the recall of electrical equipment. Brian Richardson's in the room for those of you that've been around, Brian has... Over there. I'll use one of Stacy's jokes. Brian was born in the Electrical Safety Office, I think. He's been around for many, many years. We've had five recalls in the past year and one that'll bring your attention to, hopefully this will work. Oh, you're doing it for me. Thank you. Is the LG solar energy storage battery recall. If this is not on your radar, please make sure it is. It's a massive recall. It's an international recall. If you want any information about it, please talk to Brian, but please talk to your stakeholders, your clients and your networks about this recall. It is a really important one. Still on Brian's team, they conducted 77 electrical equipment examinations and the Compliance And Field Services team, Michael Gibson, who I know is also in the room, conducted just over 4,000 audits and assessments in the industry. We are focusing on the emerging issue of working around energized parts and the risk of arc flash. If you're one of the 137,000 people that have looked at our recent arc flash film, well done, if not, please have a look at it and share it with your networks. So if you just Google arc flash or arc flash safety, that should come up, it'll come up on YouTube or on our website. Please have a look at it. This film was done in conjunction with Electrical Safety Board And Committees and was on the back of research that was commenced with Dr. Christian Casey and Dr. Richard Franklin. Again, if you haven't had a look at the research, please do. It's on the next slide. It's quite a lengthy title as all research articles are, but if you just type in shaping frontline practices, a scoping review of human factors implicated in electrical safety incidents. That's a mouthful before coffee, please have a read. What else are we doing? We're building a new portal. So electrical workers, contractors and apprentices can apply for and manage their licenses online. You'll be able to manage your license details, update your company and personal information, your QTPs, your QBPs, and pay a time and a place that suits you. No more paper. We'll be rolling out photographic licenses. I'm not sure if any of you have heard that we're gonna move to photographic licenses for workers. This will help protect everyone in the industry and increase community confidence that the person that turns up at their door is the person who they say they are. Someone's getting a haircut down there. The Form 10 for apprentices making license applications will be replaced by an online application form. So apprentices will be able to apply for licenses and pay for their fees online, just like workers and contractors. We're expecting this to be available in the second half of next year. In this regard, thank you to everyone in the room that provided the survey about your online preferences. The feedback we received will help us build a system that works for you and is user friendly for you. In the meantime, if we don't have your personal contact details, please let us know so we can keep you up to date with what's happening. In addition, and it's been been a little while coming. Our skills maintenance platform has been upgraded to enhance user verification, tailoring content with the license category for which you hold a license and using contemporary information as part of the testing process, that will be a lot sooner. We'll have that rolled out in the next couple of months. We're also looking at ways to promote greater visibility of our female tradies and encourage more women into industry. I'm not sure if any of you wanna hesitate a guess, but how many female apprentices do we have percentage-wise in Queensland in relation to only for electrical mechanic apprentices? Does anyone wanna have a go? Two? That's what I said. Five? No one's gonna go over 10? Everyone's shaking their head, which is interesting. 'Cause if you look at the gender balance in this room, I haven't done the head count, but I would say you a 20, 25%. It's 6% in Queensland. So 6% of our electrical mechanic apprentices are female. We'd love to see that number a lot higher, a lot more elevated. And with the boom with renewables and hydrogen, this industry is gonna need a lot bigger workforce and a lot bigger footprint. In relation to what we're doing with schools and community, we are expanding our reach and visibility focusing on regional and remote areas. We've had 133,000 visits to the Electrical Safety Community webpage, which George and his team developed less than two years ago. So there's obviously a need and an appetite for community to know what's happening in electrical safety for them and their loved ones. We've had almost 500,000 views of the Don't Do It Yourself Campaign, which has been a huge success. And we've undertaken engagement activities in Mareeba, Atherton, Mount Isa, Ingham, Lucinda, Townsville, Cloncurry and Weipa. But we need your help. If you have electrical apprentices, please encourage them to sign onto our new ESO Apprentice Publication. It's a great tool to keep up to date with things that are happening. If you are a member of industry and you are not subscribed to our ESO Electrical, sign up today. where's my slide? Oh, next one. Sorry. There we go. We'll go back to that one. I've missed my own spot. And if your family and friends are not members or don't follow us on Facebook, please ask them to do that. This is the place where we share important electrical safety information and updates, including things like recalls. Educate your clients, family, and friends. Sorry, can we go back now? About the RCM or the Regulatory Compliance Mark. Can every one of you comfortably tell me what this mark is and what it's for? Nods, shaking heads. So the RCM... It's gone. The RCM is the Regulatory Compliance Mark, which simply indicates that the importer of that product has declared that they comply with Queensland electrical safety laws. So that product is safe for sale. So it's a little tick. It's tiny. It might be on a little device that's tiny. We nearly need to be educating people. If they're buying stuff off Amazon or eBay, it could be coming from anywhere. It could be made anywhere. If you plug it in, it's not necessarily safe. So if it's got the RCM on it, please, we need to get that message out to community that they need to look for that little mark. The other one that I wanted to speak to is contact with overhead lines. It's a massive priority for our team and I know cookies in the room today. So I'm gonna give look up and leave up a little bit of a push. Over the past 20 years in Australia and New Zealand, 90% of our fatalities relate to contact with overhead lines, which is a bit scary. And if you look at the data for every contact with underground lines, you've got four contacts with overhead lines. Why? Because we are complacent with what we see. You see electrical lines day in, day out. So you hit them, you go into them, you put plant and equipment into them. So that's a massive area that we are looking at in the Electrical Safety Office. In winding up, I really wanna thank you again for joining us today. Every day each and every one of you in this industry works hard to ensure Queensland homes, hospitals, schools and our workplaces function safely. And I ask you again to challenge yourself about what's the one message you can share about electrical safety from today. And if you take one thing away from these events, it's that competence, safety and our wellbeing in this industry and community is not about each of us individually, but it's about each and every one of us working together. Work safe, home safe. Thank you.
- Thank you, Donna. It's incredible to see the ongoing work and commitment of the Electrical Safety Office. Just a reminder for everyone, there will be a Q&A panel questionnaire opportunity later. So if you have any questions, you can risk me asking my own. Please submit them through the Q&A chat box on the right of your screen. Particularly if you're online, the people in the room are gonna be brave enough to put their hands up and yell out. So next I would like to introduce Keith McKenzie, commissioner for the Electrical Safety Office. Keith was recently appointed commissioner for the Electrical Safety Office taking over from previous commissioner, Greg Skyring. Keith started his electrical career in 1986 after gaining his electrical fitter and mechanics license. He worked for several companies on domestic, commercial hospitals, petrochemical and industrial projects. Keith has served on a range of boards and committees in the areas of apprentice training, construction, training competencies, workplace health and safety and Australian standards. He's been a member of the Electrical Safety Board and Electrical Licensing Committee since 2011, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the role in Queensland's electrical industry. I've had the opportunity of serving on the Electrical Safety Board with Keith and I love his passion, his pace, and his determination. So again, congratulations and welcome Keith.
- So welcome everyone to this summit. And first I'd like to also acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Djargurd Wurrong people, and also pay my respects to elders past present and emerging. It was and always will be indigenous land. We also like to thank all the staff of the Electrical Safety Office and the awareness engagement unit for the putting this event together and also Electrical Safety Week. A big round of applause for those people into this event. Well done. So as you heard a bit about my background, electrical fitter mechanic I've done a fair bit of work in the commercial, industrial and petrochemical areas and a poll undertaken recently, probably one of the best electricians in Queensland. I did that poll myself. Also had the privilege of working for the Electrical Trade Union for 23 years. And in that role, representing workers on, as Belinda said on various boards and committees. So I believe with the knowledge I've been able to achieve over that time, I can certainly serve the role of the commissioner quite well. The function of the commissioner in Queensland is extremely important. There's two roles. One, to manage the activities of the various boards and committees, and also generally advised the minister about electrical safety, but this can only be achieved with a combination of the work through the effective regulator and the Electrical Safety Office with Queensland having its own electrical legislation. And that certainly with having that, I think were the envy of most of the other states and territories. Today, I'd like to knowledge the work of the previous commissioner, Greg Skyring, who obviously retired in July this year. Under Greg's leadership and industry knowledge, he was certainly an asset to the role. He oversaw the previous five-year plan, the 2018-2022 plan. That's still a few things left to do. He didn't knock 'em all off, so I've gotta do that in the next couple of months. But over that plan, we work with the regulator and industry and committee we'd be able to achieve so much, but there's still fair bit more to do. The plan that we currently working under now there's some strategic levers. One was a safety leadership and partnership, which was drive leadership on all parts of the supply chain. So that's from the board level right down to the worker, to the apprentice and everyone in between, making sure we've got that leadership and the right safety culture, the emerging and existing technologies to research and understand existing technologies, and impact of electrical safety. And that is moving so fast with this new technology. We've gotta keep abreast of that. It's a workforce competencies to extend the improvement of workforce skills and companies in response to those needs to making sure our current trades people, our apprentices understate the right training and this training is available so we can keep educating those workers. And it's a global supply of equipment through design and quality assurance. And that's the oldest equipment that's now and getting developed and stuff coming from overseas and getting approved. And obviously with that EEAA system that was developed on Queensland then and rolled out to across Australia, but there's only four states have picked that up, but there's still more to do to ensure that when consumers buy electrical equipment, it is electrically safe. It's also good to have effective regulation too. So in Queensland and with its own Electrical Safety Act, like I said, with the envy of most other states, it's important to keep driving that regulation. And as part of that regulation, we've got Electrical Safety Board and we've got three committees. We've got the Education Committee that provides education to the board and what we need to do for workers and contractors and the community and various other industry stakeholders. We've got the equipment committee that reviews systems and processes to making sure equipment we currently have and equipment that we're gonna import and how we monitor those electrically safe. And we have the Licensing Committee who provides advice on changes to licensing training requirements, but also has a judicial function. And that function is to look after the people who attend, who've been notified by the Safety Office where work they've done is not electrically safe. And unfortunately there's too many workers and contractors attending the licensing and committee hearings where a person's received a shock as in being of the worker, someone from the community's received a shock or worse is even apprentices out there receiving shocks. And there's far too many. And the licensing committee used to meet once a month. Now they're meeting two days once a month and it's even getting more. And I think that the referrals through the Electrical Safety Office to the licensing committee is only the tip of the iceberg of some of the work being undertaking out there. And it's not acceptable. And we've gotta do more about that because unfortunately, I think some fatalities are gonna happen. It's just by hook by crook that people actually are surviving. And you only need one shock and your first shock could be your last shock. You see people, I did get electric shock who got a belt, a buzz or a tap. You come in contact with electricity and it's lucky that you've been here. So we've gotta do more in that space. I know everyone here is passionate about electrical safety. So next year we've gotta develop a new five-year plan, the '23 to '27 plan. And obviously those strategic levers I mentioned before, maybe the same, we might need to add some more or take some off, but I think we're basically more like adding more. And to do that, the new plan would be involved, the consultation with obviously the boards and the committees, Electrical Safety Office union, industry stakeholders, industry associations, community engagement, they're important, and industry reference groups and our training organizations. We also gotta talk to people like the entities, the agriculture industry, Queensland Rail, and other industry bodies out there to try and get the message, what we need to do to ensure electrical safety is on the forefront for people in Queensland. As Donna said, the Electrical Safety Act undertook a review last year, and there's quite a few recommendations to come out of that. And we'll wait for the minister to hopefully see if she's gonna pick all of them up or maybe knock a few off, but we'll wait and see. And that's when the big job will start. I was involved in 2002 when the Electrical Safety Act was, I guess, enacted. And we did that roll out, but now it's time to review that. And hopefully the commitment from that is every five years, the Safety Act should be reviewed and updated as new technology. And we'd like to thank Dick William is a reviewer, and everyone who spent a fair bit of time on that review, going through all the recommendations and actually putting suggestions forward and also and also the staff in the policy unit that actually put those reviews together. 'Cause there's a lot of meetings and a lot of good stuff came out of that. Hopefully all the recommendations will get picked up. So where do we go through from here? The emerging technologies is coming fast. We've got solar batteries, wind generation, we've got electric vehicles and buses, we've got drones, we've got hydrogen all coming our way. So our workforce capabilities need to be ready. And to assist with that, a year ago, Electro Group Training received $90 million from the Queensland government and industry. Through another $6 million to build a training facility out of Pinkenba and buy a $23 million facility out there to provide training in the style of wind generations, solar charging with a wind turbine, a climbing counter telecommunications tower. And there's no reason why it's not in Pinkenba, where it's close to the Brisbane Airport. So people can potentially, with the work going around Queensland, people can fly in and fly out and undertake training. But to doing so, it's certainly important that we also get people to attend even post trade training. The man of the out there and the private RTOs, we've gotta keep more courses happening. Hopefully our apprentices are trained correctly. And the training was done through the Training Program Of Apprentices, but that's gotta keep up the speed with emerging technology. So everyone's got an ownership in the whole training aspect to go and do a bit more and make sure there's training available. So Electrical Safety Week is here, and we've gotta use this opportunity to be safe. We need to review our safe systems of work with our companies and employees. Now, I don't want anyone to put your hand up and embarrass yourself because Michael Gibson is from compliance and will probably work out who you are. Well, I want you to have a think about, are your workers competent? Now electrical license doesn't mean they're competent, it means they're licensed to undertake electrical works. So these are workers that you employ, are they competent? And how do do you know that? How do you know that they're competent? And when's the last time that your employees actually undertook some training would be formal training, or you're put 'em through some training? How do you know this? Have they done a testing course? A refresher course? And if so, how long ago? In the last 12 months, have any employees or yourselves received electric shock, belt, tingle or a zap? Some of you wanna put your hand up. And do you know of any of your apprentices that received a shock? Because like I said, your first shock could be your last shock. It's important that we review all our systems. So don't after this nice breaky, don't just go back to work, actually have a think about what you're gonna do this year for electrical safety, where we can actually look at your systems from the board level down to your toolbox meetings with your workers, what do your workers know? Are you looking after your apprentices? Do something about it. Don't just have a feed here and then go home or knock off, or just go back to work. Just actually have a think about how we are gonna make a change with Electrical Safety Week. Soon to be available in the Electrical Safety Office. And this is a passion of Greg Skyring. And certainly the boards is to have the Electrical Safety Order too, and there was a trial that was done by Electrical Energy Safe Queensland, where contractors and people of enterprising employing electricians. We have a commitment to undertake this audit tool, do a survey of their employees, how they thought safety was implemented in their business. And on there there'll be a tool to actually have a workbook and facilitate a training facilitator so they can actually under take some training and then a review to see what sort of management system you've got for electrical safety. There's one on there now. which should generally for workplace health and safety, but a lot of work's gone into this to develop one for electrical safety, 'cause we're a bit of a niche market here and we're more highly skilled than most of the other trades. And finally, finalizing this today is that electrical safety is everyone's responsibility. And I guess we're talking to like-minded people here. So whether you've been an apprentice to a worker, now an employer, we are the training field, everyone's got their own little bit they need to do to achieve electrical safety. My name's Keith McKenzie. I'm the Commissioner For Electrical Safety. Thanks everyone for making the time to be here today. And I'll see you around the traps. Thank you.
- Thanks again, Keith. Belt, tingle, zap and my least favorite of all, tickle. And you're right, the first shot could be your last. And I think that message are your workers competent and how do you know? Is incredibly important and one for us all to reflect on. Thanks, Keith. And now it's my pleasure to introduce Tim Curtis, the author and director of "The Resilience Shield." And evidenced based model on resilience. Tim has had more than 20 years of leadership and management experience, including his first career with the Special Air Services, SAS, regiment. Today, Tim will provide really important tips and insights to manage your mental health and that of your team. So welcome, Tim.
- Good morning, everyone. So I'm an ex-SAS guy with an MBA and that was certainly one of my roles. Now I'm an author, but I'm also a proud father. You heard a little bit about my bio. Let me get to know you a bit better. How many parents are in the room? Okay. Parents of boys? Brilliant. Parents of girls? To the parents of girls on the subject of resilience there's nothing I can do for you here today. And I say that with all the love in my heart, I have a boy and two teenage daughters and I would on their worst day prefer to confront Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State than those two terrorists. Now the subject that we're gonna talk about today, resilience is a word that's been dramatically used certainly in the last two years. And I'm here to tell you one thing. In a room full of leaders, no resilience, no leader. If you think about the leaders that have most inspired you through your career, I'll nearly guarantee you that they were innately resilient, but more importantly, they would have built their resilience. If you don't do the same, no one's gonna come to you for guidance, support, or leadership. So in this session, I wanna talk about the things that you can do for you, but also how do we set the preconditions in our workplace for our own teams to become more resilient? If you asked me, well, what's your definition of resilience? I'd use this phrase from a Roman emperor, a stoic philosopher, Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who said that we should get busy with life's purpose, toss aside our empty hopes, get active in your own rescue. If you care for yourself at all and do it while you can. We're the exact opposite in our theory of victimhood. We are about making sure that you can get active in your own rescue. You can do something for yourself so that others don't have to. I'd like to start with a little story and it involves this vessel. It's the merchant vessel Pong Su. 106 meters long with a 20 meter free board. That is the distance from the water line up to the deck. It's flagged out of a country called Tuvalu, but it's actually a flag of convenience because this vessel, the Pong Su, was owned by the North Koreans who make about 12.5% of their gross domestic product in using vessels like this to move illegally, contraband, including currency, including people and including drugs around the world. Now, the time that this vessel entered Australia, I was leading the counter-terrorist squadron at the SAS regimen. We're about to head on Easter leave. And I got a call from my boss who urgently summons me to his office and he gave me an intelligence brief that sounds a little bit like this. Tim, a North Korean drug vessel has just come down the west coast of Australia, undetected around to a place called Lorne in Victoria and has put ashore 150 kilograms of drugs. And in the process of doing so, a dead body has washed up onshore, wrapped in kelp, wrapped in seaweed. I want your squadron to go on board and seize that vessel. Now we did some time speed and distance calculations. The SAS counter-terrorist squadron, always flies using air force aircraft there over on the East Coast, the SAS is on the West Coast. We thought this is never gonna happen. It's gonna take 12 hours for those aircraft to get to us. And it'll fizz out by the time we deploy, not a rare occurrence in the SAS, but the prime minister of the day, John Howard, had completely different ideas. He wanted that vessel boarded and seized quickly. So as we were doing some baseline tactical planning in walked a movement clerk with 35 tickets on the next Qantas airplane. Now we thought it would take 100 to be able to board and seize that vessel. We had 35 seats on a Qantas airplane. The other problem with flying commercial air is a lot of the equipment that we really needed specifically to get from the waterline up onto the deck, this boarding equipment wouldn't physically fit in the hold. It was too long or too bulky. So we had a third of the force that we really wanted and some of the equipment that we wanted, we couldn't take. We came up with a bit of a cunning plan on that Qantas flight. We were moving so fast that without exaggeration, that tactical plan was written in the back of the Qantas in flight magazine and it involved a helicopter assault force using Black Hawk army helicopters to carry out 35 people from a forward mounting base in Sydney, directly out to the Pong Su, which at this stage was dwelling around about Eden off the coast of New South Wales, fast rope onto the deck using a technique that was well practiced, seize it, handed over to a steaming party, winch ourselves off. And we would be celebrating in the Coogee Bay Hotel with beer and meals by six o'clock. There was a problem with that plan. And the problem was pretty simple. When I presented it to my boss, the then Special Operations Commander, Duncan Lewis, who later became the head of ASIO. He said, "I don't like your plan. I don't believe the army helicopter pilots have the capability to fly for long distance over water. And I, by the way, if the Pong Su turns right and goes to New Zealand, it'll be mission failure. You'll never get there. You need to adjust your plan." So we amended our plan. We embarked a frigate, HMA Stewart in Sydney. We didn't wanna do that because the sea state that weekend was sea state six. And for those Mariners in the room, you'll realize there is profound discomfort in traveling in a sea state six condition. In fact, there was a tactical team from the federal police who had been tailing the Pong Su, that tactical team was riddled with sea sickness. To use a technical SAS term, they were combat ineffective. They were so ill they couldn't do anything. So we boarded HMA Stewart, a frigate about the same size as the Pong Su and we set off into those rough conditions and we amended our plan to still include our helicopter assault force, but also we added a boat assault force. The helicopter assault force had a number of constraints. Remember I wanted six army Black Hawk helicopters. Embarked on this frigate was one Navy Sea Hawk helicopter sounds the same, but these helicopters are fantastic for hunting submarines, terrible to carry troops. They only have one sliding door, which means that you've gotta all cram yourself in to get out that one door. They don't have a purpose built fast rope attachment device. And so a fast rope has to get attached to the winch, which is rated for about 200 kilograms, which limits the amount of people you can have sliding down that rope. The boats were also Navy boats. They were rigid hull inflatable boats. Now we had the same sort of boats in the SAS regimen, but ours were a little different. The Navy don't like petrol. We don't mind petrol. So the Navy boats were diesel and the engines they had on their boats were dramatically undersized to the engines we had in our boats. So put those boats to sea in sea state six, it was gonna be very challenging for the teams coming out of those boats without the right boarding equipment and on demand to get onto that vessel. The tactical plan was pretty simple. The boat assault force, unlikely to get there, certainly not quickly. So they got the lower priority areas of the ship, the helicopter assault force, guaranteed to get there quickly. They had the higher priority areas of the ship, namely the bridge and the engine room. Take those two things, and you've absolutely guaranteed mission success. It took us about 24 hours to catch the Pong Su and we went through our normal protocol. Seeing if we could have the skipper acquiesce to our demands and conduct an unopposed boarding. He didn't agree. So that John Howard on a satellite call said, "Go ahead, board and seize that vessel." As we're about to load into the helicopters and the boats, we got a couple of heartwarming additional pieces of intelligence. The first was this, the last time anyone had tried to board a North Korean state sponsored vessel like this, it was the Japanese Coast Guard and there were north Korean Special Forces operators on board and they fired back with a .50 caliber machine gun. That's a bullet about that long and it would make light work of an inflatable boat and one helicopter. The second piece of intelligence that was given to us was a coast watch aircraft that was supporting our mission, had identified a complex antenna array at the back of the super structure of the Pong Su and that complex antenna array nearly guaranteed that there would be North Korean special forces on board. So we launched and it did not play out the way that we thought it would. The sea state created those two gantries swinging wildly in the breeze, threatening to swat the helicopter out of the air. The helicopter pilot incredibly skillful, was trying to get the aircraft into a position where they could safely drop that one fast rope and have us rope down that winch attachment device. Conversely, the boat assault force through reasons I still don't particularly understand, managed to get to the side of the ship and carrying about 20 kilograms of weapons, explosives and breaching tools climbed a caving ladder about that wide and arrived on the deck before the helicopter assault force had deployed their fast rope. And at that particular point, we saw some exceptional leadership, a junior team commander who just climbed out of those boats, looked up at this helicopter, which was still jockeying to find that safe position to drop their fast rope. And that junior team commander changed the whole tactical plan. They didn't ask for permission. They didn't even make a radio call. They just decided I'll now take the bridge, you now take the engine room and let's allow all of the other teams to just flow on and take their new areas. That is that is resilient leadership. What we know from our work on resilience is this shared and common understanding of purpose, this centralized intent, but an ability to decentralize the execution is core to taking resilience in your professional lives. That junior team commander themselves demonstrated resilience leadership. We were diminished. There were people that were seasick. We didn't have the boarding equipment, not our preferred helicopter, not our preferred boats. And oh, by the way, the threat of North Korean special forces being on board. But we still were able to execute with excellence because of that shared purpose, but an ability to decentralize the execution of that. The story wouldn't be complete if I didn't tell you that yeah, There were North Korean Special Forces on board. Fortunately for us, when they put those drugs ashore at Lorne, the person wrapped up in seaweed was a North Korean Special Forces operator. And he had a buddy that was hypothermic on the beach and was later arrested by the police, which left two North Korean Special Forces operators onboard the Pong Su, and we figure that when they saw guys and girls in black sliding down ropes with a large Navy frigate with big guns, that could let us have it. And what about that complex antenna array at the back of the super structure that guaranteed North Korean Special Forces were on board? Well, I'm here to tell you it was a washing line complete with the captain's undies pegged to it, bad intelligence. It was circumstances like that, like my experience working in Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan in Somalia, and the experiences of my co-authors that led us to want to explore the topic of resilience and write this book, "The Resilience Shield," but it was important that we didn't write a book that said once upon a time we are in the SAS, we did these things, you should just do these things too. 'Cause there is plenty of examples of guys and girls in that unit that have been dramatically affected, physically and/or mentally and have diminished resilience. So we came up with a model. We gave the model to the University of Western Australia and we said to Dr Lies Notebaert, an acclaimed psychologist in the field of resilience and vulnerability, Dr. Lies, break the model. And we're delighted to say that she didn't, she came back and validated the model. And about two weeks ago published the results of our resilience survey in a psychology journal. So what is the model? Well, the model recognizes the iconography of a shield and that shield has a series of layers, an innate layer, part nature, part nurture. You all sit here with some level of resilience. It's not the same. It's unique to you. Part of it is your genetics. Part of it is your epigenetics. Sadly, it's not particularly modifiable. We can't rewind in our lives and change the way that we've been brought up nor can we change the construct of our DNA. The first truly modifiable layer, therefore, is the mind layer. It's the first amongst equals. It's the most powerful driver to this thing called resilience. It breaks into two parts. The first part is mindset. The way that you view adversity, do you see the challenge or do you see the challenge with some implicit opportunity? And the second part is the importance of mindfulness and meditation. Now here's an ex-SAS guy talking about the importance of meditation. I was skeptical too. There is so much evidence pointing to the value of mindfulness and meditation, processes and it's contribution to resilience, it is untold. Focus and attention, your ability to improve working memory and a range of other factors correlate strongly with mindfulness and meditation practices. The body layer. I get no prizes for telling you that the body layer breaks into three parts, sleep, diet, and exercise. But when we encounter stress in our life, what are the first three things that go? Sleep, diet and exercise. So we know they're really important, but we're happy to let them go. Of those three things, sleep is the superpower. If you had to compromise one or more of the three, you would never compromise sleep. If you do, through the style of shifts that you work or the style of shifts that your teamwork, you are placing them into a position where they are more likely to make an error. The social layer, the importance of social support systems. People in our lives that are there for us and whom we are there for. A professional layer. If we're not good at our jobs, it's likely to bring too much stress into our life. It's the interplay between competence and confidence in many ways. Anyone ever worked for someone who's not very competent, but highly confident they're likely to get themselves and/or you killed in your business. This is about how we raise our competence in line with our confidence. And the bonus layer, the layer that you get for free is adaptation. It's your ability to do things that you never thought were possible because broadly you're strong in those subordinate layers. Now resilience water boarding could be a thing here this morning, but I'm just gonna look at a few things that you can do that you can incorporate into your lives and the lives of your team to make yourself and them more resilient. And everything that I'll talk to you about is evidence based. It's not our theory, there are years of academic research that sit behind this. Let's start with the mind layer. Who doesn't know what that is? It's always someone. What is it then? Test pattern. And in the 1980s, when we only had a few television stations, usually black and white, the test pattern would appear late at night and disappear early on in the morning. It enabled the channel to reflect on what had happened that day, to reset, to send all their staff home, to decompress, and then to reset ahead of the programming day ahead. When are we ever now able to put our minds into a test pattern? It's not possible. The University of California and Los Angeles tell us that every day you are consuming 34 gigabytes of information. That's the equivalent of reading a 100,000 word book every single day. And that's compounding by 5% year on year. And that is the reason why we are having problems. This brain of ours is 200,000 years old. It runs version 1.0 Cro-Magnon software and we are not due another software upgrade for another 100,000 years. It doesn't have the purge valves to get rid of the 34 gigabytes of information with one small exception. You do it a little bit in sleep. What does that boil down to? Well, 34 gigabytes boils down to you thinking about four to seven things at any one time. You're doing it right now. You're listening to me and you're thinking about a variety of other things. This is where the problem occurs. This concurrent thinking with all of this information that we are consuming on a daily basis. I talked about the mind being the first amongst equals. The most important of the modifiable layers. And we knew this from our days in SAS selection. Not at the time, we were pretty ignorant to it. SAS selection course is a 21 day course. And on day one, 150 candidates stand there, guys and girls in the prime of their physical life. Many of them look like they've just walked off the front cover of a fitness magazine. But on day two, three, maybe day four, the really fit people have withdrawn themselves from the course. By day 21, only the tough ones remain, which begs the question. What's the difference between fitness and toughness? It's what's between your ears. Without question, the tough people still had to have some level of fitness, but they were nowhere near as fit as the super fit ones that withdrew themselves at the formative end of the course. We often get asked the question when it comes to mindset, meditation and mindfulness, how do you get involved in it? And there's one simple way. One simple thing that you can do, take up downhill mountain biking. Does anyone do downhill mountain biking? Yep. What are you thinking about when you're charging down a hill on your mountain bike?
- Don't come off.
- Don't come off. Maybe only where your wheel is next. You're not worrying about four to seven things. The chronic illness in the family, your mortgage, problems at work, the challenges of that young apprentice, you are just thinking about don't come off. In many ways, this isn't downhill mountain biking, it's a meditative practice. It's creating a purge valve that is allowing you to decompress, to empty the trash, to get rid of some of those 34 gigabytes of information. The remnants of nonsense, that just are not important. There's many other examples. Who plays this ridiculous game? If you walked up to that tee thinking of four to seven things, what happens next? If you have four to seven things racing through your brain on the first tee, what happens next?
- You gaff the ball.
- You gaff the ball. You slice it, you hook it, you miss it completely. Now it doesn't have to be downhill mountain biking or golf or surfing in this wonderful state. It can be anything that brings your attention down from four to seven things to the one thing. Woodworking, , playing a musical instrument. We all think that they are those things, but they're meditative activities. And for those that have a formal meditation practice, it's the difference between one thing and when you transcend in that meditation practice, thinking about none things. An easy gateway into a meditation practice for those that don't have one is just bringing your attention very simply to your breath. Now I run the risk of being held down here and laughed outta the room, but who has a breathing practice? If I were to tell you that one of the habits of the truly elite is that they breathe, deep, deliberately and consciously. You probably wouldn't doubt me. If I told you that the Sydney Roosters Rugby League Club, before they go and play a game, breathe together as a team to regulate their physiology, you probably wouldn't doubt me. There are so many examples of people who use breathing as a technique to ground themselves, to regulate themselves. Let's turn our attention to the social layer. This guy, Napoleon Hill in 1937, wrote a book called "Think And Grow Rich." Arguably the first ever self-help book, he talks about the importance of a mastermind group. A group of five people that are closest to you. It spawned a variety of other little phrases from Jim Rowan. Show me your friends and I'll show you your future. Or you are the sum of the five people you're closest with. That's grounded in research, Dr David McClelland at Harvard identified in the 1970s, that 95% of our success is dependent upon who we hang out with. He used the word habituate, who we habituate with. If you were to write down the five people closest to you, and whether they're gonna contribute to 95% of your success, it's an interesting way as leaders to think about who's important in our lives. Who has pets? Pets contribute to resilience, our research shows us. Where are the cat owners? A couple. Dog owners? Okay. Sadly for the cat owners, dogs contribute to resilience more than cats and I myself have a dog. He's half Jack Russell. So he thinks he's really tough, but he's also half Chihuahua. So he is actually really pathetic. His name is Jack. This is Jack. Jack is the one on the right hand side. And you know how they say, pets look like they're owners or vice versa. I have no idea what that says about me, but pets value add to resilience. Finishing off, in our professional lives, this is about finding work with meaning or meaning in your work. I've already talked about the importance of purpose in that little vignette on the Pong Su. But we know from our research, that problems occur when your role that is what's written on your business card is your identity. That is who you really are. Where there's no daylight between those two things. Well, you are the senior vice president of sales, marketing, and advertising. Great for you. But if you only identify as being in that role, when it's taken away from you and it will be, at some point, we see chronic problems, including mental health. The most public examples are in elite sporting fields where that young, enthusiastic sports person suddenly has their career fore-shortened through injury, or maybe they just weren't as competent as they actually thought. And then we start to see them turn to maladaptive coping mechanisms, alcohol, drugs, and/or have mental health issues. So like you wouldn't put all of your assets into one investment class, don't put all of your identity into one thing. Be the coach of your kids' basketball side, be a woodworker, be a surfer, be a great dad, be a range of different things, and the key test on that is think, if someone bused into this room and took one of those things from me, would I really be worried? And if the answer is no, then you have a diversified identity portfolio. This has become profoundly important in the last couple of years. And it's the last thing that I want to leave you with. Psychological transition is being the best version of you in the next engagement. Dr. Adam Fraser wrote a book called "Third Space." He's a US psychologist. The first space is where we are right now in this room. The second space is where you are going to next. The third space is the distance in between. It could be meeting to meeting. It could be this room to your next engagement. It could be work to home or home to work. How you use this third space in the zone of psychological transitions ultimately defines you as a leader. If you don't use this zone constructively, you will not enter your house or the next meeting or that next engagement being the energy in the room. There's a wonderful saying. Some people light up the room when they walk in, others light up the room when they walk out. That psychological transition enables you to think about how you light up the room when you walk in. Thank you very much for having me. I'll be on the panel later and I will hang around if you have any specific questions, I really appreciate your time.
- Wonderful, Tim, thank you very much. You've shared a lot with us this morning and given us a lot to take away. I think you gave me permission to get another dog and to clear out some of those five people that are closest to me. So thank you very much, but the model you've shared and your book, "The Resilience Shield," I think are great go-to places for some of the simple ideas that you shared today. So thank you. And as Tim mentioned, we are gonna have the Q&A panel. So again, if you are online and you have a question, pop it in the Q&A box. And for those of you in the room, you've heard from a few speakers now. So jot your questions down as they come to you. So the the next presenter for me certainly doesn't need an introduction, but for you, Carly Irving is currently the CEO of NRMA Energy. And with over 25 years experience, Carly has built an extensive career history navigating her way through operations, HR, marketing, and education roles. Carly was recently appointed CEO of NRMA Energy. Following her time as executive general manager for Yurika Energy. It's a role that we are currently filling. I'm currently leading and they're big shoes to fill. No question. Carly is very vocal in advocating for the rights of women in business and the electrical trade. And today Carly will share her personal experiences and provide some really important insights into battery storage and energy system. So welcome, Carly.
- Bit of a tag team here. So thank you. Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land in which we meet today and for the elders past present and future. So battery storage, as we kind of spoke about earlier, all technologies in fact are coming quickly. And from an NRMA perspective, I just give an idea of what we're doing with battery storage, firstly, and then why I'm so keen on having some insights that we need to make some action quickly. So fundamentally, NRMA are going to build an electric highway, a national electric highway of EV charges of all sizes all the way around Australia. Part of that though will be having batteries that will sit behind that. So that means that communities will have exposure as we do now with batteries, there'll be a whole range of small size, home size batteries, all the way to large network size batteries. So over the past couple of years, even longer than that, the batteries were kind of known like solar was 10, 15 years ago is for early adopters. But that's changed. Everyone now has realized for the energy transition, that batteries are gonna play a really critical part in our transition. We need to be able to bring the generation in and store it and then use it when we can later. So when that happens, what happens is I'm just going to change slides. What happens is that becomes technical complexities. The batteries are range of areas. They come in different sizes. They come in different shapes. They come in different configurations. With that comes complexities. One of the key things and key learnings that I learned from some personal experience in building batteries is they don't turn off. Batteries, unlike some other technologies, batteries don't turn off. So there's a whole range of issues that we need to know about them. And from a training perspective and a skill set, very, very critical. I just wanna name a couple of things I think that are clear that we need to be a ship clear on, I guess, let me just move my things they don't seem to be working here. All right, So when we start with battery, a view of the battery, we need to think about the sizes, we need to think about the chemistry. We need to think about what it's going to work with. And what's happening at the moment, there's a huge demand. When there's a demand issue, there becomes a supply issue. And what we're finding at the moment is we're all chasing the same battery type at the moment. Predominantly lithium. What's also happening though, is with that comes other innovative, creative people, which is what we want. But with that comes a whole range of different technologies, inverters, batteries, chemistries, all of the different things that then all plug together. When you get a whole range of things that are all plugged together or different locations, different sizes, how do we ensure that we are all staying ahead of the game in terms of understanding how they all work? How do we know what goes with what? How do we know that this chemistry works like this? They all perform differently. So at the moment we know there are a whole range of suppliers, the big end suppliers, the Teslas of the world, the of the world, the Cutlass of the world, there are all those big, big batteries, but there's a whole range of so small suppliers that are coming on as well. And how are we as an industry gonna ensure that we've got the right standards? How are we as an industry gonna make sure that our people who are actually building them and then operating and maintaining them are going to have enough skills and knowledge to understand the complexities that come with all of those different batteries, they all differently operate. And when you put the modules together, a Tesla one looks all the same on the outside, but the inside is very different to another brand, like an ABB or Hitachi. So it's really, really important that we start working with vendors to be a bit more transparent on the way that their chemistry is made, the way it operates. We need to work with the OEMs as well, to ensure that we can see some transparency of not just tell us, is it on, is it off? The voltages isn't right. We need to have a little bit more under the hood there in terms of understanding what they do. So we've had some personal experiences and you've seen them across the states where there's battery fires. They're very difficult to just to stop. And the more electric vehicles that come along, they're batteries that are not stationary. They're just driving around everywhere. So again, we need to have an understanding of how we're going to change legislation, change standards, and be more transparent. On the commercial side of that though, it's really, really important that we are agile and that we don't bombard everything with too much bureaucratic red tape, because then the industry it's just gonna put prices up as well. So then we have this balance of ensuring that we can be safe, we have good quality, and we can keep our businesses moving in terms of the energy transition is going to be reliant on energy storage. So if we have that as a hurdle, and we're already finding that now, in terms of demand and supply, that's only gonna get harder. And in particular with the EV evolution that's coming. So some of the things that I wanted to share with you as well, is some of the types of batteries that we are gonna find, and then the risks associated with that. So even batteries in homes, we've got early adopters now that are having batteries at home, and then we've got batteries that are going to be on the outside of shopping centers. And then you're gonna have the really, really big batteries. All of those are going to require different skill sets. And they're also going to require different levels of network integration. So how are we going to ensure, if you think about how much network integration or network work we already have in terms of grid connections, transmission requirements, distribution requirements, how are we actually gonna resource the energy transition over this period of time, maintaining the different components that are all coming at the same time and maintaining the technology innovators that are just every day, there's new people contacting me about do you wanna use this battery? Well, how does it connect? Oh, well it connects no, no, let's, let's take a look. How are we gonna put some rules in place? We have to learn from the past. We wanna learn a little bit more from the solar innovation. When solar first came in, we could have probably done a few things differently in terms of readiness for it. What are the learnings that we need to take from that? From the battery side of the world? Some of the risks that we already have found are very similar are the fires. I wanna say that's one of the biggest risks, but there's also arc flash happening at the moment, polarity issues when they're putting the batteries together. There's also interesting ways that they think batteries are very similar to the substation technology. So let's do it the same way, but they're not, they've gotta have extra foundations. They've gotta have different requirements in terms of building codes, it's slightly different to what our energy industry, the traditional business does. So how are we ensuring that today we're already training our apprentices? How are we ensuring today we're already ensuring that our electrical contractors, our electricians know what they're doing. Because if you look around, there are batteries being put connected behind the meter, and people are not aware of them. And then you are walking past and you are working on someone's house and they've got batteries in there and it doesn't take long before there's problems. So from an NRMA perspective and more broadly, a safety perspective, we really want to work with industry. We wanna work with innovation and suppliers and figure out a way that we can still be agile and commercial, because that's what this business needs to do as well. In terms of, we can't wait 100 years before we come up with some standards and we also can't spend thousands and thousands of dollars. What we need to do is be a little bit more collaborative. And this is not an energy industry issue. This is a new everybody's issue because everyone, all businesses, NRMAs is traditionally automotive organization. And it is now going into the energy space. Telstra is a, is a telco business, and it is going into the energy space. So no longer is the energy industry, the way that it normally is. So we need to open our collaboration and figure out a way that we can get people on board earlier and start being creative together. We've got a finite resource pool as well. And so how do we utilize our resources that we do have? How do we multi-skill our resources that we do have? That all of those things are things that we need to think about. The communities, the rural communities, the remote communities, they are wanting to become smart cities. They are wanting to become EV friendly. Instead of dog friendly, it's now EV friendly. They are wanting to become ESG. So you can't go to places anymore, unless you have things that have got green solar and rooftop and batteries and EVs. NRMA has a huge tourism site in Queensland where they need to put down all of their rooftop, solar, and batteries and EV charges. So again, there's just so much work happening. Where are we gonna get our people to do the work? That's what's keeping me up at night, where are we gonna get our people? And not just the people, but the skills, it is different skill sets needed. And the technology and the chemistries are changing so rapidly. How do we ensure that we can keep people abreast of things? How we've done it in the past, this industry has taken hundreds of years to get to where we are. We don't have hundreds of years to get to where we need to go. So similar to the Adam Fraser, "Third Space," where do we wanna go? We need to get there differently to how we've got there so far. But I think we all have the right mindset and we all want to do the same thing. And I really liked that point about a centralized purpose with decentralized activity. I think that's key because that's exactly what all the different businesses need to do. So from my perspective, and I'm trying to check out on timing, I think it's really, really important that we... Where do we go next? And from an industry, from an energy industry supporter, there's a couple of key messages that I wanna make sure that we understand. The battery energy storage is not gonna go away, it's actually going to increase. It's probably the critical component for our energy transition. It will look like lithium today, it might be vanadium, it might be hydrogen, and there might be gravity storage as well. That's going to evolve. But as quick as I'm standing here today, there is already the new technology coming tomorrow. So the key point is, is how does industry, and industry is not any just energy industry, how does this new energy industry work together differently? How are we going to get government? How are we gonna get appropriate standards? What national standards do we need, as opposed to just state standards? How do we elevate the discussions around being more collaborative with the NDSPs on the transmission businesses and the generator businesses? How do we focus on the balance of supply? What can we insource into Australia as opposed to outsource? How do we build that manufacturing capability here again, tapping into resources? We need to work safe and go home safe. So how do we ensure that all of our people, whether it's electricians, whether it's electrical workers that work for the NDSPs, whether it's all these new businesses that are hiring electrical people, how do we ensure that they're all on the same page? And again, I just wanna say that the Electrical Safety Officer plays a very big part in that collaboration and we need to do more of that. I think that at the end of the day, it's going to take people, not process, that will make this change. People in terms of leadership. And I think that resilience is really important, and I think people in terms of understanding technologies. This is not just a seller latest technology, this is to sell the right technology and fit for purpose technologies. So our standards and our DNSP rules and regulations need to be agile as well. They need to modernize their way of thinking, and they need to modernize their way of operating without questioning the quality and without questioning the safety and that so our people can go to work safe, knowing that they're working on quality equipment and go home safe. So fundamentally from my kind of last, last piece, I'd just like to put out there that we need to advocate for change. We need to advocate that we need to think differently. How we've got to our world today is not how we're gonna move forward in the future. So how do we, as a advocate for safety do that differently? Don't have the answer right now, but we certainly do have the answers in terms of people's leadership and mindset and advocates that we have in this room and online. So thank you very much.
- Okay. Thank you, Carly. I think the energy transition and the growth for the industry is a very exciting time, and you absolutely call out some of the challenges that we're gonna have from a technology resourcing supply perspective and the role that we all have to continue to work together and collaborate to solve some of these problems into the future. Don't forget online, opportunity to throw any questions that you might have for Carly or any of the other speakers into the Q&A chat box. And our last speaker this morning is Veronica Mauri, and Veronica is the training and safety consultant and an Electrical Licensing Committee member. And Veronica has over 40 years experience in the electrical industry. And incredibly, was the first female licensed electrical contractor in Queensland, not an easy gig. Veronica will share insights as part of her role on the Electrical Licensing Committee about electrical safety, risks of installation and maintenance of emerging technology. So welcome, Veronica.
- Good morning, everybody. And thank you for turning up here this morning, and thank you for everybody online. My presentation this morning is going to address the electrical safety risks associated with the installation and maintenance of emerging technologies within our industry, the key focus of this summit this week. We're not moving? Oh, good. Okay. Okay. Got it working now. Lovely. So specifically what I'm going to look at is in the area of renewable energy generation and storage, that's specifically photovoltaic systems and battery energy storage systems. Over the past decade, we've seen a rapid uptake in the residential area of PV systems and increasingly commercial. And those can be up to 100 kilowatts, but more recently, and very much in the near future, we're going to see a rapid uptake in commercial and solar farms, 100 kilowatts and greater. The risks associated with all of this work is extreme in our industry if we are not prepared for it and competent in doing this work. So what I will share with you this morning is as a member of the Electrical Licensing Committee, and I've got a few years of experience in that role is identified electrical safety risks associated with the installation and maintenance of energy systems, as a result of disciplinary hearing actions that we have undertaken over the past few years and recommended strategies for managing those risks. For those of you who may not know what the Electrical License Committee is, it's one of the boards and committees established under the Electrical Safety Act. The committee advises the Electrical Safety Board and the board advises the minister. We are separate to the Electrical Safety Office. We are independent to that. So what do we do? Our function primarily is to advise and make recommendations to Electrical Safety Board. And as Keith has told you, the big function we have is to undertake disciplinary actions against holders of electrical licenses, and finally to review decisions made by the regulator about electrical licenses. So how this comes about. A reported electrical incident or accident is investigated by the Electrical Safety Office. If those incidents or accidents are as a result of the work of a licensed electrical worker or electrical contractor, they may be referred to the Electrical Licensing Committee for consideration of disciplinary action. The grounds for referring that, as you will see on that list up there, let me just get my notes through so I can read as well. Okay. A person or a property is not electrically safe. The person who performs the work is negligent or incompetent. The way the work is performed is not electrically safe. There is reason to believe that the license holder is not competent and that's in serious circumstances. And the license holder commits an offense against the act are the main reasons or grounds for referral to the committee. Good. Now the committee tracks our functions, the referrals coming through to us, and we analyze the data that comes through and look at what are the trends out in the marketplace and what we start to look towards, how we can change that in some way. So what I've got sitting up here is the statistics from 2021 of the referrals to, and some of the risk indicators in that year. In 2021, we undertook 58 disciplinary procedures. The numbers are increasing phenomenally. Very sad to hear that. This year already, we have undertaken 32 hearings, and there's a possible 30 still to be completed before the end of this year. They keep us very busy as Keith says. And it shouldn't be that way. It should be our industry is working safely and ensuring the work they do is safe. So in that process, then we look at what are the key risk indicators that we are observing in these actions that are here. And I've listed 12 sitting up here for you to look at. There's things like reverse polarity and MEN problems. There are things like competency, non-compliance with the wiring rules. Let's look at some of these. If we talk about PV installation and talk about battery energy storage installations, That does not stand alone in terms of a key risk indicator, 'cause quite often it sits in conjunction with a lot of other issues out there. For example, very often it's got a lot to do with failure in safe systems of work and how we do the work to ensure we perform it in a safe manner. It quite often involves lack of supervision. It quite often involves lack of competency in the class of work that that the electrical worker is undertaking. Very definitely with PV and battery and particularly with PV, it also is non-compliance with the wiring rules, particularly in the earth protection of the equipment you're installing. So they work hand in hand, it's just not an isolated risk. It's a variety of risk working together to come up with we've had an incident, we've had an accident. Someone's received electric shock, a customer has complained because the work is not done to what looks like a good standard. Primarily we quite often hear that someone's received an electric shock. If it's an electrical apprentice, that's really disconcerting. So how do we start to address that? Under the Electrical Safety Legislation, the person in control of a business or undertaking, and I'll make it easy on my having to say this all the time, I'll just say the employer. The employer has a duty of care in the way the work has performed to ensure it is electrically safe. And when the work is completed, that it is electrically safe. Principle duties of care in our legislation, in our industry. So first up I'm going to look at well, how do we go about doing that? And as I said, I looked at those key risk indicators out in the procedures and what are we seeing there? So I'll discuss five of those key risk indicators in regard to PV and BESS systems installation and maintenance. The primary underpinning thing to all this is risk. Identifying the risk hazards associated with this class of work. You've just heard from Carly, who clearly told you the risks associated with installing battery systems. The risk is there. We are already seeing referrals to the committee for someone installing battery banks who has received arc flash burns as a result of incorrect polarity when connecting up the banks. So the risks are there, PVs, the risks are there. It's understanding that risk. And we'll talk about that. The next step is planning. Developing and implementing safe systems of work, critical. The employer has a critical role to make sure there are safe systems of work in the business. Add to that is isolation. Designing in ways that are being able to isolate the systems and ensuring everyone understands the isolation process. And the last one I'll look at is supervision. Supervising the employees and particularly supervising apprentices. So I'll quickly overview the risks associated with this class of work. You have to remember, this is new technology within our industry. Yes, it's been around for over 10 years, but hey, you already know I've been in this industry for 40 years. 40 years ago, I did my training and we talked primarily about AC and we learned all the intricacies of AC and very basic information about DC, didn't we? So I started off my career with limited understanding of DC. It just helped us build up our knowledge of AC. I did a bit of training, teacher training. I did a bit of training at TAFE years ago and still the emphasis is on AC with a bit of DC. So only have you got to work in an industry where you use DC a lot that you understood the risks associated with it. So we now have PV and BESS systems that are primarily DC, connected to inverters to give us an AC supply in our electrical installations. There are a significant number of risks associated with that. Shock, fire, exhaust fumes, all add to it. With PVs, as soon as the panel is exposed to light, it starts generating. When you connect up the cables, the cables are live. So immediately you start connecting up the panels, you are performing work that is live, and you need to build in safe system to do that type of work. You need people who are aware of the risks associated with it. Carly is giving you a good overview of the risks associated with battery energy storage systems. They're real, they're real. And we've already seen people who are receiving arc flash burns and shocks from not connecting them up correctly when they're building up the battery banks. And of course, they're live all the time once they are installed and managing those risks. So I won't go into detail. I'll put a few points up there for you to read, but it's about understanding the risks associated with it. Once you understand the risk, then it's building up safe systems of work on how you do it. This is all about protecting your workers and ensuring the work complies with the standards for this class of work, the standards for PV installed and BESS installed. NIS 3000, the wiring reels for how you install and connect up the equipment and the cabling. So the planning of all of this is very important. Having that system in your business for specifically this class of work, not generic. You can have your generic ones, but if you're going to go in this class of work, you have safe systems for doing this class of work. Secondly, ensuring all of your staff are trained in your systems, know what's required of them and that you go out and you audit them to make sure they are performing the work to the required standards and in the safe way that you have trained them to do it. You need to audit your workers to make sure they are doing the work to that safe standard. And don't forget included in this, is it is important to build in a design for your ability to isolate and lock out these systems. They are alive. The wiring is alive. If you need to maintain the system, you need to be able to isolate safely. And all workers involved in the task itself need to be involved in the isolation and lock out procedure. And that includes apprentices. They're all involved in the risk assessment before starting the job and they're all involved in any isolation and lock out procedure. So the lock outs don't come off until everyone is aware of what's the next step and what's going to happen because these things are live, remember that. So that's important the process as well. And we've already clearly thanks to Kevin, to Keith and to Carly, we've already clearly pointed out to you the importance of competency for this class of work. Its new world and people need to be trained and need to have the underpinning knowledge and skills to perform this class of work. So competency, workers performing electrical work must be licensed to perform the work. And the employer of the licensed worker must ensure the worker is competent in the type of the work that is to being performed. The work you allocate them, the employer has the responsibility to ensure they're competent to perform that work. And remember, a lot of people come to us and say, but they're licensed workers, they must know what they're doing. A license is not a guarantee of competency. A license is a license to practice. So holding a license does not say you're competent. Current competency is best assessed at the occupational level. Okay. So competency also is all about accreditation and licensing, performing electric work on PV systems and BESS systems. Yes it's DC, but the moment you start to connect up and we go to 120 volts, ripple free DC you're into low voltage. Installation of low voltage equipment and cabling is electrical work and electrical worker's license is required. Electrical mechanic license is required. Oh, sorry. I skipped skipped page one too much. We'll just go back one tweak 'cause I do wanna talk about this. What's happened? No. Yep. Oh, that's the one. Sorry. Yep. Just get back to one when we talk about competence. Yes, in this class of work PV systems and BESS systems, you may require specific expertise and training in installing the systems and in maintaining the systems. And additionally, in ensuring you now have to test the systems, inspect and test the systems. It is one of the critical parts of the work we do. We can make mistakes on the job, but it's that ability to inspect and test at the end to check that it is electrically safe, that is that stop gap to make sure you're protecting your customer. So training in all these areas is critical in this new technology world. So yes, accreditation. The licensing is in there and any business that contracts the general public to perform electrical installation of PV systems or BESS systems has to be an electrical contractor. And additionally, there's the accreditation side of things. There are units of competency in the national training package, the electric technology training package for installation of PV systems and BESS systems. But now this year with an upgrade to the training package, there is additionally a unit of competency for people who need to work on installations that has these systems in place as well. In other words, multiple sources of supply to train them in how to do this, the risk involved and to be able to be able to do it safely. It is new in a training package. And I recommend all of the employers with electrical workers who are working in this space or may need to go onto an electrical installation where multiple sources of supply exist to be trained in how to do that safely. So supervision is the next important thing. Yes. You have licensed workers. Yes, you train them about your safe systems of work, but you need to supervise the work and particularly young workers coming out of their time. A year or two out of your trade, you've still not necessarily got all the experience and knowledge you need to do your work safely. So supervision is a critical part and the employer has an obligation under electrical safety legislation to supervise their workers. The level is dependent upon their level of skills and the competency of the work of themselves. And particularly supervisor apprentices throughout their full apprenticeship. The level obviously depended upon their stage of training their skills and their knowledge at that point in time. I've got sitting up here at the end of the slide there as a quote that I took from our new commissioner at a recent disciplinary hearing where we saw an electrical apprentice receive electrical shock on the job. We see that too often. And Keith said at the time to the employer, "It's a privilege to train an apprentice." And it is, we forget that. It is. They're our future, train them and train them well and make sure they have the underpinning knowledge and skills to perform the work that they you want them to do. I think I'm going to have to move through pretty quickly now, I'm sorry. All that's about how we do the work to ensure the way you perform the work is electrically safe. However, we need to protect our customer in the process as well. And you are required to ensure you test, when you test and commission these systems that you inspect and test the work as well to ensure it is electrically safe, that it complies with the wiring rules and complies with Electrical Safety Act. So it is imperative that anyone that performs these tasks does know how to inspect and test to the required standards of Section Eight of the wiring rules. When's the last time you got trained in correct testing procedures? I quite often hear at the committee when I ask that question, even of the qualified technical person. When's the last time you did your training in inspection and testing procedures? Possibly not since you came out of your trade, quite possibly not since you came out of your trade. There are approved testing courses to undertake at the training organizations. The safest way to demonstrate that you are competent is to go and get trained and to regularly be retrained in these processes because you are required to issue a certificate of test to your customer when you've finished your jobs. And that certificate of test confirms that the installation has been inspected and tested, is electrically safe and complies with the wiring rules and the legislation. You need to test it to make sure it is. 'Cause if you do the work you don't test and it's not safe, not a good thing. You'll be seeing Keith and I caught regularly. So I'm gonna wind up because she's giving me a thing... I can talk on forever on these subjects. People who know me know I love the subject and I can talk on forever. So I'm going to wind up. In summary, electrical safety. You've gotta get it right, mate. Safety in the way we do the work to ensure there's protection of the people doing the work and safety in inspecting and testing the work to ensure it's electrically safe to protect your customer, protect the general public. Thank you and guys, be safe.
- Okay. Thank you, Veronica. I will ask the speakers to come and quickly grab a seat. We have about eight minutes and we'll do a little bit of speed dating with your questions, but per Veronica's presentation, brother, sister, mother, father, friend, safety needs to be a non-negotiable in our workplaces in our homes and it's clearly under risk. Okay, so like a good auction, this is how we're gonna roll for the next eight or so minutes. We are gonna kick off with a question from in the room and then we are gonna alternate with questions from online and we're gonna try and share them amongst the panel. So there's anybody in the room have a question for any of the panel members, Donna, Keith, Tim, Carly, Veronica.
- Good morning. I have a quick question for probably Donna, Keith and Veronica to answer. We've talked about competency, we've talked about supervision. And in my experience in industry, when we talk about that, people think about apprentices. When a contractor is taking on a new trades person, what should they be doing to make sure that person is competent in the work that you do? And do you need to supervise them to any degree once they've started with you?
- I'll have a crack first. So with your apprentice even or a trades person, it's all about asking that apprentice or that new trades person what skills have they got? You don't just assume an apprentice turns up, whether they're a first year or fourth year, they've actually got the skills for that particular task. So you'd have a third year who would attend a job and might be the first time they've actually installed cable or done that work. Actually ask the apprentice. Some of these apprentices have their reprofiling. So it's good to actually ask them what they've been doing, but it's about fitting for purpose. So you don't wanna have a fourth year apprentice just start digging holes and the fourth year apprenticeship part of that skills to be starting to learn a bit about testing and fall finding on the guidance of the trades person. And when it comes to supervision, once again, it's a direct, broad or general. And for that, there's actually a focus group where we're working on some guidelines for Queensland, what we can actually do to actually give some guidance, but you're treating an apprentice as if it's one of your own children. You wanna be sure they're safe and make sure that they get the go home at the end of the day.
- I just wanna also add that it's not just the apprentices. Some of the apprentices are actually getting exposure to a lot more of the renewable side of things. So it's actually the apprentices that we can actually learn from as well in terms of understanding what the new technologies are doing. So some of our trades people that have been doing the same things, particularly in the DNSP type of world, they need to also become a little bit more competent and understand what's actually happening on the other side of the meter, if you wanna call it that.
- Excellent. Donna, did you wanna add?
- No. I think, yeah, lets wrap that up.
- Perfect. Okay. Question from Dean, online. As an industry, how can we determine competency in a consistent method? Donna, you can have that one to start, if you like.
- Look, I think Belinda, that's a similar response to what Carly and Keith have already said. It is really about testing competency about having conversations. It's not about the set and forget ask once do it once. And from the regulators perspective, we'd be looking at what systems you've got in place. Do you have a system? If the answer's no, you're in trouble. Is the system adequate? If the answer's no, you're in trouble. Has the system been consulted with your workers, with your HSRs? Is it something that's communicated? Is it something that's taught to? Is this system followed? And then what repercussions are in place for your employees or your own people, if that system's not followed? So they're the five things we would look at to make sure competencies and systems are actually being followed through from start to finish.
- Fantastic. Question in the room? I know that Tim's keen to answer one. Oh, fabulous.
- Hi, my name's Brenda. On the competency question. I came across this when I was in construction and I've been in construction about 15 years before I came in the electrical industry. And I remember going through the same issues that I see the electrical industry going through now with competency. So you've got a small business and I deal mainly with small business, with a few workers and the business owner. And they don't have necessarily the competency to assess the person as being competent. And that happened the same in the civil construction and the building construction industry. They didn't hold the competencies to be able to tell whether or not their workers have the competencies. So what happened in the building and the civil industries, they had to start bringing in VOCs, external people to start assessing their workers in house because they they might be doing some work they don't hold the competencies for, so they engage a subcontractor that they know. I couldn't assess whether or not they're competent either. So they would need to bring external people. And that's a big cost to impact on the industry, and I can see that with the electrical industry, that seems to be something that needs to go the same way, but I'm not sure.
- Might ask Veronica. did you wanna respond to that Veronica?
- Okay, that's an area in our industry that we can't afford to not get right. Perhaps the employer doesn't have current competencies themselves either. And that's the big question. So there are plenty of training programs out in the industry to send your employers to, your licensed electricians to, to ensure that they are up to date with their knowledge and skills in the different areas. Quite often, I've said to you before. Quite often when I ask the question at hearings, when's the last time that you undertook any formal training? And I say formal training so that you have clear valid evidence that you are competent before you go ahead and assess somebody else. So quite often it may be that the qualified technical person in that business needs to go and do some training themselves as well. For example, I talked about testing. When's the last time you did a testing course? So it's about getting yourself competent and then observing, training the people you have working for you and observing them, going out and auditing what they're doing on a regular basis to make sure they're still doing it. Having open lines of communication, having a good culture in there that everyone wants to do the job the right way. So yeah, it's twofold, the employer having the knowledge and having the competency and the workers.
- And just whilst we generally talk about workers and electrical contractors, and there's probably a lot of employers out there in the factory industry. So the major factories who don't have a contractor's license and don't require one, they employ a lot of electrical workers. So it's about in those people. And there might be some people of the viewers at home here are watching online. It's about how can they actually ensure that their workers are competent? So we are not just talking about electrical contracting industry or the entities they seem to know what's going on, but it's all those factory workers out there doing electrical work. That's where the employers out there gotta really have a think about are they still competent in that world?
- Yep. Great call out, thank you. And I think we're gonna have a final question for Tim for time. Tim, from Sam, how can we encourage our teams to be more resilient? Our industry is facing new challenges in post COVID world. For example, isolation, aggression, staff shortages.
- If you didn't know you're resilient, the last two years have probably told you that. Our definition of resilience is a better than expected result given the adversity faced. And you could think through the last two years and work out, whether you right now have had a better than expected result, given the adversity faced. There's no challenge but an opportunity. As Winston Churchill famously said, "Never waste a good crisis." And all of the things that have been cited there, there is some opportunity through it in paying more focus or being more attentive, you can rid the rubbish from your life. There's some simple tools to use it for those that don't use an Eisenhower matrix, go on Google, an Eisenhower matrix. It's the urge and important matrix. We all have to-do list. And psychologists would tell us, keep the to-do list. But as leaders, I'd encourage you to ask your team to make a not to do list and present that to you. What are the things that they just don't think are particularly important? And then you can make a decision on whether you wanna reprioritize those things. We can't do too much about the staff shortages, but we certainly can when we start to look at what our priorities are and ensure that we're paying attention to those priorities and probably one little last one, a lot of this does relate back to our attention and working memory. There's some wonderful work outta the US from two academics, Magor and Cahill, that talk about how we remember things better. It being coded to emotions, specifically, the neuro chemistries that release when we are attentive, any coffee drinkers in the room? You can do it drinking coffee. Experiment on yourself. We usually drink coffee before a learning event. What Magor and Cahill say is that's not the right way to do it. Coffee has a bit of blocker makes us feel alert, but it also opens our adrenal glands. And adrenaline is one of the best neurochemicals for learning. So if you wanna remember something, try and remember it, then drink your cup of coffee.
- Fabulous. Okay. Thank you, speakers. Commissioner Donna, Kim, Keith. Who did that to me? Donna, Kim... Oh, now it sounds like it's the reindeers. Donna, Keith. Ah, all right. One more time. It's the coffee clearly. It's time for me. Donna, Keith, Tim, Carly and Veronica. Thank you very much. And before you all go, I just wanna remind you that it's not too late to register for other Electrical Safety Week events, the Electrical Apprentice Safety Forum, featuring footy legend Darius Boyd on tomorrow. Don't miss that. The electrical contractor webinar on Thursday. I do not wanna be in front of Victoria answering those questions, the electrical and asbestos safety in rental properties webinar on Friday, incredibly important. Visit eso.qld.gov.au to register. There is also a Facebook competition on the Electrical Safety Office page all week to win trade equipment, gift vouchers. Keep your eye out for an email later on today from the Electrical Safety Office to complete a feedback survey about today's event, we would love to hear from you for next year. So that'll only take you two minutes. Thank you for joining us today in person and online. Hopefully, see you all next year and in the interim, please stay safe. Thank you again.
Electricity Safety Summit powerpoint presentations (PDF, 6.91 MB).
Registration, tea and coffee, networking (in-person attendees)
Hot-plated breakfast served
MC welcome (livestream commences)
Belinda Watton, Executive General Manager, Services, Energy Queensland
The Resilience Shield: From the battlefield to the boardroom and beyond
Tim Curtis, Director and Author of The Resilience Shield
Welcome from the new Commissioner for Electrical Safety, Queensland
Battery energy storage systems and global supply
Carly Irving, CEO, NRMA Energy
Electrical Safety Office update
Donna Heelan, Electrical Safety Office
Electrical safety risks of installation and maintenance of emerging technologies
Veronica Mauri, training and safety consultant, Electrical Licensing Committee member
Panel session (Q&A)
Tim Curtis, Keith McKenzie, Carly Irving, Donna Heelan, and Veronica Mauri
MC and event close
8.50 – 9am
Networking (in-person attendees)
*Program subject to change