Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Electrical Contracting, Service Industry and Equipment Technicians

Mandatory Working with Asbestos Training - ACT

- Friday, September 26, 2014

The scourge of Asbestos has dominated the headlines in the ACT recently mainly due to the well-publicised Mr Fluffy loose fill asbestos insulation saga. Whist this heightened media exposure has caused the ACT government to act definitively for the home owners of these 1000 odd effected properties,  what about the countless tradespeople who have worked on these properties over the years blissfully unaware of the dangers they faced hidden in the wall cavities and underfloor spaces. The fact is that workers likely to encounter Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) products through their respective occupations had been required to undertake basic asbestos awareness training for many years. The fact is this was poorly managed at a government level and the reality was many employers in identified occupations never ensured the proper training was implemented.

Through the ETU and other construction union’s representation on the ACT’s peak Workplace Health and Safety advisory body; the Work Safety Council, the issue of proper asbestos training has been firmly on the agenda for many years. Together with the backing of the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe and other relevant industry associations, a new mandatory regime of Asbestos Awareness training was developed in 2013 and was designed to capture all workers that are likely to encounter asbestos in the workplace as identified in a list of prescribed occupations. This training was required to be provided to all existing employees by 30 September 2014 and subsequently all new employees prior to them starting work. Along with existing mandatory training and licensing of asbestos removalists and assessors, this awareness training formed two of the three tiered approach to asbestos training for the ACT.

The final or third tier of the Asbestos training framework for ACT is now finally underway. This new package is particularly relevant to electrical and communications workers in the ACT as it finally deals with the elephant in the room……working with asbestos. The fact remains that many electrical and communication workers are often faced with tasks involving the cutting, drilling, penetrating or fixing to ACM products in older premises.  Asbestos related work, if carried out correctly, drastically reduces the risk of exposure to asbestos fibres; if not done correctly, exposure to airborne fibres increases dramatically not only for the person doing the work but also others around them.

The aim of this new training package is designed to provide workers with the skills and knowledge to perform these tasks safely, competently, efficiently. It will cover all aspects of Asbestos Related Work from initial planning and risk assessment, selection and use of correct PPE, asbestos fibre containment methods, appropriate disposal of residual asbestos, correct decontamination methods for the site, any tools and protective clothing. It is intended that the training will be developed as a national unit of competency and will only be delivered by accredited register training organisations. Accreditation will be overseen by the project steering committee of which the CEPU is represented. It is anticipated that the final package will be ready for delivery in the first quarter of 2015. The new training will be mandatory for all workers in occupations where asbestos related work is carried out.

The ETU commends the work of the ACT Work Safety Council and the support of the Work Safety Commissioner in not only endorsing, but actively campaigning for this long overdue package of mandatory safety training. The ACT is now leading the way in effective and legislative asbestos training nationally and we call on other jurisdictions to follow suit and mandate asbestos training for all effected workers.

For more information on this subject contact Matt McCann at the CEPU on matt.mccann@etunsw.asn.au

St Helena Tunnel Fit Out

- Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Further update for members wishing to get short term work on the Tunnel fit out.

Lend Lease Infrastructure Services Pty Ltd have been confirmed as the Electrical Contractor and look like they will be beginning in early October 2014, at this stage.

The rates will be as per their Sydney Construction Workplace Agreement 2012-2015 and the current rates from that agreement are displayed below this article.

The expectation from the Contractor is a workforce of up to 40 with the peak around February 2015. There is a further expectation of a majority local workforce for the project.

Tony Abbott's Building Code

- Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Negotiations start at Thyssen Krupp

- Thursday, August 21, 2014

Negotiations for a new EA at Thyssen Krupp are about to commence. A mass meeting will be held to elect a negotiating committee and to develop a log of claims.

Details for the mass meeting are as follows:

7am - Thursday 28 August - 18 Huntley Street, Alexandria.

Any questions may be directed to Dave McKinley on 0414 877 478 or davem@etunsw.asn.au


Lismore Base Hospital Work

- Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Construction and upgrade work has now commenced at the Lismore Base Hospital with the managing contractor being John Holland. Following discussions with John Holland management, we are advised that the first stage will be earthworks.

John Holland have indicated that it is most likely to let the Electrical Contract in late August 2014 however from this time there may be employment opportunities for licenced electricians onsite.

We will endeavour to keep members up to date with any developments. All updates will be posted on the ETU website and any questions may be directed to ETU Organiser Geoff Prime - 0416 060 955.

Free Online Asbestos Training Package

- Monday, June 16, 2014

With the support of WorkCover NSW, the ETU and other industry representatives, have developed a free asbestos e‐learning package for electrical workers providing important information on:

  • What is asbestos
  • The health risks associated with exposure to airborne asbestos
  • Where asbestos containing materials may be found in the electrical industry
  • The safety controls that minimise the risk of asbestos exposure
  • Examples of real life electrical work situations involving asbestos

To complete the online training simply CLICK HERE


Long Service Corporation Cancellation of Worker Registrations

- Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Long Service Corporation will soon be cancelling the registrations of workers who have not recorded service for at least 4 years, and who have less than 5 years recorded service in NSW.

The Corporation will be cancelling registrations under Section 19(1A) or 19(2) of the Building and Construction Industry Long Service Payments Act 1986.

Notifications of the intention to cancel a workers registration will be issued to approximately 18 000 affected workers on 12 May 2014. Workers will have until 27 June 2014 to lodge an appeal against the cancellation of their registration.

Long Service Corporation have updated their website and Helpline messages with information about the cancellation of registrations.

ETU members are reminded to make sure the Corporation has your correct contact details.

If you have any enquiries about the cancellation process please phone Long Service Corporation customer service on 13 14 41.

Member Information Nights

- Thursday, May 22, 2014

The ETU in partnership with EISSNEW Law and RT Health are hosting a number of member information nights across the state commencing in June.

The first four information evenings will be held in NEWCASTLE, the CENTRAL COAST, SYDNEY and WOLLONGONG with a further eighteen meetings scheduled across the state.

ALL members from all industry sectors are invited to come along and hear from your leadership team about the challenges we face including industrial matters, campaigns and the latest developments in Superannuation.

Full details for the meetings in Newcastle, Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong including times, dates and venues can be found HERE.

A full list of regional locations and dates can be found HERE. Once times and venues have been finalised for these locations we will notify members.

Food and drink will be served. If you wish to attend please RSVP to Joanne Crowder on 02 9267 4844 or joannec@etunsw.asn.au

Workers Comp Cuts Hurting Injured Workers

- Tuesday, February 11, 2014

New workers compensation laws are making life tough for injured workers, according to a new study from Macquarie University, funded by unions. Yet Andrew Constance, the NSW Finance Minister argues overall his scheme is helping people get back to work and delivering savings.

ABC 7.30 covered this story last week highlighting just how these changes are hurting ordinary people - view the ABC 7.30 report here.

On 1 January, 2014 injured workers who used to have their medical expenses covered by the workers compensation system were relegated to the scrap heap after changes by the O'Farrell Government took effect.

Injured workers who were waiting for medical procedures of were continuing to incur medical treatment costs were told by private insurers they were no longer covered leaving these people, many retiree's and pensioners, without any options and facing financial and personal hardship.

Unions NSW commissioned a report through Macquarie University to look at the impact of the O'Farrell Government's changes and the negative impact they are having on vulnerable injured workers. The full report can be read here.


Working in Heat

- Thursday, January 16, 2014

Weather forecasters are predicting that parts of NSW and the ACT will experience high temperatures over the coming days.

All members should be aware of the dangers of heat stress and be familiar with the unions working in heat policy (2003), your employer’s heat management policy or the Workcover code of practice for managing the work environment.

In summary ETU members should observe the following as a minimum but individuals should take appropriate action depending on your individual health and work situation: 


Continuous work with normal breaks.


Minimum 15-minute break per hour worked.


Mandatory - stop work - do individual (Personal) risk assessment and determine if work is to continue, that work undertaken to be limited to fault and emergency or finalisation of current work (No New Work).

Click on the links provided for a full copy of the ETU Working in Heat (2003) policyWorkcover NSW’s website with details about working in heat and the Bureau of Meteorology for current weather forecasts (click on the map for your local forecast).

Members should exercise extreme care as temperatures rise. If you have any questions please contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser.