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Good day everyone, and welcome to our electrical industry safety webinar. I'd like to thank you all for taking time out of your busy work and home lives to join us here today as part of Electrical Safety
Week 2023. I'm Chris Bombolas, I'll be your MC. Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which this event is taking place and pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. Little bit of housekeeping to help you get through this session. If you have questions for any of our speakers today, type them into the q and a box on the right of your screen, and we will get to them during the panel session. So, you can do that anytime during our live stream. If you have any technical problems during the live stream, please make sure the sound on your computer is turned on, refresh your browser, and of course, if that doesn't work, contact us via the live Q and A chat box. You can also change the size of your screen to full screen by selecting the four small arrows next to the volume bar at the bottom of your screen. I'd like to acknowledge our speakers here today, Donna Heelan, Executive Director, the Electrical Safety Office. Mark Pocock, acting Lead Inspector Compliance Unit, ESO, Keith McKenzie, commissioner for Electrical Safety, and Anton Guinea, survivor of a workplace arc flash incident who will be joining us from downtown Gladstone. I'd now like to welcome Donna Heelan, Executive Director, Electrical Safety Office to give us an update on the Electrical Safety Office.
Donna oversees the strategic delivery of electrical safety across Queensland. Her role involves developing and enforcing standards for electrical safety and promoting improved safety performance in the wider community. Please join us, Donna.
Thanks, Bomber. Good morning everyone. Um, thanks again for joining us. , this is our, uh, fourth event for Electrical Safety Week, and we have one final event tomorrow for community. Um, if you know anyone that is, uh, interested in electrical safety, and let's face it, everyone should be. Um, please join us tomorrow morning for a free webinar, um, about how to live, um, safely around electricity. And we have over 230 people registered to attend. So would be great if you could share that message. Electricity, which is sometimes hard to say, Bomber, um, powers the lives of 5.3 million Queenslanders. It is everywhere we work, rest, and play. However, I don't need to tell each and every one of you that complacency around electricity and electrical equipment comes at a cost. Queensland is very fortunate. We have 62,000 electric workers, 12 and half thousand, or a little bit more electrical contractors and seven and a half thousand electrical apprentices. However, the past financial year has seen 24 serious electrical injuries, and six of these were fatal. The interesting facts, with these statistics is that none of these fatalities actually involve anyone that works in this industry. Four were workers in other industries. One sadly was a child that came into contact with overhead infrastructure on a rail corridor, and another was a homeowner doing unlicensed electrical work Each one of these fatalities was, as a result, sorry, uh, was an un, was an avoidable incident and has a massive ripple effect on their families, friends, loved ones, and emergency services that needed to attend to each of these fatalities. I know you'll agree with me that this is six fatalities, too many of the remaining 18 serious electrical incidents. Eight of those involve people that you work with, people that are in the industry, and either electrical license holders or apprentices as Keith's, uh, sorry. As Bomber said, part of the office of industrial relations role is to be active in ensuring all Queenslanders are electrically safe. We do this by very, uh, a multitude of things. And in the past financial year, we conducted over 4,700 site visits completed. 2,700 audits issued 413 infringement notices with 62,000 of these almost being for unlicensed electrical work or unlicensed electrical contracting, and over 1800 compliance notices under the electrical safety legislation. But we are not just electricity, we don't just look after the supply and networks or the grids. We also look at equipment and equipment safety. We did 70 electrical equipment examinations, 296 responsible supplier audits, 87 check testing reports, and 68 referrals to the electrical licensing committee that I'm sure Keith will speak about today. Outside of that, we have a large role in educating community. We have had almost 460,000 visitors to our newly developed electrical community website and 1.1 million views of the don't DIY or DIY equals DIE campaign and delivered engagement activities to over four and a half thousand people. You may have seen, uh, may have seen one too many.
If you've got small children that we've partnered with The Wiggles it's never too young to learn about the risks of electricity. Something you can't hear, smell, or see The Wiggles has been a huge success with over 3 million people watching the electricity song and 2.7 million views of the parent and guardian tips, um, about how to keep your home and children electrically safe. We continue our commitment to upholding the professionalism of the industry you work and to use every tool to make sure people are not touting for or doing unlicensed electrical work. In Queensland, we have looked at over 5,000 online platform profiles, so Airtasker Gumtree one Flare, and we've removed anyone that does not comply with Queensland's robust licensing regime and issued infringement notices were appropriate And whilst it's not something that we do or take lightly, we had a prosecution last month of an electrician, sorry, an apprentice, an electrician who was fined $45,000 for advertising online and doing unlicensed and non-compliant electrical work. The community expects that the work that is done by electricians in their homes is done to a requisite standard and is done to keep them safe. We are continuing our work to support Queensland's renewable energy commitment and are working very closely with other government departments industry to deliver PV solar large scale solar, wind farms hydrogen and battery energy storage systems. Queensland has almost 1 million PV solar systems on residential homes. At as of today, our additional priorities for the Inspectorate and the department will include construction and the agricultural sectors, the hazards of working over near overhead and underground lines and working on or around energized parts. Anton will be joining us today from Gladstone to explore the issue and the life devastating effects of an arc flash. Arc flash, sadly, is a race that Queensland is winning. We have the highest number of arc flash incidents compared to every other industry in a state and territories across Australia. This is something that we really need to stop. We wanna win by having zero arc flash incidents, not winning by having the highest number. The other thing I wanna touch on very briefly, um,is the awareness of asbestos for yourself, your workers, and your apprentices. Whilst it's not a matter for the electrical safety office, we know that asbestos also has life-changing effects if you come into contact with it. Earlier this month, uh, sorry. Earlier last month, um, the Office of Industrial Relations Workplace Health and Safety prosecuted an electrical contractor for disturbing asbestos, and the electrical contractor was fined $20,000 by the courts. I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, register for the eSAFE Electrical publication, and if you have or known an electrical apprentice, please encourage them to subscribe to the eSAFE Electrical edition for important information and safety updates that are tailored specifically to them. I'm extremely proud to lead the electrical safety office, and I look forward to working with this brilliant industry into the future. Please take the time today to reflect on the critical work that you do in keeping Queensland running smoothly and keeping the community safe. Thank you for joining us as the leaders and influencers of this industry. The work you do every day to champion safety really does make a difference to the lives of Queenslanders. Thank you.
Thanks, Donna. Appreciate that. Um, clearly the ESO has been very busy on many fronts. Um I do take your point of a message of, for all of us, those who are in the, in the, in the industry and those who are users of electricity, not to get complacent around electricity. And, uh, it saddens me that we're winning the race on arc flash. It's a race we don't wanna win. It's a race. I'd prefer we come last in and, uh we're not competitive. Um, so, uh, perhaps that's an area that, uh, needs, uh, some added attention. Let's move to our second speaker now, ladies and gentlemen. And by the way, um, if you'd like to, uh, ask questions of Donna or any other member of the panel, uh, don't forget you can do that, uh, via the Q and A chat box. Our team are ready to, uh, get to those questions and we'll get to them at the end of our session when we have a panel session. I'd now like to welcome Mark Pocock acting lead inspector in the compliance team at the Electrical Safety Office. Mark is a passionate subject matter expert when it comes to electrical risk management, having worked in domestic, commercial and industrial electrical industry sectors. He began his trade career back in 1999 with entry-level Prevocational trade training. From there, Mark progressed his way through each level of the electrical industry and has been an electrical inspector for the past seven years. Please join us on the podium, Mark.
Thanks, Chris. And, uh, I just wanna thank, um, everyone for having me here today. Um, I'm here today to talk about testing effectively and Chris just basically took my entire entry that I was gonna say on my first slide, so I'll move straight onto the next one. So why are we talking about testing effectively today? In my role as an inspector, I consistently find there's just a lack of knowledge in the industry and an understanding around electrical testing in general. And with that lack of knowledge comes then the errors with regards to testing effectively. So, I've observed this through just general conversations that in my role, um, when we look at auditing or anytime that I'm dealing with an incident, I have general conversations with the industry, um, that are working in the field, pardon me. And the answers that I get to the questions that I ask often raise some eyebrows. So unfortunately, we also see it reflected, um, when we're investigating electrical incidents. So, the consistent issues include a failure to, uh, isolate, a failure to prove de-energized, linking to that isolation, um, a failure to perform a visual examination, and a failure to perform mandatory electrical tests.
So today I just wanna highlight some areas of improvement that we can have in the industry, and hopefully we can start a few constructive conversations, um, about electrical testing in general, and then linking to that effective testing. So how can we be effective with the testing that we're conducting in the field? I'd much rather provide this education and information now than have to deal with something when it's gone horribly wrong. So I want to use today to highlight a couple of recent incidents. So, um, working in the field, uh, we're a bit segregated from issues that can happen in the field, um, and we can get stuck in our own little bubble. And from there, uh, as an industry, we need to be aware that these types of things are happening, and they happen far too often. So, in January 2023, a tradesman and a third year apprentice were performing electrical work at a domestic installation supply was isolated to allow the tradesman to perform work at the switchboard, and the apprentice was given task to complete inside the property. Once finished, the apprentice yelled out to the tradesmen on a different level and moved on with additional electrical work. Equipment was disconnected to allow for the relocation of, um, a socket outlet while performing that relocation work supply was re-energized and the apprentice received an electric shock. So, let's highlight, just looking at this specific incident, a couple of possible contributing factors to be aware of as a business or a worker. Hopefully these ones stick out, communication between the workers, very clear isolation, lockout and testing to confirm that isolation on both sources there, looking at the apprentice doing the work and also the tradesmen. But when you look at that apprentice, let's look at the competency of the apprentice and the level of supervision that's been provided at that site. And then also, let's look at something that a lot of people do miss, which is the ability of the tradesmen to actually provide a level of supervision. So, let's look at, I wanted to get some quantifiable statistics to try and get this message out there that this is occurring, so that we have that awareness of, of how often this is occurring. So, let's look at the legislation and what applies. So we've got electrical safety reg section 15, and this is the duty to determine whether equipment is energized. So before electric work is carried out on equipment, the equipment is to be tested by a competent person to decide whether or not it's energized. That's 15 one A two A is each exposed part is treated as energized until it's isolated and found not to be energized. As you can see by these statistics, I went back from now to 2019 and we've got 63 notices issued for breaches of section 15. It's a pretty damning figure considering the consequences when we fail. In section 15, we look at, we're looking at the risk of death or serious injury, because if you fail at this, it's, especially as a regulator, we're only finding out about this when an electric shock has occurred. So, um, it's horrific to think if these are the incidents we're getting notified of, what aren't we getting notified of. So moving on to another recent incident. In 2022, an electrical contractor was engaged to connect a split system air conditioner at a domestic house. The contractor was advised that the electrical was all completed and the AC just needs to be connected at the switchboard. Some electrical testing was performed by the contractor and the AC was connected to supply. 12 months later, I went to site to conduct an audit on the AC install on a completely separate matter. I observed 13 wiring rule non-compliances associated with that circuit that had been run for the air conditioner. Five improvement notices issued, and two electrical safety protection notices were issued. I had to disconnect supply to that air conditioner. So, looking at this incident, what's the first indicator that something isn't right and what is the question that you should be asking yourself and off known inspector? That's what I do on site. I try and put myself in the shoes, um, when I was working in the field, and the first question I ask myself is, who did the electrical work and why would I be needed to connect the system? Are we looking to confirm the license details of the person who installed that work and be looking to get a copy of the certificate of testing and compliance? The really, the main thing I wanted to highlight with this incident, um, was that a simple visual inspection would've clearly identified all of the wiring rule non-compliances. So, when I went to site here at this job, um, yeah, it, it didn't take long for me to spot the 13 issues, and it's one of those things that I would consider, um, we are lacking at the moment in that visual inspection. So why are we seeing these types of failures? And I've got two pictures up there. Hopefully everyone surely can see the issue with the pitches. Unfortunately, the solar installer didn't. Um, so why are we seeing the failures to conduct effective testing in both of those instances that we are looking at? Testing was conducted, but it wasn't effective. And it, and it's, it's strange when you look at, when you consider the consequences related to conducting effective testing is the risk of death or serious injury. To give a bit of perspective, from my position as an inspector investigating these types of incidents, I often see electricians and electrical contractors become a bit blasé to the hazards associated and the dangers associated with electricity as a source of energy. And when we talk as a source of energy, we're talking as a source of electrical energy and we're talking as a source of thermal energy. So electrical being electric shock, thermal being source of ignition for a fire, and they just seem to have switched off to those basic electrical theoretical principles. I think because of this, as a result of this, if we can't identify the dangers or the hazards, then how can we implement any control measures? Electrical testing now becomes somewhat of an optional extra that it can get discarded if time doesn't permit on the job. And this is the message we wanna get out there today. If you do conduct electrical testing, let's just not make it a step that you need to have to get your job ticked off. Let's make it sure that when we're doing it, it's effective. That's why we're talking effective testing today. Some other contributing factors and, and we mentioned them in the first incident, uh, communication. We see incidents often just through lack of communication. Everyone's working in their own little bubble on site, they've got a time pressure, their focus is on that time pressure or the workload that they have. And as a result, um, things just get missed, the competency of the person to perform the task. And when I talk about this, it's more, um, as an electrician, if you're given a task and you've never done that task before, um, we tend to, as electricians, I can remember this in the field, you, you have this fake it till you make it situation where you don't wanna sound like you, you don't have knowledge or and that may be career limiting in your field. Um, if you don't know what you don't know, ask the question. We all have that basic theoretical knowledge, just ask that question, someone will know and let's move forward in that direction, company culture and how that individual has been trained. So, let's have those conversations, um, in the field and try and, um, let's try and nut down all of these, the conversations that I have, and I observe at the time of the incidents, people often focus their shift, uh, their, their, um, the person's focus can shift completely away from electrical safety and they just become fixated on either timeframes or external distractions on site. And that is, those external distractions can be business related, they can be home related, and they can just be life in general. Life's pretty hectic at the moment. Um, but we really do need to focus when we're, we're looking at electrical testing because we are human. We're gonna make those errors while we're doing the work. The testing is there to make sure that when we energize, everything's gonna be okay and electrically safe. So how can we improve if we have an incident? Have a good honest look at the incident itself and how it's happened. Often these matters are dismissed, are dismissed and swept under the rug to avoid any consequences that may occur.
When we look at these, we've gotta dig down into the weeds and identify those causal and contributing factors. 'cause realistically, how can we fix something if we don't know the actual problem? In my capacity as an inspector, I consistently see internal investigations that have either downplayed the incident or they just failed to identify how the incidents occurred. So, it's that have that honest look. If you've had an incident and if you haven't had an incident, it's really important to run mock scenarios. A simple one is you've sent someone to do a job, play that mock scenario out that there's just been an electric shock incident occur on that job. And then break down as a company what systems you have in place around lockout, isolation, electrical testing, competency of workers. What auditing processes have you got to verify that safety compliance is com is actually happening in the field and that quality of work being performed is compliant with Australian standards. Stop. And we need to think electrical safety. I've included a couple of slides here because while having these conversations out in the field just in general and to do with incidents, I often get blank stares still when I talk about these things. So, the wiring rule, section eight, Not only does it outline the mandatory tests, but it provides a general description of why the test is required, the method you need to take and the expected result. It is all there in section eight verification, everything you need to know yet, I still ask a either a worker or someone on site about the electrical testing that they performed, what section would they refer to, and I get a blank steer. We also have specific Australian standards for inspection and testing. There's also 4 8, 3 6, which is an Australian standard that provides guidance regarding safe working on or near low voltage installations and equipment. This is a good one. It, um, it's very similar to our code of practice for managing electrical risks in the workplace. Um, which that's standard is, uh, the code of practice is free online. So, if you go to worksafe.qld.gov au you can get a copy of that one there. Um, but that Australian standard is really good. It's got some great, uh, information and guidance around working neo energized paths. These standards, I've, I've made them colour just so that we've got contrast. I've put it up there initially, they're all white and it just looked like words on the screen. So at least we've got a bit of contrast. Now. Um, I see a lot of blank stares with these ones when I discuss standards for specific electrical installations. So, it's just remembering there are standards for say, generators, uh, construction and demolition sites, um, marines, uh, chosen carnivals. If you, um, go into the wiring rules and you look at section seven, you'll see specific standards linked to different, um, special installations. And you'll also go to Appendix A, and you'll find the normative standards linked there. Please be aware of them, please use them some awareness around, uh, high risk electoral installations as well. So hazardous areas and high voltage. Um, I've dealt with issues with these before where someone's failed to identify that it is a hazardous area or a high voltage installation. Um, so just as contractors, workers, especially workers in the field, because we can get sent to a job that the contractor your boss may not know is a hazardous area or high voltage installation. Um, so if you go to that site and you think that it may be, you need to follow that process, um, of calling up and finding out about it. So, before a contractor connects or reconnects a high voltage installation or a hazardous area, they must get an accredited auditor. Um, and the auditor will inspect the work, confirm the installation to the extent, um, that has been affected by the work is tested and electrically safe. Simply put a job, um, of an accredited order is, is a risk mitigation function. Um, and it's for high risk installations, and it's a second check before the installation is connected to electricity. So again, you can go to worksafe.qd.gov au and you can find a full list of accredited auditors and they'll be in your location. So, the key, the key component with this one is, um, it needs to be a smooth, seamless project. You want to engage the auditor early. We've also got a sub-contractor audit that you can find at our website. Um, it's split into six different sections. Um, and it'll just measure your knowledge on, um, and documentations and work systems around, um, how your business is operating, hopefully today has reemphasized why effective electrical testing is so important. And I hope this presentation will prompt workers and contractors to press pause and think specifically around electrical safety. And should I be doing better as electricians; we can be self-conscious. Um, we're an odd bunch when discussing our electrical knowledge and our competency. We have to understand that the industry is very vast, and we can't know everything, asking questions. That is not a sign that electrician is not competent. So, let's start having these conversations about electrical safety and effective testing. Review your systems and processes and keep those incidents in the back of your head. And remember, there's contributing factors that we talked about today. They're your warning signs. So, remember, report issues to the O including unsafe and dangerous wiring and equipment, illegal unlicensed work. You can report shocks and dangerous events. You know, at the ESO we provide support to all Queenslanders when it comes to electrical safety, not just the, um, people in the electrical industry. Um, other than that, I'd like to thank everyone for having me here today.
Thanks, mate. Thanks, Mark. Effective, uh testing clear and concise communication and appropriate supervision. Three of the key takeaways, uh, from Mark's presentation It's time now and again, if you'd like to ask Mark a question at the, uh, end of our session, uh, when we go into the panel, uh, section, uh, please do so via the Q and A chat box. Um, anytime during this presentation, any question for any panel member, uh, that's fine. We'll get to them as soon as we can. Uh, my pleasure now to cross to Gladstone to link up with our next speaker, Anton Guinea. Anton was just 21 years of age when he was involved in a workplace incident as an electrician. He received second degree burns to 15% of his body after using a steel ruler to measure something, uh, in a switchboard. Anton understands the risks of working under pressure and is committed to helping leaders build, uh, psychologically safe and high performing teams. And I've gotta say, Anton, good morning. Welcome. I am green with envy about your tie.
Thank you, Chris. Thanks. Thanks for a great in intro and a yes, uh, it's really, really bright On the video. So, and, and thank you for a great welcome. Thanks for being a great mc today. And thank you to our previous speakers. Chris, let me, let me explain and take you through a little bit more of what you pre-empted in that, uh, intro. Yes, I was 21. Yes, I was working a switchboard. Yes, as we all know, and the people on this webinar actually understand intimately that that could have been a life ending decision. And, and yes, I actually did something really silly, and I did use a steel rule and a switchboard, and I chose to measure in that switchboard where we were gonna put an electrical component. And I think that for me, that decision and that using the wrong tool, and here's a prop that I carry now just to remind myself, and I'd love, I'd love to leave the listeners today with this message as I start telling you and be educational about what happened on that particular day. Is that what's your steel ruler? Now what I mean by that is, is it, and thank you, mark, is it electrical testing? Is it isolation? And I go back to Donna's talk where Donna talked about arc flash and the fac that we are now aware of arc flash. Let me cast our minds back for anyone that can remember the, the 19 hundreds. And in the 1990s, we actually didn't know about arc flash. We certainly didn't train it at trade school, and we certainly didn't measure. And, and I love that Donna could actually have statistics around arc flash. Now that wasn't a thing in the past, and when I was measuring in that switchboard, and so a trades person and I were measuring, and we were going to mount an overload block in a switchboard for everyone's benefit. So, it was a, it was a large panel, so we had probably six ccs, let's say, as part of this panel. And this was the very, very first one that we're measuring in. We opened the panel and to Mark's point, electrical isolation and testing, we isolated, which was really interesting. We isolated the M C that I was, I was working on, and I really wanna be specific about that. So, I speak to a whole range of groups and audiences, especially around this time of year, around electrical safety week and around safety week in general. And some groups, I'm less educational I guess, but in this particular group, when I'm speaking to electricians, if I can really paint the picture in the electrical industry, I can really paint the picture for you of an M C c. A main switch was one of the panel doors that, that you actually turn off or isolate to actually get inside the m c. And once you're inside the m c, what you can see then is dead. And so, we tested for dead, so we did everything right, which was really interesting, or so the general manager from that site told me when I was lying in intensive care about two hours later after this had happened. And here's the thing, and this is about opening your mind up to not just testing and isolating what you are working on, but what else is around you. So that particular switch board was not isolated. Only the panel that I was working on was, so we had live buzz bars in the back of that panel that came through to the main switch, isolated, everything there dead. But what we don't realize sometimes is how thin a steel ruler is. And it got in behind the main switch, and it came close enough where it contacted live buzz bars in a switch room that had the transformer just outside. In other words, the fault current was significant, the fault current was really, really high because of that, that distance from transformer to distribution board and the switchboard literally erupted in my face. Um, the arc blast that came outta the board. For anyone that's seen or anyone that, and I hope there's no one on here that has experienced an arc flash that that explosion of ionized air that was super-heated to something like we now know is 20,000 degrees C, which is four to five times as hot as the sun is the way people explain it, which is really hard for us to, to sort of grasp. And my hands came in contact with that 20,000 degrees C five ball and so did my face and my neck. And I'm gonna show you soon those photos, there's gonna be a trigger warning in a moment. But, you know, talking to Donna and Mark's point about the impacts, the consequences, how long these in psychological and physical impacts on your life go on for? I'm, I'm now talking about this incident, you know, 20 something years later. The thing was the first 10 years after this incident, I could not talk about it. I, I suffered through what I would say was post-traumatic stress now for anyone. And I hope that's the steel ruler dropping. So, for anyone on here that has had a significant incident in their life, they all know that it's not easy to get back up on a horse. That is not an easy thing to do. And for me it wasn't. And even though we thought, I thought that I could just go back to work as an electrician, wasn't that easy. As I now move towards showing you what I look like and the consequences physically, I'm gonna put a trigger warning up. And this is only gonna be up for 10 seconds because I know that these photos actually do trigger people. So, if you've been exposed to burns, this might, or you are traumatized by burns photos, this might be the right time to look away. And I'm gonna read this very specifically, so no one misses this trigger warning for 10 seconds, I'll show you the photos of this incident. As Chris said, there were second degree burns, partial thickness burns to 15% of my body, including my hands, my face, and my neck and my arms. And I'm gonna show you those photos now. And please again, please look away and we'll only have them up for 10 seconds and I'll let you know, obviously when we've taken them down, in case you do look away. And these are the photos of what hands look like when you're exposed to a serious arc flash incident. And I won't show you the photos in my face. Thank you. And for anyone that did look away, those photos are, are now gone now 20 something years later. I can talk about that incident now because I realize that I'd realized that I've grown through the incident. I've gone from post-traumatic stress to what psychologists call post-traumatic growth, which is a really, really important journey. And before I share what I, what I learned, some of the really key things that I'd like to leave you with, the first one was, what was your steel ruler? And what I mean by that is what's the thing that you do that might put you in harm's way? And maybe it's, maybe it's slowing down like Mark said, maybe it's communication. I, like Donna said, being aware of arc flash because, and I hope that this doesn't ever happen ever again, and let's hope, aim for zero in the electrical industry. When it did happen to me, this is what a day in the life of a burn survivor looked like, potentially fatal injuries because you get burnt internally as well, or you can get burnt internally as well, which I found out on the way to the hospital in the ambulance, two ambulance drivers having a great conversation about internal burns and the fact that it can kill you up to five days later. And so that was really scary. So, I spent some time in intensive care, then I was off to the burns unit where, just imagine this for a moment. You saw my hands. Imagine not being able to use your hands to do anything that you need to do in life to scratch something, to feed yourself too, to take care of your hygiene requirements. And you know, that's very personal Bill. Sometimes we forget about these. When we're out there at the, at the job front, we sometimes forget the impact, the consequences, the outcome, and how it impacts our lives moving forward. Not only our lives, those around us. My wife now, many, many years spent a week in the Burns unit with me and Julie, Mrs. Guinea, who's a teacher, which is why I call her Mrs. Guinea, saw stuff in the burns unit that she shouldn't have been exposed to. Burns units are horrible places. I remember one of the first things that happens every morning is, is your sponge bath. So, I was lucky enough that I didn't have to go to the chemical bath where they put burns victims with third degree burns into a chemical bar to prevent, um, to prevent infection. I, and please, um, I'm gonna, maybe I'll be a bit graphic here, but all of the skin has to be forcibly removed And so I needed a lot of pain killing for that I needed help with all of my hygiene requirements. And that didn't just go on for a day. It wasn't like you'd go to intensive care yet. You're gonna live now, we're gonna send you to the burn unit at Anton, and that'll go for a day or a week. This was a five week journey; it was over a month. And so, I was trying to save five minutes. I was doing probably a 10 minute job trying to save five minutes. And I went home from work about five weeks later. Now, what I'd really, really like to share with you, some key takeaways and some key learnings. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna distill this down into three key messages. And the first one is this, do safety because you want to, not because you have to. Now, as workers, as humans, and I'm gonna share this little model with you at the moment, this is a human brain for me personally, I have spent the better part of every year since that incident, trying to unpack, trying to understand, trying to piece together why I would do something that I knew was unsafe, that I knew was rushing, that I knew wasn't putting my safety first. And what I realize now, and, and that has taken me through a HR degree, it's taken me through to a psychology degree. And what I now realize is that we've got two parts of our brain. We've got our limbic system, which is the fast decision making, and we've also got the frontal lobes of our brain, which is where we gotta step back and make rational decisions and planned decisions.
I was working with my fast brain when this incident happened. We now know that it takes only seconds to slow down and to think about what could happen to think about the priority. What is your priority? Is it to get the job done quicker or is it to go home safely? Is it to get the job done quicker or is it because you've got an apprentice in your care? And we heard an incident involving an apprentice before, and there'd be a lot of people on this call, on this webinar that would be apprentices or that had been apprentices. Now the next message is this. And it's do safety for you and care enough. So, I showed you the brain, but here's another organ in our body that I'd love to share with you. It's our heart. Now, I think sometimes we forget to put the heart into safety and talking about the incident that we heard about earlier, or one of the incidents that we heard about. We heard about a trades’ person working with an apprentice. Now this is really relevant for me. And when I heard that story that really resonated, and I'll tell you why, is because I had a person standing right beside me when this happened, literally shoulder to shoulder. Now, how that person wasn't injured during that situation, during that incident, I'll never know. But it's the one thing that's kept me up at night more than anything else. Imagine if my behaviour, my priorities caused an incident, burns pain, suffering to another human or another family. And that, that is tough. That would be tough to live with. So please care about yourself and care about others Now the last message that I'd like to leave you with, and this is there's some science. Now there's been a lot of studies around slow down to speed up. And we know that, that safe organisations are actually productive organisations. It's counterintuitive, slow down to speed up. And I want to use another prop just for a moment to share with you how you might do that. So, a lot of us, and I did this in that moment, I was so worried about getting that job done quickly. That was my priority, that was my focus, get it done fast. But here's the thing, it wasn't a job that needed to be done fast, the whole plant that I was working on. So, this incident happened in Gladstone, Queensland at a chemical factory here. And one question that I often get is, how did that workplace handle that? How did they change? What did they do after that particular incident? Now I haven't been back to that organisation and really unpacked what changed with them. They, what I do understand is that not much because it was deemed as a manufacturer's defect, there was a gap in behind the main switch that shouldn't have been there. So therefore, that's okay. We know about that now. Now everyone don't use a steel ruler on a switchboard. So did anything change on that site? Not really. And that's okay. That's okay. 'cause it was many, many years ago. But what's changed for me is I now know that speed and trying to rush a job will put you in harm's way. And I'd love you to, I'd love to leave you with this as a visual. This is called the human sphere. And sometimes we get so compressed in our thinking and we get so wound up about getting a job done fast that we don't look at the bigger picture. We don't look at longer term outcomes. We don't look at going home safely. We don't look at not spending time in a burns unit for the next five weeks. Slow down to speed up is my final message. Know that you have got the time to work safely, and when you take that time to work safely, you'll do the job properly anyway. And at 9.45am, I'm gonna stick to the schedule and I'm gonna make sure that I finish right now, and I'm gonna hand it back to you, Chris, for any questions, queries, or comments.
Thanks very much, Anton. Uh, we'll have those questions at the end of the session. We've still got one speaker to go. So, uh, we'll get to that speaker first. Uh, if you do have a question for Anton or anyone else in our panel, uh, please, uh, submit them, uh, via the q and a chat box. We're gonna get to them very, very shortly. And I see already that there's a fair bit of feedback and commentary, uh, uh, online. So, we appreciate your participation, uh, in this morning's live stream. Uh, Anton, uh, appreciate the, uh, the key messages, particularly do safety because you want to, yeah, do it from the heart. Do it because you really want to, not because you have to. I I think that's a great take home message. Care more absolutely. Uh, about yourself, about everyone around you, about your workmates, about those you're doing the work for. I think that, uh, is a great ethos. Uh, and slow down to speed up. It sounds like a bit of double Dutch, but I know where you're coming from. Uh, and of course, uh, what's your steel ruler? We all have something that's gonna happen. What is yours? Uh, and it could be one that is, uh, catastrophic, uh, for you and your career. So appreciate the talk and we'll catch up with you during the panel time. Anton, uh, let's move on to our next, uh, speaker. And I'd like to welcome to the podium Keith McKenzie, Commissioner for Electrical Safety. Keith started his electrical career in 1986 after gaining his electrical, uh, fitter and mechanics’ licence. He worked for a number of companies on domestic commercial hospital, petrochemical and industrial projects. He has served on a range of board and committees, uh in the area of apprentice training, construction training competencies, workplace health and safety, uh, and the, uh, Australian standards, uh, and has been a member of the Electrical Safety Board, uh, and the electrical licensing committee since 2011. Welcome Keith.
Thanks everyone. And, uh, thanks to the probably thousands of people joining us here online today, obviously in live or hopefully watch this is recording in the future. So, we'll go to the first, uh, slide here today. And this is a bit about the organisation or through the Electrical Safety Office and the role that I play through the Electrical Safety Boards and Committee. So, on one side you can see obviously the Office of Industrial Relations and that's where the Electrical Safety Office sit and all the stuff that, uh, Donna and her teams do with respect to licensing and safety supply networks, field services and governance. And I chair, um, the Electrical Safety Board Licensing Committee, Education Committee and Equipment Committee. And those committees then through the board, actually provide advice then to the minister about electrical safety in Queensland. It's a function of the Electrical Safety Act. And through that we do also engagement with all the regulators and, um, and also industry stakeholders, um, throughout Queensland to ensure that Queensland is here, are electrically safe. So as Donna said, there's quite a few license holders and contractors in Queensland. As of the end of June, we've roughly had 12,570 contractors. Also, wanna acknowledge the PCBUs, the, um, the person conducting a business and undertaking. So that's the people who employ electricians out there, whether it be manufacturing plants and that sort of stuff. So, they don't have contractor’s licence, but they still engage electrical workers and they've got an important place to play in Queensland, ensuring they have safe systems of work out there as well. Workers in Queensland, 62,615,000 workers. And obviously as Donna said, there's 7,000 apprentices currently in Queensland learning the, uh, the apprenticeship trade. And obviously in, in four years’ time, when those seven and a half thousand apprentices come out, it doesn't mean we actually have seven and a half thousand apprentices in the industry. Some of them may go overseas on holidays and enjoy some time off. We'll have our workers obviously leaving their trade retiring or taking new roles. So we've obviously gotta keep, uh, renewing our apprenticeships. And obviously the electrical apprenticeship is one of the, uh, the most enjoyable ones well paid and the ones with more, uh, diversity. So disciplinary licensing, uh, issues through the disciplinary committee. So electrical licensing committee, one of their functions is to, uh, to hear issues where the electrical safety office refers someone to the licence committee generally where a ground exists. And most of the grounds where the performance or supervision of electrical work and during that electrical work is not electrically safe. And, and in that, um, as you can see, we've had, uh, 12 electrical contractors attend the licensing committee so far, and 20 electrical contract, uh, electrical workers. Um, and obviously, uh, in September we've got two more full days of hearing in September. I think we're gonna have four in October and a couple in November. So electrical safety officer is referring a lot of workers and contractors for us to consider their grounds for electrical licence. Now, as an electrical worker or contractor, I've got an electrical licence. I hold it dear to my heart and my electrician, and I'll be an electrician for life, but I can't work without that licence. It's so important that we hold that license, um, of high value. Um, because when we do electrical work or supervise electrical work, if things goes wrong, um, an incident could happen. In the case of Anton, he received an air flash. Um, luckily it wasn't a fatality. So, our license is very important to us and so important, um, under section 37 C of the Workplace Health and Safety Act, um, a dangerous electrical vent is one of electric shock, and that is a notifiable incident. So, if someone receives an electric shock in a workplace, uh, it is reportable and under section 38 of the act of the workplace evidence. So it's a duty to notify. And the reason why, if someone receives electric shock, you've gotta notify the regulator. It's not about them going and obviously having an investigation referring to the licence committee. It's about working on the understandings. What went wrong in your particular workplace. And the things that do go wrong in the workplace place is these are the five trends that when workers come to the licensing committee and some of the, the main one is what Mark talked about earlier, is failing to test or test not in compliance with as 3000. And in next section, eight of as 3000 is how to test the new updated standard of 30, 30 17. Also talks about testing. So, when workers come to us where someone's received electric shock, and in some cases it's the homeowner and homeowners say, well, I received a tingle on the taps. No, you've received electric shock. And then they bring up the, the regulator or the supply networks are investigate when workers and contractors come to us, they fail to test and in some cases they haven't tested at all. And that's not acceptable to protect your license and the community. You've gotta test and test effectively, as Mark said earlier today. The other one is about failing to implement and follow safe systems of work. So, depending on your organization, whether it's a boardroom table of CEOs and boards sitting around, there we're a small contract or a small PCBU and you have a kitchen table, safety's number one, and you have all these safe systems of work. But how they are getting rolled out to the workers through toolbox sessions to they understand what is required to undertake these safe systems work. And that's where failings generally occur. It's about adequate supervision for apprentices or young workers. The amount of apprentices of receiving electric shock, it's not their fault, it's a supervising trades person or it's a qualified technical person or the manager or the c e o haven't put systems in place to ensure adequate supervision. So, apprentices and or workers aren't receiving electric shocks and apprentices don't get paid to work. They get paid to learn. And quite a few times apprentices will be just really keen and while you're out in the truck getting some gear and equipment, they might go and take some PowerPoints off the wall ready for you. Well, they should know better through the education training and learnings that that doesn't happen. And the last one of the five majors is working the energized equipment and that's where people receiving arc flash, uh, in the case of Anton and many people. And that's where things, um, certainly go wrong with respect to arc flash. Um, and you saw some, an example for those who are able to watch Anton's hands, it wasn't good. And like that five seconds of using that steel ruler is, uh, months and months and he keeps talking about it now, which is, uh, a credit to Anton Sherry, his experience is that really when things go wrong, you know, and, and when the Electrical Safety Act was developed in 2002, we changed, uh, how we do things. You know, working on live electoral equipment along working, live on, working near, and we've gotta isolate. And when things go wrong, people aren't isolating upstream, so they'll turn the main switch off at a switchboard and they still play around in the board. Well, how about actually isolating at the pillar, the pole or the transformer? That's what's important. Um, things happen, you know, um, end of the day, how do I actually, am I just gonna turn the main switch off? I'll try and do it live. You've gotta stop. You've gotta stop and think. And especially with that testing, when you've done your last PowerPoint or installation for the day and test, take 20 minutes, have a break, review your swims, review your testing procedures, read section eight of the wine rules, get in that testing zone, that's your game day. And then go and test. And on the screen there, there's a whole range of different control measures you can have a look at. But it's also about, um, as workers and employer workout systems, um, uh, Mark through Mark's story, which is a great video produced by the strategic and communications group. Um, they had a video of Mark. He, he made a slip up one day, uh, and received an arc flash. And after that event, it's all what if turn the power off isolate upstream. And especially the people working on solar farms, they're, they're not new to some of this. They're opening combiner boxes. What's going on in here? And especially with DC receiving arc flashes. So an arc flash. Cause when something goes wrong and people should know better, because I guess it's good luck if you come to licensing committee with an arc flash because at least we get to see you and change some behaviours rather than, uh, not turn up the licensing committee and, uh, and being a fatality. So, arc flash is extremely important that it doesn't happen. And, and, and too many times, um workers are exposed to this either not having systems in place by the employer or not following safe systems in place, or just being lazy and taking shortcuts. The next thing briefly is about apprentices. Um, anyone who holds looks after an apprentice, um, it's a privilege to train an apprentice. If you don't wanna train an apprentice, be prepared to put your hand up and say, I'm not interested. So, we don't want to set apprentices up and make 'em fail. Um, it's about providing good supervision for an apprentice. Make sure you, you, you are knowledgeable, you're approachable, you're keen to teach an apprentice and get that relationship you are with them, whether it be one day a week for the whole apprenticeship. It's about so important that you look after that apprentice as you would look after one of your own kids. Make sure that you understand the scope of work that they're doing. Don't just assume you've got a fourth year apprentice and send 'em on a particular roof. Or go and do a, a motor changeover, whether the first year or fourth year actually ask what are they competent in? What can they actually do? And actually, you as the trades person, you're knowledgeable to undertake that work. Um, provide a, a safe working environment for 'em. Um, don't be cranky at 'em. They wanna ask a whole heap of questions. And if you are just cranky and abrupt with an apprentice, um, they'll shut down. So, it's about how we actually teach an apprentices.
And if you find apprentices dunno too much, well you need to look yourself in the mirror because you are the one you are the trades person teaching them. You're the trades person mentoring them. They go to college for a short period of time, learn about the theory of electricity and, and, and fix up some of the skills they might alert from some bad trades permit out there. But it's up to you as a trades person to teach and nurture those apprentices each and every day. So, when they come out, they're just as good as you, if not better for you. Over the last four years of The Apprentice, the Literal Education Committee and license committee, um, formed a focus group, uh, about a year ago, developed a supervision guide for apprentices, which, uh, will hopefully roll out very soon where apprentices actually have a look at that and what is their role within the electrical industry as far as what sort of work can I do? What sort of training do I need? What's a PPE? So, if you're good in a great employer, you might already have that. If an employer's starting out, here's a bit of a guide for an apprentice. And the next stage on for that, let's work. We're looking on a guide or a particular course or some form where workers are actually supervising apprentices. What do they really need to know to be a good supervisor and apprentice mentor Over to competency and skills? Um, you need to determine are you competent? So, my electrical license, pretty cool electrical fitter mechanic, um, that allows me to work on anything electrically. But I might not be competent if I worked for say, energy Queensland. I know nothing about poles and wires. My license allows me to do that, but I wouldn't be competent and hopefully I've gotta start with them. They actually put me through some regime to determine my competency. So, as you as an electrical worker, are you competent? Just 'cause you've got a license, you're not competent. Are you competent to test and test effectively as an employer? How do you know your workers are competent to test? Don't say you've got their license. Do you put 'em through a training re regime yourselves or do you send 'em out to an RTO to deem their competent? What systems have you got in place? Same with the PCB. If you're running a manufacturing company, uh a big mining company out there, what systems have you got in place? You might not have a QTP, a qualified technical person to, uh, to uh, ensure workers are competent. But you have a duty to ensure that they are and to ensure that that work that you do is electrically safe. Put systems in place. How are they being rolled out?
No good having on a computer system in a file on your C drive or some files in the office. Are the workers actually reading that on the job at toolbox sessions and understanding that the safety coach within your organization is actually goes from the CEO all the way down to the apprentice. And are you refreshing these skills each and every year? So, a couple of take home messages get involved in the risk management process. Um, I think are you competent? Um, review your swims if you've gotta swim. Someone might've read that five minutes ago or five years ago. Are they still current? Do you still need to modify them for the particular tasks that you're doing? Ask lots of questions. We want apprentices ask questions each and everyday trades people need to do it. Managers need to do it, supervise, need to do it. Are we doing what we do now? What we learned in the past is still effective. If you've got issues, talk to your supervisors, your HSR, the union delegates, talk to everyone you need to do to ensure you have a great workplace and get involved. And if you think it's unsafe, stop and make a call. If it's a hot day, you're working North Queensland, it's 48 degrees, you're not thinking right It's four o'clock in the afternoon, ring your employer up and say, look, rather than energizing today, how about I come back tomorrow and test? And hopefully that will be the answer. There'll be a whole range of contributing factors. Um, but testing's number one. And that's what you need to do. So, if it's unsafe, stop work Have a think about what you want to do to protect the people of Queensland. I'm, I'm mindful of time, so I'll wrap it up now. Um, electrical safety in Queensland, certainly in good hands with the office, the electrical safety office. We've got our own boards and committees, uh, our own electrical safety act. Um, there's a review now of the Electrical Safety Act, which hopefully the next few months, uh, minister Grace May have a view to, uh, to make changes to that act and a lot need to be made, uh, changed. So, we'll keep you updated, uh, throughout the end of this year and earlier next year with the progress of that. Thanks for watching. Stay safe, be electrically safe. Thank you.
Thanks, Keith. Uh, I think one of the, uh, important messages, uh, messages I took outta that is ask questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question, whether you're an apprentice or the supervisor or the owner of a company. If you're not sure, ask questions. Get the information. Don't assume. Again, we're about to go into our panel session where we're gonna, uh, answer your, uh, questions. And there've been a host of them already online. If you do have a question for Keith or any other member of the panel, uh, please do so via the q and a chat box, uh, even some feedback. We appreciate, any feedback you wanna offer to us, uh, even at this early stage, uh, we can take it. Um, so, uh, do that again via the q and a, uh, chat box. Uh, as I said, let's get, uh, to our panel, Donna, mark Anton, and Keith Anton, of course, uh, is, uh, still online, uh, up in Gladstone. Let's just, uh, cue in and just check in with Anton. You're still with us there, Chris. Excited, excellent. To some questions. No, no worries. Uh, let's get to the first of them. And, uh, George has a question for Donna. Um, and George asks, where can we get more details about the arc flash incidents in Queensland? Yep, they're on. All good. Thanks, bomber. And, uh, thanks for the question. Um, Anton took the words outta my mouth when he said, and I wrote it down. I've been trying for years to unpack and understand the why, uh, Queensland and the electrical safety office had the same, uh, question of themselves. So, we partnered with Griffith University, uh, and we will put it up in the chat, but we, um, put together a research paper called Shaping Frontline Practices, a scoping review of human factors, implicated and Electrical Safety incidents, um, which is a great little bit of work and something that we are working our way through, um, in relation to that issue. Um, and if you are asking about the actual arc flash incidents and where you get information, the Electrical safety office publishes quarterly, uh, on our website. So, if you just go to WorkSafe, um, or just Google WorkSafe and then type in the Queensland Electrical Safety Performance, it'll tell you every serious electrical incident we've been had reported, and a quick summary of the fatality or the incident, whether or not it's a worker, whether or not it was a member of the community, et cetera. So, I encourage you, if you're interested, go and have a look there.
Um, Matthew asks, were the arc flash incidents only involving electrical workers or were there others predominantly, um, people in the trade?
Yeah, so there, there may be an anomaly here and there of those that aren't in the trade, but the predominant numbers are those that are working in the industry.
Okay, thank you. Um, Adam has a question for Mark. So, if you can hand that mike over to Mark, um, with the failures of a correct isolation testing processes should there be a change to apprentice and tradesperson training to be more of actual on the job assessment instead of say, uh of a TAFE classroom, et cetera, more hands-on, more, you know, robust?
Thanks, Adam. That's a good question, and it's something that I have heard, um, for a long time, but I don't think it changes anything because at college, um, that's what you're taught there. You're taught the, the basic principles and the theoretic knowledge of being an electrician. Um, we have, when I went through it was a logbook. Um, I think now we've got the e profiling that is done. If you've moved that e profiling to assessment on the job, it's still, you're still gonna have the same issues with perceived safety versus actual safety. So, someone doing something because they know they need to get a license. So, if you have an assessor go out and watch them in the field, they'll do everything that they're supposed to do to ensure that they get their licenses, that they won't, you won't get that, what they actually do in the field. Um, what they actually do in the field is ingrained by the tradesmen. It is ingrained by the supervisor, those actual processes and the actual culture of how you're going to work. I, I think of it like the Melbourne Storm principle. So, Melbourne Storm have been in the NRL, they've been successful for a long, long time, and you can have a player go from a mediocre team and it might be a mediocre player, and he'll go into the Melbourne Storm system, and yet he will become more than, more than he's ever been in his life. And that system that he goes into, it's ingrained by those players. And at the time, it was your Cameron Smith's, your Billy Slaters, your Cooper CROs, they lifted that person's ability. And I think that's where it comes into, it's ingrained into that apprentice and the person training by that tradesman or by the person who's training them in the field, you know, changing the way that they assessed. It's not, it's, you're still gonna get that a person who's gonna do exactly what they need to do to get their license, you're not gonna find out exactly what they're doing in the field That's ingrained by the tradesmen.
Thanks, Mark. Um, we've got some feedback. Um, great job. Donna from Irma at Nika, Sue's Shepherd says, fabulous presentation, mark. Uh, and we've also had many viewers online that said, thanks to Anton for sharing his very powerful story, uh, to more of the questions. Um, Scott asks, what's in place to assess arc flash incident energy and what suitable p p e should be in place? Uh, Colleen is, uh, keen to hear more on this. Also, uh, it, it's a bit of a complex question I gather, but mark some thoughts on this.
Um, again, what's in place, I guess in the industry? When I was going through working pre 2015 in the field, there wasn't, um, a few of us have mentioned it that there wasn't a lot discussed around arc flash, but it's always been there around prospective fault currents. And it's ensuring that when we are looking at a switchboard, and, and that's I guess, where we do see lots of issues when we are actually looking at the switchboard. So, we're not, we don't perceive that we're doing any work there. We might open a discussion panel to have a look at it. Um, and, and that's where we get the issue. So, determining the prospective fault currents, and, um, if there is no data, and I think that's what the question mentioned, if there's no data on it, get getting an engineer involved in that situation. We see a lot of that now where we have discussions with companies, um, around this issue. And they'll get an engineer involved and they'll get nameplate data put on the switchboard, say, um, if they, it's a place where you do maintenance work, so you're always gonna be there. Um, but it's having those conversations. And I find, and Keith might find this as well, those conversations are starting to happen more and more in the last, especially in the last four years as these incidents are getting worse. Um, the conversations are happening between, um, say a commercial place or an industrial place and the electricians and, and all you have to do is outline the perspective fault currents, um, that you need to isolate. Also, one of the things that we did recently, um, with E S o, maybe two years ago, we, there was some training that we did on arc flash. Um, so we went through that training, and I know that training was very beneficial for us around the calculations of prospective fo current, the, the clothing and the p p e that should be aware. Um, and I've got all the documentation that I'd kept from that training, and that's what I use as my reference point. So, um, you can certainly look into those courses, and they were very helpful. But yeah, get an engineer involved and if you've, if you identified that there's risk there, um, the main thing is don't put yourself in a situation where you could be in danger.
I'd like to bring Anton in here and get his opinion on not only that, uh, question, but, um, Ian has asked Anton for this, what message do you have for leaders’ PCBs that have or are not aware of arc flash, uh, arc flash risks, which is hard to say in, uh, succession, uh, in their workplace. So, um, again, your opinion. Are we doing enough? Uh, are workplaces not educated enough? Um, it'd be great to get your opinion. Anton,
Uh, and thanks Chris. And I just love some of the, the language that Mark was using then is, so in 2005, a South African electrician called Gustav Tombo put a low voltage meter on a high voltage drill and suffered arc flash and died, I think it was about the 8th of March, 2005, since that particular day, that organization that that happened in went on a massive mission to do everything that Mark said, engineering prospective fault, current, and then the arc flash, PPE that goes along with testing and working on electrical equipment. So, arc flash, PPE has come so far. Now, some of the electricians that are listening to this, and some people in the electrical industry are gonna say, Anton, yes, we've already got too much PPE and PPEs on the bottom of the hierarchy. So I'll just, I, I'll, I'll address that very, very quickly. First, if I was wearing a flash PPE, I wouldn't have got burnt. And yes, arc flash, p p e is cumbersome. I get it though. There is so many organisations out there, and we've worked with them to implement that sort of a system. And I've actually got photos of arc flash gear that has prevented second or third degree burns and prevented something that happened to me happening to someone else.
Now, in answer to Ian's question, thank you, Ian, for asking that. Great question. Safety leader led and, and great work, Donna thank you for, I, I wrote that down, that shaping that frontline perspective of safety. There's a great research report out that it was a meta study and it's studied the last a hundred years of safety data. And it's come up with the five top things that industry, not just the electrical industry, but industry has done to really reduce, I guess, safety incidents, injuries, and fatalities. Number one of those, or sorry, number three on that list is leadership. And it's the micro decisions that leaders make that demonstrate what is the expected and accepted behaviour from their teams, whether they're apprentices or whether there other trades people. And, and where Ian was going with that question, thank you again, Ian, this, a lot of what we're talking about today is leader led our teams follow us teams are a reflection of their leader. And the more that as leaders we can, or you can in the electrical industry demonstrate safe electrical behaviour, the more other people see that and follow. Um, and, uh, he, I, I would love to give the leaders out there something or anyone out there something if you've hung around for this long on this webinar. Thank you. And I hope you have, um, we've got a free soft copy of a book with some questions that you can go out and ask with all of your electrical staff any day of the week. There's, um, my photos are in here as a reminder, please reach out to the organizing committee through the chat box. This is, we've got this in e-copy that we've made available to anyone that would like it. Um, and that's my gift to anyone in the electrical industry to hopefully keep safety at front of mind and to help leaders have conversations with their tea that demonstrate how I, how important safety is both to the leader and to the crew.
Anton, um, a general question for the panel. Um, what do they think, uh, are the common misconceptions or mistakes professionals in the electrical industry might have when it comes to safety switch testing or other parts of their role?
Yeah, great question. Um, I think firstly it's getting understanding what is a safety switch. For years that we've had, um, fuses in switchboards, we've said people need to swap the circuit breakers, circuit breakers, replace and protect, um, the installation and the equipment. But it's actually getting an understanding what a safety switch is and putting a safety switch in on your home and your, uh, industrial premises if you can. But one safety switch is not enough. It's about having more and having on every circuit. And when it comes to testing, it's so important that obviously we test those safety switches every three months, but it's also, you know, when you get electrical, uh, contractors coming in there, they can also do injection testing to make sure that, that where it does, it has to trip out within 30 milliamps. If that's a requirement, it actually does trip out in 30 milliamps. Whilst safety switches do save lives, there's still a mechanical device that has to trip. So, it's so important that, you know, as industry leaders and workers and contractors, you know, actually do a review of our, of our workplaces and premises. And if you're going to, to do work on people's homes and businesses, have that conversation, have you put safety switches in place? I think that pretty much sums it up. I don't think we need to go to any other member of the panel.
Thanks, Keith. Um, a shout out to those watching from other states, which is great, uh,
New Zealand. So, we're going people across the ditch Kiata. Um, and, uh, a special hello to our Tasmanian colleagues, uh, lots of viewers this week, uh, from Tazzie. Good day, and thanks for joining us. Uh, pop in the chat, how you heard about today's session. Uh, we'd love to know. So, for all those interstate and overseas, let us know how you heard about that, uh, where, where chuffed you could join us. Thank you. Um, Mark, uh, what are your key takeaways for workers, uh, to ensure they are testing effectively and working safely?
Really good question. Um, when I was doing this in the field pre 2015, um, it was probably not a clean process that I felt. It was, um, something that I'd often do off memory, and it'd have a standard out here and a standard out there, um, coming into the, so, and part of the processes that we have in place is once you get like a really clean procedure in place, testing just becomes, um, so much easier, so natural where if you're doing testing for a certain thing and you've got a process and procedure that you can follow, and every company that I have dealt with and, and talk that I look, walk away from and think, geez, they had, um, their testing sorted out, it was because they had a really clean process and procedure around testing that they could just read through and do, so that every time they knew they'd done the exact same thing And it was just a process that was repeatable and it just became ingrained culture in that company. And the other thing I would say is, um, is to have that switch. Keith and I had a discussion around this this morning, have that switch, um, so that you, we are doing electrical as electricity, we're doing electrical work, but we really need that switch that when we stop doing the work and move into the testing phase, that we're, we're shifting our mindset now away from doing the work and into doing testing. And, and that shift in mindset might be just to have 20 minutes or, or 15 minutes away from what you were doing, get all your testing gear out, get your processes, get your procedures, and then you're concentrating on testing. It's not that afterthought. And, and there's no time pressures around that. If there is time pressures there, come back the next day.
Thanks, Mark. Um, let's head back to, uh, Gladstone and Anton. Uh, workplace incident had a big impact on you. Uh, what was the impact on your workplace and for those around you?
Great question, Chris. Um, so I never really ever got to unpack that. I, I left that site. So, the background is that I'd just come outta my apprenticeship and, and actually hadn't got a job as an tradesperson at that stage. I was working as a tradesman's assistant. There's no work around back then. And so, I was TAing for different trades. I started TAing for a boilermaker and then got a job TAing for a, an electrician. They're only one week jobs at a time. And so, you know, I I've never really been back to the site and that's a great question from whoever asked it. Um, I can tell you about the impact on those around me. Uh, and, and as you could imagine, so my now wife, as I mentioned, uh, my brothers came up and uh, and they couldn't actually sit with me in the Burns unit or in intensive care particularly because it was, um, such a horrible experience for them. And, you know, and I think about my parents, and I think about my mom sitting in the Burns unit and the Burns unit back in the day was a really old, decrepit place. And I think about, I think about the trolley, and this actually, I, I won't tell you that story 'cause it might be triggering, but, um, the people around me were exposed, as I said, and I say this regularly, that they saw things that they should never have seen. And I think, I think just an answer to that question, 'cause I know it was really specific about work, um, the first responders at work I've heard anecdotally were, um, were quite traumatized by seeing such a burns incident. Actually, my brother-in-law was the first person to see me. He was actually working on site, would you believe? Unbelievable. He was the first. So, when you stick a steel ruler into buzz bars, you tend to trip out circuits talking about, um, tripping circuits.
Thanks Mark and Keith. Um, and he lost power to the welder that he was on, and he looked over the edge of the, the deck that he was working on, and he saw this plume of smoke come out of a switch room closely followed by me and, uh, and black hands and black face. And he actually couldn't see my hands. And when he rang my wife, he, uh, he didn't talk it down. He said, Anton's been badly hurt, his face is blown off, and I can't see his hands So of course my now wife, uh, really, really freaked out. So, it, it's such a great question. The people around you suffer and, and it's really hard to quantify that. And I think the, the message is, at the end of the day, still, let's do it for us. Really remember that there's people around us that, um, that their heart will be impacted if we hurt ourselves and they've gotta respond to us.
Thanks, Anton. Um, last question, uh, 'cause of time. We've already run a little bit over time. Um, this one's for Keith. Uh, as someone who's been a member of the electrical licensing committee for a long, long time, uh, what have been the most significant changes or advancement in electrical safety practices that you've witnessed during your time? And you have a little time to think about that and for the other panel members, can you give us quickly, just very succinctly, your final key message takeaway for today? So, Keith, that your questions about what you've seen in the advancement for our other three, give us one critical takeaway message from today.
Look, I think the big one is, is a safety culture. Um, in 2002 and the act was developed, we try to get away from working live and people are still, unfortunately, still working live where they can turn the power off. And we're also seeing people working near energised equipment where they should turn the power off. But it's about that safety cultures that what Mark talked about before, it's about having the, the, the, the storm, the, uh the storm effect a lot. I think it'd be the Sydney roosters. They're going all right. But it's a, it's the effect of going into an organization where they've got good safety culture, where, you know, if you need to take time to isolate effectively and turn off the power, they're supporting you, uh, at all, all avenues of the, of the leadership and the supply stream there. That's what we're really seeing in the attitudes and behaviour. The other thing I'd like to see is the work of the, uh, the o's um, strategic communication group. If you go to the electrical safety office website, there's a whole heap of videos, you know, from Tim's story, I love you dad,
mark story, arc flash, those videos. And I've got a big believer that a picture tells a thousand words. It's the video and understanding of what's happened in the past and what you need to change your behaviours going forward, that shock effect. And I mean that the shock, obviously, seeing what people have been in and lost loved ones and, and been affected by injury. That's what's important. So, it's also, um, when you read the EAF alert and find out the, uh, the workers unconscious are face the licensing committee. And look, we're not a bad committee and we're fairly friendly, but it's about how we change behaviours and attitudes. So, when you leave the committee and whether your license is suspended or suspended and deferred to give you more training or more ability to look at your systems, that's where we really see the changes. How to test section eight of the Y in rules 30 17. That's what's so important. That'll stop you receiving electric shock. And that'll, um, stop the people at Queensland receiving electric shock.
Okay, over to you. Mark, takeaway message.
Really, really simple one. Um, we talk about risk management in anything that you're gonna be doing in the industry. We just want you to stop, stop what you're doing, pause and just think electrical safety. Okay, Don, it Seems to be a bit of a theme here. Um, what never ceases to escape me is when we get an incident notification, whether it's from the ambulance, the police, or the workplace, that we know that that family or that person and their loved ones and their colleagues, they are gonna be impacted forever. It has a massive ripple effect. Um, and if you're not gonna be safe for you, be safe for your kids. Be safe for your mom and dad, your wife, your partner whoever it is that you go home to, that makes you happy. At the end of the day, just remember that what you do has a greater impact than just yourself. So be safe, work safe, home safe.
Back to, uh, Gladstone and Anton, bring us home. And mind. Not be a steel ruler for you, Chris, or for everyone watching this, but what is your steel ruler? What is the thing that could bring you in contact with an energy source like electricity?
Engage your frontal lobes, make safety your priority, and think about what you need to do to make sure you never do something like sticking in a steel ruler on a switchboard. And that's the analogy. What's your steel ruler?
Thanks Anton. Uh, that, uh, just about wraps up our session. I would like to, uh, thank our guests and panel members today, Donna, mark, Keith, and Anton up in, we appreciate your input, professionalism, and very, very, very sound advice. Uh, today's webinar was recorded and will be available to watch and share with your friends or colleagues that may have missed. Uh, and it would be email@example.com. That's also where you'll find a bunch of other resources and information on electrical safety. It will also be available on worksafe.qld.gov.au. Uh, keep your eye out, uh, for an email from us over the next couple of days to complete a feedback survey about today's event. It's important we get your feedback. We'd like to know what you thought, uh, suggestions on how we can improve it. Uh, we're always looking to tweak things. Uh, we, uh, really value your feedback. Uh, so if you can spare a couple of minutes, that would, uh, be really appreciated. Finally, as we continue to celebrate electrical Safety Week 2023 for me, Chris Bombalas and our team, WorkSafe Home safe. Bye for now.