eFlash #523

eFlash #523

eFlash #523
Date: 16-Feb-2022

In this edition: Water Skills Forum – We are go!| Update on Workplace Exposure Standards| ERA63 Model Conditions Consultation| New Improved Version of swimlocal is Now Available| Livingstone Regional Conference – Registrations Now Open| qldwater Footy Tipping 2022 – Kick-off in 4 weeks| Fundamentals Webinar – Registrations Closing Soon| SCADA Micro-Credentials – Don’t Miss Out| IPWEAQ CQ Branch Conference – Last Chance to Register

1. Water Skills Forum – We are go!

Last chance to register for the Skills Forum to be held as a hybrid event on Thursday, 3 March 2022. If you are planning to attend, please register now if you want to be fed!
 Graham Fraine, the Director General of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, has agreed to attend the last session to discuss industry skilling challenges and potential solutions.
 The Forum will explore the Lifecycle of a Water Industry Worker, with three half-hour panel sessions exploring possible career paths, from ways to gain interest through pre-vocational opportunities to traineeships, graduate employment and industry co-investment models to entice postgraduate industry research. It also includes a session on a successful transition to retirement model.
 Whether you are able to attend in person at our office in Eagle Farm or online, we look forward to welcoming you to the Water Skills Partnership signature annual event.

2. Update on Workplace Exposure Standards

With thanks to the Water Services Association of Australia – this update has been extracted from its most recent submission to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

As a result of industry concern, at a meeting on 8 December 2022, Safe Work Australia members agreed to undertake a Preliminary Impact Assessment (PIA) of the proposed exposure levels for 19 of the 700 chemicals included in new Workplace Exposure Standards, including hydrogen sulphide and chlorine. ACCI is taking the lead on the preparation of the PIA, which is a precursor to a Regulatory Impact Statement, if accepted. We will keep members informed as the work proceeds.

The PIA must demonstrate:

  • evidence that the impacts to industry are national
  • air monitoring* data (or other evidence) that demonstrates that, using current control measures, workers would be exposed to a concentration of the chemical that exceeds the proposed WES.
  • evidence that additional control measures are required to reduce worker exposure to a level at or below the proposed WES (what control measures do you use now versus what additional controls might you need to purchase to meet the proposed WES)
  • detailed analysis of the costs of any additional control measures (best estimate)

*air monitoring is that described in the Guidance on the interpretation of Workplace exposure standards for airborne contaminants – personal air monitoring in the breathing zone of workers (outside of RPE).

WSAA has collated the collection of hydrogen sulphide data from sewage networks and facilities across Australia. The data was of variable quality due to the short timeframe for collection and indicates that impacts will be severe at some utilities and unlikely at others.

The results indicate the new lower limits for hydrogen sulphide will impact sewage treatment plants, sewer pumping stations and large sewage collection mains. The cost to implement engineering controls to achieve compliance for the industry has been subject to a sensitivity analysis. Overall, the median impact is estimated to be $6.5 billion across the Australian Water Sector.

The water industry has very limited existing data on the current concentrations of chlorine its workers are exposed to. Gas monitors with alarms are used to ensure employee safety, however, collected data is for exceedances of current limits, not routine readings of chlorine gas levels. Some data has been provided when site alarmed at 0.5ppm.

It is the water industry’s position that SWA should not be recommending new health exposure limits for chlorine or hydrogen sulphide with such severe potential cost consequences without a thorough assessment of the risk mitigation benefits, the cost and the necessary transition time. This will require at least a 6 month monitoring period. A pause on the new limits for these selected chemicals including hydrogen sulphide and chlorine is warranted for Safe Work Australia to work with industry to undertake a more informed regulatory impact statement and to reassess the transition time.

The water industry’s position is:

  • The proposed standards have the potential to greatly increase exposure exceedances in workspaces currently considered safe.
  • This will have major cost implications (engineering, PPE, work methods) but without a commensurate uplift in protection of worker health and safety.
  • A detailed RIS with an appropriate data collection time is required prior to confirming the need to implement this change.

3. ERA63 Model Conditions Consultation

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) has opened the consultation on the revised model conditions that specifically apply to sewage treatment activities. These conditions would apply to a site-specific application for sewage treatment (ERA63) in addition to the Common Model Conditions (which is covered by a separate consultation process).

 Some of the major changes include:

  • Inclusion of monitoring requirements that may be applied depending on the risks of the specific activity.
  • Removal of the ‘intent and how to comply’ guidance.
  • Improvements to the clarity, consistency, and enforceability of conditions.

qldwater will be preparing a joint submission on behalf of our members. DES has provided a table for the comments, that you may use if you choose, but we are happy to accept comments in any form or even by phone.

The consultation closes on 19 April (just after Easter). We would like all comments to be provided to us by Friday 9 April to allow us time to prepare the submission.

 The three documents attached are:

If you have any questions please email enquiry@qldwater.com.au.

4. New Improved Version of swimlocal is Now Available

A new version (major upgrade) of the swimlocal software has been released. This version includes the ability to transfer data directly from swimlocal to the DES WaTERS database. It also includes a lot of new functionality, such as: new calculations (site specific, IF/NOT/OR/BUT statements, etc.), new validations rules, and as requested and importantly, validation rules, calculations, indicator ordering, repeats, etc. can all be category specific now. Sites can also be ordered as you wish rather than just being listed alphabetically.

There are currently 51 councils/organisations using the fully licensed version of swimlocal. If you are interested in the swimlocal data management software please contact David Scheltinga (dscheltinga@qldwater.com.au).

5. Livingstone Regional Conference – Registrations Now Open

qldwater is excited to announce registrations are now open for our first regional conference for 2022 to be held in Yeppoon, kindly hosted by Livingstone Shire Council on the 25th of March, with an optional dinner on the evening of the 24th.

qldwater conferences are an informal opportunity for networking, updates on what’s impacting Queensland’s water and sewerage service providers, and technical presentations.

A preliminary version of the program is available on the event website.

There will be a Central Queensland Trade Waste Interest Group (CQTWIG) Conference taking place on Thursday 24th March.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the Livingstone Regional Conference. Please contact Naomi (ncarragher@qldwater.com.au) If you are interested in sponsoring this event.
To view other upcoming events please visit our website: https://qldwater.com.au/upcoming-events

6. qldwater Footy Tipping 2022 – Kick-off in 4 weeks

qldwater's NRL and AFL tipping competition is now open for all employees of qldwater members and qldwater Affiliate Members. Keen to see some new competitors - last season proved to be a bit of a challenge for everyone but we are in a new normal and that includes footy every week with no disruptions.*

*We will not be held to this statement.

There will be a weekly prize for one person who selects the most winners in either NRL or AFL and big season prizes detailed below.

Even average tippers get lucky once during the competition and you can tell your colleagues you are a prize-winner even if (like Rob Fearon) you know nothing about football.

Joining is free, simply go to qldwaterFooty Comp 2022 then:

1. Click on the green join button,

2. Refresh your account or create a new one,

3. Choose “qldwater Footy Comp 2022” competition with password “qldwater22!”

4. Enter your preferences and start tipping in the NRL and or AFL.

The rules are simple:

  • Your name must be clearly identifiable
  • Not tipping in any round will give you a default score (the away teams but with a maximum).
  • Each tipper can choose 3 joker rounds for each NRL and AFL (which doubles your score for that week).
  • 3 Bonus points for tipping all games correctly in a round.
  • One $30 Visa Gift Card will be awarded each week via email for the week’s best tippers in both NRL and AFL.
  • One $200 Visa Gift Card will be awarded for the season winner in each NRL and AFL after the Grand Final. If two tippers end on the same score then margin scores will determine the ultimate winner.
  • Only employees of members of qldwater and qldwater Affiliates can tip and win prizes. Some qldwater staff participate in the competition but are ineligible for the end of season prize.

7. Fundamentals Webinar – Registrations Closing Soon

Register now for our next Fundamentals Webinar on Tuesday, 22 February, 10am-11am, AEST with the topic ‘Common Challenges and Controls for Water Reuse’, presented by Ben McClatchie, Fraser Coast Regional Council. Ben has planned an excellent interactive session targeted at staff of all levels with a role in operating recycled water schemes.

More sessions will be hosted in 2022, keep an eye on our Upcoming Events page for details.

Recordings of all previous webinars are available to download on the qldwater website. Please contact webinar@qldwater.com.au with any queries about previous or future webinars or to discuss sponsorship opportunities.

8. SCADA Micro-Credentials – Don't Miss Out

Spots are filling fast for the SCADA Micro-Credentials Course with limited spaces now left available.

We have removed the limit of four participants per organisation as we want to fill all the available spots before our funding from DESBT to offer a subsidy for this course runs out. It will be first in best dress as once all the below spots are filled the DESBT funding has finished for the Micro-Credentials program.

If you would like to register your employees to do this course, please click here.

Please see below available dates:
Two Full Days Course Dates: 

  • Wednesday 20 April & 27 April (7:30am - 4:00pm AEST) – 8 spots available

 Four x Half Day Course Dates:

  • Tuesday 19 April, Thursday 21 April, Thursday 28 April & Thursday 5 May (7:30am - 11:30am AEST) - 6 spots available

Further details are available on the micro-credential website.

*Please note only Queensland Water Industry employees are eligible for the subsidy.

9. IPWEAQ CQ Branch Conference – Last Chance to Register

Don't forget to register for the CQ Branch Conference to be held in Gladstone, 16-17 March 2022! Use the code CQ50 by Thursday 17 March to secure a $50 discount on your full conference registration.

This year's comprehensive program includes up to 9.5 CPD hours at just $58 per hour. The program includes 18 presentations including a keynote presentation by Gladstone Regional Council on the Philip Street Communities and Families Precinct.

 A full conference registration includes two additional networking opportunities at the Welcome Function and Branch Conference Dinner at Auckland House.

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