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Electrical apprentice safety forum

Watch components of the Apprentice safety forum to find out what is happening in the electrical industry, how to stay safe at work, look after your mental health and achieve success.

Well, good morning, uh, and welcome ladies and gentlemen to our Electrical Apprentice Safety Forum. Thank you for joining us here today, in person and online. My name is Chris Bombolas. I'll be your host, uh, for today. Uh, and I look forward to catching up with our special guest, Jonathan Thurston. And very, very shortly can I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners and custodian, custodians of the land on which we, uh, gather here today, and, uh, pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. I would like to extend this acknowledgement to the traditional owners of where we are online, uh, our guests online, uh, today, some housekeeping 'cause we do have an audience here. Uh, and we do have, uh, those joining us online for our online attendees. If you have any questions for our speakers, please type them in the chat box to, uh, the right of your screen, and we'll ask them during the panel session at the end, so you can do it anytime during, uh, our webinar here, and then we will get to them at the end of the session for our in-room attendees. And again, we thank you for taking time out from your work to join us here today. Uh, please put up your hand and one of our staff will bring the microphone, uh, to you. Wait till that microphone comes to you so that we can, uh, hear the question both, uh, for us here, uh, that, uh, live and for those, uh, at home that are viewing or at their workplaces. Uh, if you have any technical problems, uh, those who are live streaming, uh, please make sure the sound on your computer is turned on, refresh your browser, and if that doesn't work, contact us via the live q and a chat box. You can also change the size of your s screen to full screen by selecting the small, uh, the four small arrows next to the volume bar at the bottom of your screen. Well to kick off proceedings. Happy Electrical Safety Week. As most of you would know, it is Electrical Safety Week, and it is all about raising the awareness of working and living safely around electricity. We have 62,232 licensed electrical workers, 12,602 electrical contractors, and just over seven and a half thousand electrical apprentices in Queensland.

So, we wanna make sure that every one of you goes home safely at the end of your working day. We are here today live from TAFE Queensland at Bracken Ridge, uh with a number of, uh, apprentices and, uh, industry participants, uh, live in our audience And I say thank you to TAFE Queensland for hosting us. It is a fantastic venue, many of us, uh, joining, uh, online this morning, uh, from across the country, which is really exciting. And we, again, say thanks for joining us, uh, and taking time out each year. We encourage businesses and RTOs to get together and host an event, uh, where you are. I wanna shout out to a few of the groups that are watching us here today, Scott and the team at Department of Employment, small Business and training. Welcome Scott and the Team Energy Queensland in Mackay, where Stuart and the team are tuning in, uh, with Lead Electrical Safety Inspector Luke Swallow, Steph Draper's team at Queensland Rail, and Sharon and her team from Stanwell. They are just a number of the groups that have, uh, joined in, uh, and are watching today's proceedings, uh, via livestream. It's my pleasure now to introduce the first of our speakers for today, and it is Garrick Cripps from Arnold's Electrical. Garrick has been with Arnold's Electrical for over 35 years, where he started as a second year apprentice. He progressively worked his way through his apprenticeship to Tradesperson Foreperson project manager and Estimator, Garrick is now the general manager and also a shareholder in the company. Please welcome Garrick.

We like this forever. Alright, morning all. I've been invited here today talk about an electrical incident that we had at Arnold's Electrical back in 2022. Involved one of our first year apprentices receiving electrical shock and the aftereffects, mainly about, about that incident. So luckily, no physical injuries to the apprentice cleared for work that day. Um, we did send him off for electrocardiogram and E C g minimally, immediately to clear any irregular heartbeats. Really important that everyone understands that, that that's the vital part. And if you do receive an electric shock, go get an ECG. Alright? 'cause it can take days, it can take days for the, for the hep to get outta whack. So really important to go get if, you know, if you unfortunately receive an electric shock or know if somebody that does receive electric shock, go get an ECG, go to medical centre, doctor's, hospital, whatever really important, okay? And they can do, there's other things that we can touch on that blood tests and ever, but ECG will pick up any irregularities first up. Okay? So, so the incident, so one of our, our construction clients that we work for, um, he lives down at Cabbage Street Creek at Deegan, and right on the creek pretty much, uh, during the, the weather event, 22. Um, obviously living on the creek waters flood rising, uh, multi-level house, uh, bottom level. The, the lower level was flooded to about one 1.5 metres. So, um, we waited for the water, obviously waited for the water to subside, and we were engaged to go out and do electrical checks, safety checks and basically report on anything and replace any damaged electrical equipment. So, once it's subsided, we, we deployed one of our trade’s persons. Um, he went out to, he was on his way out to site. Now, the apprentice, he actually lived in the house. He was the client's son, so he lived there. So, he waited there for the, for the trade’s person to, to roll in. So, the lead traders rocked up, um, the homeowner. He was also an electrician by trade, so he had enough experience there, enough knowledge to know what's going on, right? So, he basically gave a briefing of the infrastructure of the, of the property where the switchboard, sub mains general lie of the land, of what the, what the installation was. So, gave brief on what he saw at that the scope was that needed to be rectified. So, so I boys did their, did their pre starts, did all the JCOs, did their swims, locked onto the job, got in with, they then decided that they, due to the, the volume of the work and trying to get the place liveable again, um, we deployed a second trades person. So, um, they've come out and in the meantime, one of our, our project managers, who's one of our QTPs on our contractor's licence, qualified technical person, he was out there as well, inspecting and just supervising as well. So, the boy they kicked in, started the work, started removing power point switches, obviously testing for de energisation as they go. So, following, following process, all good second trades person rocks up. So there's a briefing between our lead and our second trades person. Uh during this time, the, the apprentice wasn't involved in that, so there was no clear positive comms with the apprentice on that. In the time he's, he identified that there was a, a switch that was still, still in position and asked the, the lead trades person, is this right to disconnect without thinking, without testing, yep, she'd be right. Take it off. Removing the switch thumb touches the exposed parts, electric shock age of the house, no RCD, no safety switches. So it gets a shock crime. So obviously, first thing we checked the apprentice was fine, he was good, um, made safe. As it turns out, the, the switch in question was a two-way switch. So, which was down on the lower level. Um, all the outlets’ downstairs were fed from the, the lower level switchboard. This switch, two way switched upstairs fed from the upstairs board. So it was, it was missed. Alright? So made safe, made safe to switch work, stopped, um, sent the apprentice off to get an ECG as I mentioned before. So, and then rolled from there. So, we, we stopped work with the company generally, um, and issued a stop work, uh, take five notice to the whole business to run through test before you touch, so that, that got communicated through the whole business. Okay? Um, Where am I? Um, from there, the incident was reported up to our HSEQ department and senior management. Um, and then they went out and visited site, uh, to inspect. Um, at that stage we did a, uh, the, the crew come back, did a restart, a debrief, and works commenced on site. So um, at that time we also, we reported to the E S O. So if you're not sure, you, you must report to the E S O, right? It's by law. Okay? So, I'm sure there's a lot of stuff that doesn't, but it should, otherwise you don't learn anything from it, okay? It's really important to get to report that you won't get, I won't get yelled at, right? So, you just need to report it. Need to report it, and the parents did the right thing. He reported it straight away to the trade’s person. So, it was really important that if you do something, make sure you report it. You're not gonna get kicked, you're not gonna get yelled at. It's really important that you do that. Okay? Super important. So, so from that, uh, we were investigated by the ESO, um, and they then provided us with an infringement notice. Um, basically not supervising the apprentice. Um, and we'll fined $3,600 for that. Um, that was then escalated up to the, uh, electrical licensing committee, the ELC, who then determined a disciplinary hearing was required. So, so if you're not sure what that is, that's where your license can be suspended, cancelled, revoked, your business basically shuts down. Okay? Or your, or your work shuts down. So being a business of a hundred plus, uh, 20 odd apprentices and turnover a 30 mil of pretty, pretty scary times Um, all our systems, we were confident with all our systems, they just hadn't been followed. Okay, so systems were good. Alright? Yep. Systems were good. Um, all the con we thought they were good. Um, so we've done some pretty, pretty intense projects. We do a lot of, a lot of mining, a lot of, lot of coal mining. Um, we've got an operation up in Gover up in Northern Territory with Rio. Um, a lot of commercial construction. The Mercedes-Benz Auto House at Breck Creek, we did that. So, we've had some pretty intense projects all without any reportable incidents. It's just something so simple that is always the, the thing, right? It's the simple things that catch us out. So, okay. So, um, again, we welcomed any, any, any findings that the ELC um, put to us. So, we had a, we had a day with the committee. Um, they then determined that we failed to implement our systems, um, and supervised the apprentice. Like, let, let's get one thing. The parents did nothing wrong, okay? So, he was not supervised the trade. Let him down. We let him down. So, from that, a further fine of $500 was issued. Uh, we then instructed to have all our QTPs our qualified technical persons, um, reit. So, we got 10 for our contractor's licence. So they resit their Q T P certification. Um, we also had to engage a third party auditor, which was m e a Master Electricians Australia to go through our systems, make sure that they were all up to scratch. There was a couple of, couple of corrective actions that came outta that, which we rectified. Um, now out of that, we had six months to get all that done. Sounds easy. Wasn't alright. There's a lot of, a lot of scary moments in that, and uh, with a company that size it did, it can take some time and, and some effort to put into it. So, uh, outta all that, we successfully avoided getting our license suspended. Um, which is fantastic. Uh, so the cost, right? And this is where it starts getting real. So, the financial cost fines were $4,100, uh, in total. So, the estimated cost of hours and training and everything to go through and do the, do all the investigation, our internal investigations, the ESO investigations, the ELC investigations, that was circa $30,000. So being conservative, um, with that, we had some, obviously there's lost time spent outside of the business that you should, we should be working elsewhere. And more positive, not that it's not positive, but elsewhere in the business, again, that's another $30,000. So, all up being conservative and for mental health, it was about 60 grand. So that's, uh, but at the end of the day, the apprentice is still alive, right? That's the important thing. So, um, the individual, he resigned, um, and I think from what we believe, he, he then fronted the licensing committee, and he was fined and had his licence suspended as well. Alright? So, so it's important that there is a lot of effects, so don't be afraid to report it though, right? Okay. There's, there's a lot of goodness that can come out of it. We need to, everyone needs to learn about it. Alright? So, uh, lessons learned. Main one, test before you touch. Alright? It's the main one that you can do Treat everything as energized. Treat every cable, treat every outlet, treat everything as life until it's proved de-energized, okay? So, follow your proper isolation and testing procedures Um, really important. We all have checklists and ITPs to, to cover off. So, make sure you follow 'em, understand them. That's the biggie. Understand why you're doing it. Alright? Uh, so being apprentices, um, you have by law restrictions and limitations what you can and cannot do. So, first years, Alright? You can't do any isolations, you can't do any testing, you can't touch it. You, you have to be supervised directly supervised, okay? It's directly supervised is pretty much having your, well, it is having your qualified trades person, they're pretty much over your shoulder, okay? So that, that's for your first and second years. Um, there is a, I dunno whether if you jump onto the work, uh, WorkSafe Queensland website, ESO have issued, uh, supervising electrical apprentices. Have a good read of it for your apprentices and, and your trades persons and your employers as well. Really important to get an understanding of what, what your apprentices can and cannot do. And the effects afterwards. If you know, they, they don't, at that point in time during your apprenticeship, you know nothing. Alright? So, until you come outta your time, learn, okay? Uh, life work, nobody can work life. There's a, there's a common theme that you, you can, you, there's two different things. There's working life, but there's life testing as well. Okay? Two different things. So, make sure you, you understand what the difference is between live, work, and live testing. Okay? So how do you know your trade is qualified? Well, if your business is set up correctly, they should be jumping through mountain of hoops to get their licenses and all that there before they can start work. Alright? It's important that, uh that we do have proper qualified tradespeople out there and they're learning our apprentices, they're teaching our apprentices. Um, learn from your, your good tradies. Okay? Uh, another contributing factor on the day was obviously that, um, when the second tradie rocked up, there was that debriefing and there was just all lost, lost communications. And they should have, at the end of that briefing, they should have done a restart, re debrief, everything, what was going on, but they just didn't, it was it. Um, Couple other things. Probably YouTube, TikTok, all this s**t that you got going on at the moment, Whatever it is, if anyone watches Jake Paul fit off a power point, you're a fool. Alright? So, it, it, there is so much content out there either, which is just a load of crap. Um, there is so much registered certified organisation organisations out there like your ESO, WorkSafe, Queensland, TAFE Electro Group, MEA, Nika, the ETU, they've all got good content. Learn from that. Alright It's all good watching Jake call fitter power point. If, if he does, I don't know, whatever, but just get, make sure that it's all proper good, knowledgeable content. Okay? Really important. So cashie, no, not allowed to do 'em, right? Does everyone know what happened? Yeah, everyone's going. Yeah. Cash's here. Cool. Sweet. Does anyone know about the, the apprentice that just got fined down at Redland Bay? Yeah, 45 grand just got fined. 45 grand, right? Probably made that, but anyway but don't, you're not allowed to do 'em by law, right? You are not allowed to work unlicensed. Okay? Even qualified tradespeople not allowed to do it without a contractor's license. Okay? So, get that straight. The aftereffects outta that, it's financially. And if you don't as apprentices, and with all due respect, you know nothing, okay. Until you come outta your time. Alright? I'm being serious. I know you can look at me like that, but until you come out, there's a lot of learning. A lot of learning. Even some of our tradies, they even coming into their 10 years, they're still learning, okay? So don't make it about the money. Make it about learning your trade. Make it about a career. There's enough money out there to, to be made, not straight away, it'll come. But learn your trade and be safe. Alright? It's really important to learn that it's a, it's a very, um, high risk, dangerous trade that we're in. Can't see it, can't hear it, can't smell it, it just kills you. Okay? So just stay focused on what you do, um, and be safe. Cool, thank you.

Thanks to, uh, to Garrick and, uh, some important, uh, advice there that I hope you guys take on board. Uh, that there's one of them. There's plenty of time to make money and there's money out there. Don't be in a hurry to get to it. Shortcuts lead to disaster. Uh, and the other one I I found really interesting was it doesn't matter how many procedures, processes, those types of things you have in place if you don't follow them and adhere them, each and every one of the people in the organisation it's just a piece of paper. No one's protected. So, you know, if you want to take home a couple of key messages, they're probably two key messages that those, they're not written there just for the sake of being written. They're written there, written so that you follow them and that they keep you safe so that you can return to work the next day so that you can return to your family at the end of the day. Thanks again, Garrick. Appreciate it. Time now to focus our attention on a career in the electrical industry. And it's my pleasure to welcome our next speaker Cassie Tommasi. Cassie is a valued worker at STO Australia and has been with them for over 10 years. Cassie holds an electrical fitter, fitter mechanic license and has been a crucial part of both large scale construction projects and the Southern Queensland Service Division. Cassie is also part of the electrical safety Board representing workers. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Cassie.

Hello everyone. I'm Cassie and I've been a part of the electrical industry now for nearly 15 years. I've worked with electricity and its hazards day in and day out, but nothing scares me more today than speaking in front of you. I'm excited to have a chat with you about the trade and about some of the insights of my own journey. I see a few female electricians or apprentices out here today, and this is great. We need more like you. I started my co construction c career as a final clean specialist, mostly in Brisbane It was at this time I decided I wanted to do a trade qualification. After seeing STOWE Brisbane had female electricians, I sent my resume through to their Gold Coast branch and followed up every couple of weeks with a phone call. After about a year my persistent persistence had paid off and was absolutely thrilled to get kickstart with them. I've been very fortunate to work with STOWE as they offer us stability, diverse projects, training and development, a supportive work environment, and most importantly, a very strong focus on safety.

My career in the electrical industry has taken me to a wide array of fascinating projects, including high rises hospitals, the Curtis Island gas plant, CBus Stadium, heritage Stadium, Pacific Fair, and even involvement in the Commonwealth Games I've also been lucky to be part of standby works at the NRL and AFL matches. Three years back, I was invited by Keith McKenzie to, to nominate for the electrical safety office board as a representative for the workers. As a board member, we oversee and organize electrical safety efforts This includes engaging stakeholders uh, promoting safety and emphasising safety as a as part of our safety campaign, we got the Wiggles on board for a jingle Electricity. There's been a lot of positive feedback after being viewed over 3 million times. I've being asked to, uh, speak on the reasons I drew. What, what drew me to do the electrical apprenticeship. Um, first was desire for hands-on work. I wanted a job that, uh, that, uh, involved manual labour, intellectual engagement.

The electrical trade offers a perfect blend of physical and mental challenges, variety of work locations. Uh, I love the, the idea of working in different locations on diverse projects that offer a change of scenery, flexible work hours. I love the early starts and the early knockoffs. This allows me to, uh, make the most of my day and to challenge the norm. A little bit of me just wanted to prove I could do this in a male dominated industry. I was pleasantly supply surprised that all this could be achieved and there was still other perks to the job, such as a nine day fortnight, great pay, job satisfaction and independence for bit for me, being an NRL or just sports in general, enthusiast. I've had some pretty memorable times at work, like watching the maroons train through Covid whilst on my smoke o breaks, watching the Australian Women's Sevens take out the silver at the Comm Games. And most fitting for today, watching JT play his last game on the side from the sideline at Seed Bus Stadium, and also this while being paid, I'm very lucky.

Today I also wanna talk about the crucial role women play in our industry. Diversity is a strength in any industry, including ours. Women bring unique perspective, fresh ideas and innovative problem solving ideas. The electrical industry doesn't require you to be a bodybuilder. While some task demand physical strength, there are roles that focus on precision and attention to detail rather than heavy lifting. It's all about discovering your niche. So, to all the women out there considering a career in the electrical trade, I wanna say this, embrace the opportunity. Don't let stereotypes or preconceived notions hold you back your unique perspective, determination and skills are not just needed. They're celebrated and valued. Being a female in the electrical trade isn't just a great choice. It's a choice that can change your life. It's a choice that can inspire others, others, and drive progress. So, let's continue to break barriers, challenge the norms and light the way for the future generations. Thank you for being a part of this journey and welcome to the world of possibilities in the electrical trade tray. Before I finish, I just wanna draw your attention to this photo. Something that I was quite proud of, um, wiring up a couple of years ago. Does anyone know what it might be? So these are, uh, grow lights. We did, um, two lights of them, uh, sorry, two lots of them up for CBus Stadium. At the end of the northern end of the stand, the light doesn't hit the grass. So, um, yeah, so we've, uh, wired up a couple of these that they, um, they power up every now and then to get the, um the grass regenerating. So, thank you for time.

I'd now like to welcome our next speak speaker, Josh Waddington from Mates in Construction. Josh is a licensed carpenter and has a range of skills from being on the tools to supervisory and management roles. Josh is now the program coordinator at MATES in Construction and has worked with young people at risk disability in schools and within the Australian apprenticeship system. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Josh, You.

Um, thanks everyone. It's great to be here. Just a bit of a heads up, um, we're gonna be talking about mental health and, and suicide. So, if today's not a good day for that and yet you wanna duck out the room, um, that's, that's perfectly okay. Um, we do have some resources out there, some stickers and a one 300 number that you can call. Um, as you said, my name's Josh. I work for MATES and Construction. I'm the coordinator for their apprentice resilience program. Um, now I wanna start with a bit of positivity, even though we are gonna be talking about suicide mental health. I wanna congratulate you guys on starting a really awesome career, um, in a fantastic trade and a fantastic industry. Even though I'm a carpenter, I always wanted to be an electrician. Um, but my parents insisted that I get a trade first. So, I haven't been invited here to tell s**t jokes though. So, um, apologies. Um, Now we, um, as I mentioned, um, we're a, we're a, um, mental health service and, um, and, and we, we are a charity and we, we do programs, and we do industry specific research. I'm gonna talk a little bit about some of our research around apprentices and around the construction industry. And part of that is you have or should be getting a survey. Um, if you wouldn't mind just filling out the front page of that, uh, I'm gonna stand up here awkwardly in silence for a minute while you do that. And then we, we will kick on. So, thank you.

So let's say all the time I was heard, you got to believe that I was heard to, I I was born Love I was born. You are the only one I can talk to. The only one I can really read. I know you give because you want to.

Don't you think it's time you learn to let yourself receive, make you smile, make you sing.

Just want to give back a little bit of what you give.

I can sing your song too.

I Was Born, I was born, I was born to, I was born to love you.

I Was Born, I was born, I was born to, I was born to love you.

All right, so it looks like a few of you have gotten through that. Leave the back page for now and we might just chuck them aside. Um, and I'll explain what that's all about in a minute. But, um, can I get you to throw your hand up if you've, you've heard of MATES in Construction before or seen us about on site Fantastic? Oh, that's awesome. Brilliant. Alright, well, um there was a couple of you that didn't put your hand up, so I will give you a little bit of background. Um, we're an independent construction industry charity and we're focused on menta health, primarily suicide prevention. Um, we operate in the construction energy mining and manufacturing industries. And, um, we were started because it was found that construction workers and works in those industries have higher rates in suicide than everyday Aussie. So, have any of you guys heard of, um, Bert or CERT before? Can chuck your hands up? Have you heard of them? Okay, few. Alright, right. So I'll give you a bit of background on, on what they are. Um, so Bert in construction is the Building Employment Redundancy Trust. And they're a, um, they're a redundancy and training fund. And so, when you're starting a construction project, you'll need a lot of workers. So, you'll get a lot of workers on site, and as that project starts to wrap up, you'll need less. So what Bert was put in there for was so that when some of those workers, um, um, need to be made redundant, if there's not extra work to carry on with, there's a bit of cash there that they can, they can tide themselves over with till they start their next job. And the other ways that that money can come out from Bert or from CERT is, um, if the worker experience is financial hardship they can access some of the money in that account to, to pay their bills. And then finally, if a worker passes away, the money in their, in their Bert account will actually go to their estate. And so over a period of time building employees redundancy trust, Bert noticed that a fairly large percentage of their employee death claims were for worker suicides. And so, they had a look at the, the national numbers and they had a look at the construction numbers and the noticed there was a bit of an issue. And that was where Mates basically started was they put aside some money and they said, look, we, we need to figure out what's going on here. And, and that was about 15 years ago. So, um, that gives you a bit of bit of background on, on how Mates started. When we started, we did a thing called the Isra report or a RA report, which is the Australian Institute for Suicide Research Prevention and that was where we, we confirmed some of those, um, observations that Bert noticed that construction workers were overrepresented in suicide stats. Now, um, that gives you, yeah, a bit of background. Now how, how we do, and, and that's, that's how MATES started. What we actually do, um, is we sponsor and conduct research. So those surveys that you guys have just filled out now is part of that. Um, everything that we do is, is backed up by evidence and heavy industry consult consultation. So, we make sure that what we're doing is actually backed up by data and is actually having a positive impact on the industry. Um, we run a 24 hour hotline. So you guys all have a pen there with our one 300 number on it. Um, that service is available to all of you and your families. Every person in the construction energy mining and manufacturing industries has access to that one 300 number from Mates 24 hours a day. And like our research that's completely private and confidential, okay? So, you can call that, that hotline. Basically, anything your family members can call it as well. If you get during business hours, you'll speak to one of our case managers in the office. They're all qualified, they're all trained, they're familiar with the construction industry and they do this stuff day in, day out. If you get us after hours, you'll get put forward to a specialized e a p service. But the reality is, is when I talk to people about MATEs in construction and about that one 300 number, you wanna think of it as a bit of a mental health concierge, okay? You can call that number with any problems and, and you'll have a case manager who's, who's gonna be there to work with you in a confidential, respectful way to help you to help you get to some help. Alright? Now the other thing that we do, and probably one of the most important things that we do is we go out to construction sites, and we catch up with construction workers and we do training with construction workers, okay? And, and this is really important 'cause we're building resilience back into the industry and we're giving you guys the tools and techniques to be able to look after your mates. And at the core of what mates and constructions does is just mates looking after mates. So, when Justin was talking before about looking out for his teammates and about working together, that's really what we're about. Now, when we started, we learned that the average construction worker was about six times more likely to die from suicide than they were from a workplace accident. For an apprentice, an apprentice is 10 times more likely to die from suicide than they are from a workplace accident, okay? Which is devastating. But I want you guys to have a bit of a think in your careers, okay? You've all done white cards, you've started to do some of your TAFE training, you may have done a fair bit of your TAFE training, you'll have done some swims, safe work method statements, JSAs, start cards, all those sorts of things. Has anybody seen mental health or suicide listed as hazards or risks and controlled in any meaningful way on any of that documentation? No. I ask this question a couple times a week to, to literally hundreds of construction workers and apprentices around the state and we get the exact same response, blank stares, couple of head nods, but generally it's a no. Okay? And when you put it into perspective, when you, when you think about those stats that I just dropped on you, it's a pretty compelling case. You know, it's, it's not really good enough. Now, some of you guys will, will be working on different kinds of jobs. Um, I've worked on job sites where you have to fill out a two-page form to, to use a four foot high platform ladder. So, when you think about it like that, it's even worse Now, um, we knew that there was problems with apprentices and, and we didn't know what, what was at the heart of it. So in 2018, we got a bunch of apprentices together with the researchers from the university. We sat 'em down and we ran some panel interviews and, and basically they used these panel interviews to put together a bit of a survey and they wanted to validate these findings. So, we got together with the Queensland Department of Employment small Business and Training, and we messaged every single construction industry apprentice in Queensland in 2019 as part of a campaign called Speak Up Be Heard. And what that was, was an opportunity for apprentices to, to, to let us know what was going on because like I said, we are evidence-based and we wanted to make sure that whatever we did moving forward to try and make things better for your group was gonna be relevant and, was gonna be practical and work. And the results from those surveys were really good. We sent out close to 30,000 messages and, and we got a really good response rate back particularly from our female apprentices, most of whom we contacted, actually completed the full survey, which was really cool. Now, when that data came back to us, um, the researchers put together a report, which is called the impact of workplace bullying on mental health and suicidality in Queensland, construction industry apprentices. And as you can guess from the name, the main theme of that report was bullying. Alright? So, I'm going to share some of the stats from that research with you. Um, the first one being that 30% of apprentices reported being bullied, experiencing bullying in the workplace. Now, to give you some context for that, the average Aussie cop bullying at about 9.5%, okay? So right off the bat, you guys are three times more bullied than, than the average worker. Um, 20% of those apprentices said that the bullying was severe. And we don't even keep good stats on what percentage of Australians experienced severe bullying, but you can assume it's less than the, the 9.5%. So straight away you guys are massively overrepresented in both bullying and severe bullying. Nearly 30% of all apprentices, um, had said that they'd thought about suicide in the previous 12 months, which is horrendous when you take the national average as two point half to 5% depending on what data you go from. Um, what makes that number even worse though, is, is that's when we average it all up. I told you most of our female apprentices actually completed the whole survey for our female apprentices. It was nearly half of our female apprentices had thought about suicide in the previous 12 months. So, if we slice that up, some of our apprentice, um, tradies out there are up to 20 times higher risk than your average Aussie for, for suicide. And having thought about suicide in the previous 12 months, now nearly 30% of, of, um, apprentices that polled had, um, quality of life issues that could indicate depression. Um, 13% had indicators of, um, severe mental illness, okay? Potential severe mental illness. Now that was people who needed help immediately, and that one's really distressing. Now, overall, it was found that despite, um, apprentices having a really positive attitude towards mental health and preventing suicide, there was low levels of mental health and suicide literacy. Um, the flip side of that is, and, and these, these are really bad statistics, but the flip side of that is, is that 70 plus percent of apprentices, so just over 70% of apprentices said that they were being treated well and their supervisor respected him and, and, and treated him really well. So that was really encouraging. So, there's a lot of good stuff going on out there, but we do know that we have some issues now, um, one of the correlated factors in that study was that apprentices are more bullied than others, okay? And we, and we know that that, that that's the case. Um, if you're comfortable, would you mind, you know, throwing your hand up and, and letting us know if, if you feel like you've, you've seen or, or, or been exposed to poor behaviour or poor treatment on site. Okay? Thank you for sharing. Look, it's, um, it's one of those things. We know that it does happen, but, but there's obviously shame associated with that, so I do appreciate that. Now, um, the tricky part around bullying is there's no clear line between banter and bullying. Okay? We know that it has a massive impact on our workers and, and on our sites, and we know that that comes with a massive associated cost. Um, 70% of our apprentices were doing well, 30% not so well. Um, and, and look, there can be many reasons why a person may have thoughts about suicide, but there was a clear correlation there between bullying. Now, um, with anything, we have the option to do something or to do nothing. Has anybody heard, um, anybody heard the saying, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept? Yep. Alright, cool. Um, if we work on that logic, um, it's not enough just not to participate in, in workplace bullying. We actually need to start calling it out. And, and this is one of the ways that we, we make our workplaces safer, and we build resilience into our workplace is, is being part of a culture of change. Okay? Now, um, it's a bit of a tricky spot to be in being apprentices because often you're the bottom of the food chain. You're relying on everybody else for you, your career development and advice. Um, but we want you to get thinking about what you can do to, to look out for yourself and, and look out for your mates and, and how you could speak up for someone who is having a hard time, okay? And we're not talking about getting you to dob people in or any of that thing. This is about a, a legal workplace, right? That you guys have you guys have the right to go to work a workplace safe that's safe and free from bullying. Um, and we want you to get in the head space of, of looking out for each other because that's, that's the core of what we do is all about mates helping mates. So, um, I think it's, it's pretty, pretty easy to agree that, that most of the blokes and most of the chicks that we work with in our industry are good blokes and good chicks. And, um, you know, being in the construction industry we can probably get away with a fair bit more than we can in an office type setting. But we do know that, that there is a bit of a, uh, a disastrous, um, link between bullying and suicide And we know that sometimes banter can turn into bullying. So, what we want you guys to do is start thinking about ways that, that you can look out for yourselves and look out for your mates. All right? And, and some of the things that we have on offer for that is, is we have training where we can come out to site and, and we can catch up with you and we can talk about some of the risks and some of the hazards. Um, We also have a training program that's set up to talk to supervisors in the construction industry, um, about some of these issues so that it's not just apprentices dealing with it on site. Um, and we've got an apprentice resilience program as well that, that we also run as well as some of our other programs around connecting mates to help and what to be on the lookout for. Uh, but really we just want to, we just wanna raise some awareness around the impact that workplace bullying has and the ability that you guys have to be able to have an impact on, on your own experience and your workmates experiences by calling out some of that behaviour in the workplace and just generally looking out for each other. Um, now the, the other side of this is, if you wouldn't mind now completing the backside of that survey card. Um, as you do that, on the bottom of that card, there is a box that you can tick if you would like a support call. Uh, I mentioned, you know, if you're struggling, you've got mates one 300 number there 24 hours a day. Um, if you have been doing a tough lately and you would like a follow up call from, from one of the staff or the field officer mates, tick the box. And, and when we grab those cards, we'll get in touch with you in the next 24 to 48 hours. Um, so yeah, thank you very much for your time. I say thanks again to you guys for joining us here live at, uh, the TAFE and also to those who, uh, joined us, uh, online. Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy workdays, uh, for this, uh, session. Uh, there's other free events this week and it's not too late, uh, to register. So, all you have to do is visit the au uh, site or the ESO Facebook page. There's the details, uh, on your screen. Uh, you'll receive an email from us shortly to complete a feedback survey about today's event. Uh, we really, uh, value your feedback. Uh, so if you could just spare a couple of minutes, uh, we would really appreciate that to, uh, to, uh, fill out the survey. It helps us, uh, mould these events and, and sort of taint them towards what you'd like to hear and what you require as an industry. So, uh, that's fantastic. As I said at the start of the, uh, the session, happy Electrical Safety Week to you all. Um, head off to work, work safely and you can return home safe. That's the main idea. No shortcuts, no taking risks, do it the way it should be done. Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us. Uh, I wish you a work safe, home safe. Thank you.