Electricity, Water and Utilities
Electricity, Water and Utilities
NOTICE TO MEMBERS
12 October 2018
CONDITIONAL LIFTING OF ETU SAFETY BAN ON REMOVAL OF BATS
Members will recall that there is currently a ban on the removal of all bats from overhead mains due to inadequate procedures Ausgrid had in place at the time which did not cater for member safety as the No.1. priority.
ETU O/H delegates and I have met with Ausgrid several times over the past few months in a bid to come up with a safe and workable solution on the process for removal of bats from overhead power lines. Our two main issue have always been that members had not been vaccinated and had not been properly trained in a safe procedure.
Together with Ausgrid, our delegates have come up with a safe procedure which requires 3 people, and which has now been rolled out in tool box talks to all affected work groups.
As a result, the work ban on removal of all dead and alive bats is now lifted and members may now remove the bats so long as the three-person method is employed. If you have not received instruction on this method, then do not perform the removal until you have.
If members do not utilise the 3-person method for bat removal, they are placing themselves at risk and not only breaking a union ban but also Ausgrid policy. In such circumstances the union will not be able to defend any disciplinary action arising out of the use of alternative methods.
Ausgrid are also now offering to vaccinate anyone who wishes to be vaccinated and it is our view that people who are vaccinated should be used as a priority by Ausgrid for any bat removals as this is the best way of eliminating the risk.
Mark Buttigieg - ETU organiser
With assistance from ETU organisers, Jamie built a winning case for backpay.
The outcome was payments averaging $10,000 for affected lineworkers, electricians and cable jointers.
Jamie, a lineworker at Oatley depot, said the episode demonstrates the value of union membership.
‘Credit to Ausgrid for doing the right thing in the end, but it was ETU support that got us there’
Last week ETU overhead delegates from across Ausgrid met with management in a bid to come up with a safer system of work to deal with the workplace hazard of Post A (private) poles. The result of that meeting was a modified tool box talk which addresses our outstanding concerns and covers the new procedure as well as the introduction of an iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template created to enable a proper hazard assessment of Post A Poles. The ETU through our delegates is now satisfied that these two processes if followed correctly, will control the hazard. As a result of these improvements agreed to by Ausgrid; The Safety Ban on working on Post A Poles is now lifted subject to the following;
- Work can only occur on Post A pole after you have received the latest tool box talk and the associated instructions and understood them.
- The iAuditor pole assessment work instruction template must be used by all staff to assess the condition of private A poles prior to commencing work.
The meeting last week also discussed longer term solutions to problems identified which need to be developed including;
- Improved Training requirements, scheduling and methods for delivery of training (classroom or in field)
- Pre-inspection of poles during the planning phase
- An on-going review and monitoring of Field Services A Pole inspection template (work instruction) on iAuditor
The ETU and Ausgrid have also committed to discuss private A pole specifications with members of the appropriate regulatory committees that are responsible for making representation on Ausgrid's behalf for asset issues affecting NSW Service and Installation Rules and application Australian Standards. These discussions will include making representations for the standards to insist on private poles being made of a material which is not subject to the corrosion that a steel pole is.
0417 208 447
Following urgent discussions with Ausgrid management this afternoon the ETU has agreed that work on Post A private poles can only proceed where an elevated work platform (EWP) is used. In circumstances where an EWP is used to perform work on Post A private poles all Ausgrid procedures relating to work on Post A private poles should be followed.
THE BAN ON CLIMBING POST A PRIVATE POLES REMAINS IN PLACE AND NO ETU MEMBERS SHOULD CLIMB POST A PRIVATE POLES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
If any members have doubts, questions or concerns relating to the use of EWP’s for Post A private pole work or the climbing ban you should immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser Anthony O’Sullivan (0429 429 234).
The ETU has been made aware of an incident that occurred yesterday where a Post A private pole collapsed whilst an Ausgrid employee was climbing the pole. This incident has resulted in the hospitalisation of the employee.
The union has always opposed the climbing of Post A poles due to the uncertainty of their installation and the inability to fully test the poles integrity. For that reason the ETU has moved this morning to ban all work on Post A private poles until an investigation has been undertaken and corrective action agreed to.
If any members have doubts, questions or concerns relating to this work ban you should immediately contact your workplace delegate or ETU organiser Anthony O’Sullivan (0429 429 234).
Come and join us on Thursday 14 June for pizza and beer and to talk about issues affecting electrical apprentices in the work place.
Come along and meet Tara Koot, the ETU's apprentice officer, have your say and meet other like minded electrical apprentices.
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