Controlling Inventory Securely and Efficiently
Innovation and Sustainability Highlighted in Construction Projects
It’s Back to the Future With Trams
Latest and Greatest Blackwoods Catalogue Out Now
Ashes Whitewash - Howzat!
JBS Celebrates 21 Years of Success
Preventing and Fighting Industrial Fires
Academy Offers Indigenous Children Tools for Life
Sustainability Influences Building and Construction Projects
Bottled Water with a Vital Objective
NMFC Grand Final Breakfast
Chevron Quarantine Program
Fred Hollows Update
Safety in the Workplace
Top Marks For A Top Team
Blackwoods Sustainability
Blackwoods Enters Indonesia
Major JBS Tools prize announced
Women In Industry
Is your work site really safe?
Sparks still fly as welder turns artist
Keeping workers healthy, happy and productive

Controlling Inventory Securely and Efficiently

Controlling Inventory Securely and Efficiently

The latest vending machine systems offer companies a cost effective way to distribute fast moving PPE and MRO consumables in the workplace.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2014

Traditionally, the dispensing and control of items such as MRO (Maintenance Repair Operation) supplies, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) items, spare parts and other indirect materials used in day-to-day operations has been through a traditional store, however today there are many other alternatives.

Increasingly technology is being utilised to automate and control inhouse distribution of these items, with Blackwoods now offering a broad range of solutions; from a variety of standard vendingmachine stock dispensers, through to sophisticated RFID tracking systems.

Craige Bradford, Blackwoods National Manager for Business Services, explains that these electronic solutions offer a wide range of benefits, including increased monitoring via authorisation levels, stock and access limits, consistent product availability and the ability for the stock to be located where usage occurs.

“These systems also offer companies significant cost saving opportunities in inventory management and increased accuracy.”

Bradford said the key benefits are controlling usage and accountability.

“With employees required to scan in to the machine before gaining access to the stock, the computer tracks exactly what they have taken, the quantity, and at what time the transaction took place.”

He said the vending machines can have a positive influence on the behaviour of employees with regard to utilising products from the stores.

“Already we have a number of companies in industries such as mining, aerospace and manufacturing taking advantage of these machines,” he said. Bradford explained that while demand is coming from larger customers at the moment, he said the systems are suitable for any size company that uses high volumes of consumable items and is looking to control usage, avoid waste, hoarding and generally increase efficiency.

“Surprisingly, we have found that many of our larger customers struggle to control their inventory management processes, often providing employees with open access to a whole range of products,” he said.

As a consequence, he says, they have limited visibility of what is going out of the door, who it’s going to, which section of their business is using these products, and when replenishment is required.

“However, with these types of solutions our customers gain full visibility of where usage is occurring going and who is utilising it.”

He said that as well as assisting customers to control their usage and eliminate waste, vending systems are also suitable for customers who are looking to build specific product compliance with their employees.

“We now have a whole range of vending solutions for our customers. It all depends on what is the best fit for them; whether they are looking for high security or more usability where employees have access to a broader range of products with shorter issue time frames.”

As Bradford pointed out, every business has security level requirements for their inventory. “Whether a company requires basic storage and identification so items can be inventoried quickly, low security to control the distribution of inventory, or maximum security for highaccountability tool control among users, we now offer customised storage solutions that provide the proper level of security for any operation.

“For example, we have systems that use RFID technology to monitor and track tool movement when positive tool control is critical.”

He explained that the range of machines goes from the basic “coil” type of vending machine, “which is great for PPE items”, right through to Weigh Station solutions which are typically larger machines with bins and weigh scale technology that measure the quantity of items taken.

He said the machines use sophisticated technology, which can manage consumables, durables, serialised items, kits and assemblies in a completely passive device.

“Using ultra-sensitive, highly accurate scale and bin technology, these machines can be used for easy fast dispensing, and replenishment of bulk items, with no repackaging or tagging required.

“They are also fully configurable for large and small items with up to 140 bins,” he said.

Bradford explained that Blackwoods has partnered with US storage systems and technology provider Cribmaster to offer customers this service solution.

“Cribmaster has the widest range of machines on the market and are supported by sophisticated software packages that can provide over 200 standard reports, plus reports can be tailored to suit individual customer needs.”

“These machines are ideal for all fast moving consumables, and we have a solution to suit almost every product,” he said.

Bradford said the systems are very popular with companies looking to adopt Lean principles within their processes, as they are taking the goods out of the store and positioning them close to the actual point of use.

“In a traditional situation, a person may have to walk to a store room, have a bit of a chat with the storeperson while he is issuing stock, then walk back to his work station.

“From a lean perspective, they might have wasted some time in that whole process, but with these vending machines located at the point of use, a lot of that time is saved and productivity increases.” Bradford also pointed out that with access to these machines normally 24/7, there is the ability to dispense fast moving products after hours.

“The procurement and replenishment processes are also automated with these machines. For example, as a person is taking items out of the machine, the software sends a notice to the relevant servicing branch, which in turn generates a picking slip to replenishment the goods.”

As Bradford explained, this takes away the need for the customer to generate any purchase orders, making the process very efficient and offering productivity improvements.

“We can even provide on-site services to replenish the machines through our own site facilitators,” he said.

Happy customers
Bradford said the machines are very popular with several of Blackwoods national multi-site customers, with the software able to give them a clear consolidated view of what is going through these machines at all their operations.

“For example, a large mining company, which recently rolled these machines out across a number of remote sites, is now able to draw data from everyone of those machines and see what the usage analysis is from each of their operations across the country.”

He said that by utilising the same brand of machine and software, the customer can see who is using what products and how many from one central point in their organisation.

Another large company taking advantage of these latest vending machines is Jetstar, who has recently installed one at its light engineering facility on the edge of Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport.

Ben Knabe, Light Maintenance Manager at Jetstar Engineering, explained that the facility is a large wide-bodied hanger where the airline does all its light maintenance work on its Boeing 787 and Airbus A320 family aircraft.

“The vending system enables us to offer the free issue of all our PPE items, including safety glasses and gloves, plus our regular high use items, such as batteries and tape, to all our staff.

“With this system we can ensure accurate inventory lists,” Knabe said.

He said that previously a lot of these items were available for staff to just take from the shelf.

“The problem was our computer system would often think some were still there, when in fact there was none.”

And with safety a key focus for Jetstar, Knabe said he needed to make sure PPE is always there, and the guys are using it.

“So rather than having to make sure that every piece of PPE they need is booked out of the stores, the guys can simply go and help themselves.

“Now, when an engineer needs PPE or some batteries for his torch, we always have stock for him to use.”

With the Jetstar facility operating 24/7, Knabe said it is important engineers always have access to the system.

“Now they can access the items they need very quickly, without any interaction with a storeman or anything like that.

“With the industry we are in, where a lot of guys can get hurt, having the PPE available all the time is very important, while another benefit, but to a lesser extent, is governance,” he said.

“If an engineer removes a large volume of an item, I could see it on the system and have a little chat to him to see why.”

He said another secondary benefit is pre-approved purchase orders, which cuts out a lot of time for Jetstar’s purchasing department.

“Plus as the system becomes more mature we will be able to see consumable averages per aircraft, and we can budget for that. And for all these items, we have no interaction with our purchasing department at all,” Knabe said.

While the vending system has only been in use for a relatively short period, Knabe said he is very pleased with the system and the service.

“The guys at Blackwoods and Cribmaster have been fantastic; they are great companies to deal with. The installation process went quite seamlessly,” Knabe said.

He said he would recommend the vending machines to other companies.

v “It’s a really good bit of kit,” Knabe concluded.

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Innovation and Sustainability Highlighted in Construction Projects

Innovation and Sustainability Highlighted in Construction Projects

Energy efficiency, smart materials and sustainability are key factors motivating construction companies as they seek to design user-friendly and innovative buildings.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2014

With the highest concentration of Green Star-rated buildings in the country, Melbourne’s Victoria Harbour has emerged as one of the most sustainable precincts in Australia.

While the Dockland’s Victoria Harbour precinct is fast becoming the location of choice for some of our nation’s best known brands, until now the Green Star benefits and rewards have been most often associated with big name players with big budgets to match.

However, the Stable Group and Lend Lease have bucked this trend, introducing Australia’s first 5 Star Green Star – Office Design v3 rated strata title office into the Victoria Harbour precinct.

The “Lifestyle Working Collins Street” commercial office building has been designed to enable small businesses reap the benefits frequently enjoyed by larger organisations occupying big tenancies.

Here, shared meeting rooms and collaborative spaces, leading-edge voice and data technology and sustainable building features can be enjoyed by small business owners. According to Stable Properties’ Group Chairman, Ed Horton, the Lifestyle Working concept is an equitable response to the demands for commercial buildings to be genuinely sustainable, and in-step with contemporary community and business expectations.

“And as work practices and work places are redefined a new standard in modern office buildings is emerging,” he said.

Clearing the air
Small businesses and sole traders often have limited ability to influence Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) within their retail or office tenancies. In fact, many businesses rely on inefficient airconditioning solutions designed for residential use, or out-dated whole-of-building solutions that are operated without considering the individual’s needs or use of their tenancy.

Similarly, small businesses are often forced, through leasing conditions or financial necessity, to use existing fitout components that were not installed with occupant health and wellbeing in mind, such as carpets, paints and furnishings that emit harmful chemicals and contribute to ‘sick building’ symptoms.

Instead, the design of the Lifestyle Working Collins Street building prioritises the health and comfort of building users, with a focus on optimising thermalcomfort conditions, air quality, acoustics and lighting.

“Choice and flexibility are hallmarks of the Lifestyle Working concept - how we work, where we work, when we work and how we manage and control our environment,” said Horton.

Occupants have the option to engage their own cost-effective Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) air-conditioning unit within the space, or increase the fresh air to their work area through operable louvered windows.

This is designed to help people regulate the temperature of their own workspace, but also significantly reduce tenants’ reliance on mechanical airconditioning systems with their associated energy costs and emissions.

“Passive solutions to indoor air quality management have a financial benefit to building occupants and also empower them to better manage how they control the quality of their air temperature and comfort levels,” Horton said.

Lifestyle Working’s design gained all available points under the Green Star ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ and ‘Formaldehyde Minimisation’ credits through the selection of low or zero off-gassing paints, carpets, adhesives and wood products and materials.

Energy efficiency
Lifestyle Working’s design incorporates a number of energyefficient features that will not only reduce the building’s greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on grid energy, but will also help to reduce utility and owners’ corporation costs for both tenants and owners.

The installation of efficient T5 and LED lighting, electrical sub-metering, motion and daylight sensors will decrease energy-use across the building. As well, Photovoltaic (PV) array systems have been installed to serve the base building and strata offices with clean solar energy.

The base building’s PV system allows renewable energy to complement the grid supply for Lifestyle Working’s common area uses, with separate ‘Solar Lots’, as they are known at Lifestyle Working, also available for purchase.

Setting a precedent for commercial buildings, these stratatitled Solar Lots will supply clean solar energy to individual suites, reducing the environmental impact and energy bills for Lifestyle Working occupants – a first of its kind, allowing individual office tenants to be wholly or partly selfsufficient when it comes to energy during daylight hours.

“All of our usable roof area of some 2,000 square metres is dedicated to our ‘City Solar Farm’. The system is designed to supply as much as all the base building energy needs during daylight hours,” Horton said.

Water-wise technology
Lifestyle Working joins other Green Star buildings around Victoria Harbour in prioritising water-use reduction.

High-efficiency 4 Star WELSrated dual flush toilets, waterless urinals and 5 Star WELS-rated tapware reduce the amount of water consumed at Lifestyle Working each day.

Rainwater is collected and stored onsite in a 45,000L tank, and then used for non-potable uses such as landscape irrigation and toilet flushing. Vegetable oil-based waterless urinals further reduce water consumption.

Based on Australian Bureau of Meteorology data for rainfall in the Melbourne area over the last decade, it is estimated that Lifestyle Working’s rainwater harvesting system will collect more than 1.3 million litres of rainwater for reuse across the building each year.

The future
The central location and proximity to a range of public and lowemissions transport options - including buses, trams and bike paths - is also helping to reduce Lifestyle Working’s environmental impact.

Horton explained that to be genuinely sustainable, office buildings need to support a reduced reliance on the motor car.

“They need to be well-located in relation to good public transport nodes and have sufficient parking for customers and clients of tenants and owners.”

However, designed to encourage tenants to leave their cars at home, the building has no dedicated car parking. This scored Lifestyle Working full points under the Green Star ‘Provision of Car Parking’ credit.

Instead, tenants have free use of shared electric motor scooters, which are charged from solar energy, during business hours.

Innovation in SA
But innovative design is not restricted to Melbourne. For example, in Adelaide the recently completed Wayville Station project highlights what can be achieved with ‘smart’ thinking.

The project involved the design and construction of a new railway station to replace the old Keswick Station and the temporary Showgrounds platform constructed each year for the Royal Adelaide Show.

The new station provides a safe transport infrastructure facility that is functional and encourages use of trains by public transport commuters and the general public. The station services the Seaford up and down tracks along with the bi-directional Belair Line and includes two 160m long platforms within the existing rail cutting on the south western corner of the Adelaide CBD.

The platforms are covered by a 120m long raking canopy roof. A pedestrian overpass bridge spans the rail cutting, which also includes the interstate ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) line to provide access to the centre platform from both the eastern and western approaches.

A combination of elevated ramps and stairs provide access to the pedestrian overpass with stairs and a fully glazed lift accessing the centre platform.

The scope of work included bulk earthworks and pavements, retaining walls, platform and structural concrete, passenger information and CCTV/security services, earthing and bonding, fencing, lighting and electrical services.

The Wayville Station overpass pedestrian bridge was a complex structure – its highly architectural twisted design was unlike any bridge constructed by McConnell Dowell previously. In order to marry the complex design with construction, the team held weekly meetings with designers and modellers.

The 52m overpass bridge is constructed from thirteen 5.3m2 square box truss modules, which twist through 9degs between each portal. This results in the overpass portals rotating through 90deg across the length of the bridge.

The steel bridge was fabricated offsite in Bowhill, South Australia and transported to site in modules that complied with transport regulations, where it was preassembled on site prior to erection.

This included bolting and tensioning the module connections along with installation of secondary steelwork, cladding, Bondek flooring and underfloor drainage to minimize the amount of work over live rail.

The bridge was assembled in two sections either side of the rail corridor weighing 35 tonne (east) and 50t (west) for erection with a 350t hydraulic crane – the largest crane available in South Australia.

To mitigate the delays caused by inclement weather, the delivery team worked through weekends and at night – meaning that up to 10,000 people could use the platform each day during the 10 days of the event.

A heatwave during January 2014, followed by the wettest February in 40 years, also resulted in night shifts in order to meet the program.

Electrification of the passenger train line from June – October 2013 reduced the numbers of trains travelling through the rail corridor but ARTC freight trains were still operational throughout the project duration.

This movement required safety measures including scaffolding protection on the platform and track protection for construction activities.

The project required the closure of a shared-use path, but cyclists and pedestrians were detoured through the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds to avoid them travelling on the highly trafficked Goodwood Road or Anzac Highway, which increased safety and also allowed for a higher average speed with less congestion.

The project team were required to interface with a track laying joint venture, as well as signalling and electrification contractors. This was managed successfully by weekly interface meetings (and further meetings as required) with the asset owners, passenger transport authorities and all contractors.

The station canopy, overpass and approaches feature LED lighting – the first time it has been used in a public infrastructure project in South Australia. The project will provide a test case for whole-of-life cost benefits and environmental outcomes from this lighting.

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It’s Back to the Future With Trams

It’s Back to the Future With Trams

Modern day trams (light rail vehicles) are making a strong resurgence in Australian cities and all around the world, being both user and environmentally friendly.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2014

With our cities becoming increasingly clogged and polluted with an ever growing number of cars and buses on our roads, transport authorities are increasingly turning their attention to light rail systems as the preferred method of public transport.

A decade or two ago, the mention of trams in Australia was often limited to conversations about getting around the centre of Melbourne. But today the humble tram, now called light rail in all states, except in Victoria, is in a state of renaissance, both here and around the world.

At present most Australian state and territory governments are at varying stages of introducing, or re-introducing, light rail to their major cities.

Emma Woods, Urban Policy Manager with the Australasian Railway Association, says it’s easy to see the attraction of light rail to governments and transport bodies.

“It’s one of the most ecologically sound modes of transport; moving large numbers of people, easing congestion on roads and reducing air pollution,” she said.

“Light rail can obviously move much larger numbers than cars and buses. For example one tram can transport 10,000 people in one single lane of traffic in an hour compared to 800 to 900 cars or 140 buses.

“So in terms of tackling road congestion and moving our growing population, light rail is well placed as a long term solution,” Woods said.

“And in terms of energy and the environment, it has the ability to produce zero local emissions, and zero emissions altogether when using renewable energy sources.”

She says light rail ticks all the boxes, and is why we are seeing a strong resurgence in light rail in Australia, and all around the world. “Light rail also plays a major role in urban regeneration. It’s a funny thing, but people seem to be more open to travelling by light rail and that tends to regenerate urban areas, with coffee shops, stores and cafes opening on the route.

“The existence of a fixed route gives people confidence in the robustness and long-term future of the system, allowing them to rely on it and build their lifestyles around it. A bus route can be cancelled at any time, but a tramline is far less likely to close down.

She said light rail is being heralded world-wide for its urban regeneration and revitalisation abilities which often result in the “beautification” of the region the system operates within, leading to transit-oriented developments, increased density and improved real estate values.

“The future of light rail is very bright and very much on the agenda as the way of the future. Not only here in Australia, but in cities all around the world,” Woods said.

Research by the ARA (Australian Rail Association) reveals cars are a significant cause of global greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution.

Transport is said to contribute 14% of Australia’s total greenhouse gases, with 90% of that generated by private vehicles. Cars produce significant amounts of carbon monoxide and smog, causing pollution that reduces the local air quality. In fact, cars produce seven times the greenhouse gases of light rail per passenger kilometre, with light rail producing little to no local air pollution.

For example in Canada, Ottawa’s Light Rail system is estimated that it will save the city 10 million litres of diesel a year by replacing buses with electric light rail and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 94,000 tonnes in 2031 – the equivalent of planting 9.4 million trees.

Terminology: is it a tram or light rail?
According Woods, a tram system, such as Melbourne, is integrated within the road network meaning the trams move with the road traffic whereas the newer/more modern systems, referred to as light rail, are completely segregated from the road network providing priority right-ofway and allowing light rail systems to maintain higher running speeds.

Tram systems, like Melbourne’s, implement techniques such as traffic light prioritisation for the tram network as a means to increase the flow and therefore speed of tram.

Woods says today’s light rail technology has made major advances over the years making the system far more user and environmentally friendly in terms of being much quieter and more efficient.

“The modern trams are far quieter than older technology trams, with many of today’s light rail vehicles almost silent.

“In fact from a safety perspective, the industry is working at ways to make sure people are aware of the light rail in pedestrian areas.

“There is however an issue of distraction with people walking along with headphones or on the phone. With technology advances, the trams can almost sneak up on people if they are not aware.”

Woods said that as well as being very quiet and efficient, they are also very accessible, especially for people with disabilities.

“The modern trams have flat low floors that are fully accessible for people in wheelchairs or with luggage and prams unlike buses with steps to get into and some of the older train stations, which are a challenge.

“And unlike buses, trams give off no exhaust emissions at point of use.”

She also said, unlike busses, the steel wheels on steel track used by trams creates about one-seventh as much friction as rubber tyres on bitumen, thus creating dramatically less pollution when carrying the same load.

Interestingly, research shows the noise of trams is generally perceived to be less disturbing, compared to buses. Plus passenger comfort is normally superior too because of controlled acceleration and braking and curve easement.

And because trams run on rails, the ride is said to be far more comfortable than that of a rubber-tyred bus, with blemishes in the road surface less noticeable.

Woods explained that there are a variety of drive systems available, though most cities use the overhead wires with a pantograph on the trams.

“But there are drive systems with no overhead wires at all, where the trams are re-charged via wires in the ground while stopped at a station or while they are in motion,” Woods said. (See Around the Globe below)

Helen Witton, from Public Transport Victoria, said there has been a range of advancements in the design of the latest trams used in Melbourne.

“The new E-Class fleet include advanced features, such as improvements in the accessibility of trams and equipment placement, much greater capacity, air-conditioning for both the passengers and driver, on board passenger information systems, internal and external CCTV, and there have been improvements in the light rail bogie design, leading to improved ride and reduced noise.

“And to make them more environmentally friendly there has been a general improvement in the efficiency of on-tram systems and electronics.”

Witton also said there had also been major advances in rail technology.

“In Melbourne we use a number of different track structure types across the tram network, including ballasted track, concrete embedded track and embedded track using resilient rail.

“Today, there are a number of techniques for welding the rails, but the most common type of welding rail joints is called the “Kirby joint” method. This method uses traditional electric arc welding with stick electrodes, and has been in use for many decades.

“Where rails can be welded together in a workshop or when installing new rails in the field a “flash butt weld” is often used, which entails using a large machine to undertake the welding by using electric current and fusing the two rails together.

“Another technique in use is what is termed “thermit welding”, which uses an aluthermic process of heating two rails to a predetermined temperature and then igniting a mixture of metal powder containing steel and aluminium and other alloys.

“This then becomes a molten liquid, which is poured into a sand mould around the rail and allowed to cool before being ground,” Witton said.

End of buses?
Woods says an integrated multimodal public transport system is essential to meet the needs of a growing city.

“Buses will always remain, so that we have inter-modal transport systems.

“It’s about restructuring transport systems so the busses act as feeder services into the light and heavy rail services.

“For instance in Lyon, in the South of France, when the transport company took over operation of the bus, light rail and subway system they actually wiped the bus network and started it again.

“They re-established the bus network as a feeder service into the light rail network as a result they increased the patronage by 6%. “Making sure we have these integrated inter-modal systems is vital to meet the growing needs of our cities,” Woods said.

In Sydney
Woods said Sydney’s move to re invest in light rail is not uncommon.

“It’s happening all around the world. A lot of cities are re-investing in light rail,” she said.

History shows that in the early 1900’s, Sydney’s tramway network was the largest in Australia and the second largest in the Commonwealth, after London.

It was extremely intensively patronised, with about 1,600 cars in service at any one time at its peak during the 1930s, compared to fewer than 500 trams in Melbourne today.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, an average of more than one tram journey per day was made in Sydney by every man and woman, infant and child in the city.

“Trams were the ‘hot’ mode of transport, but then with the advent of the car and bus, Sydney like many cities moved away from the tram to start investing in buses.

“However we are now at a point where many of our cities are becoming congested. For example, Sydney’s George Street is more like a car park most days. Hence the move to light rail,” Woods said.

“In 1997, a light rail line was re-introduced between Central and Lilyfield. It presently transports 4.3 million people each year, with a 5.6km extension recently opened taking the line out to Dulwich Hill.

“The new inner west extension includes nine new stations and four new-look light rail vehicles.

“In addition to this, Sydney is also planning to construct a light rail line from Circular Quay, up George Street to Central Station, Kingsford and Randwick,” Woods added.

A spokesman for NSW Transport said the new generation of light rail vehicles are more environmentally friendly, more accessible and less noisy than previous vehicles.

“The latest light rail vehicles (LRVs) are produced by Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) and feature a number of environmental iniatives.

“The LRVs utilise regenerative braking where the energy that is created as the vehicles brakes is fed back into the network, making them more energy efficient.

“The vehicles are also capable of having on-board battery storage systems so that parts of the network can be wire free. (See Around the Globe below.)

“A key feature of the CBD and South East Light Rail project is a pedestrian zone in George Street from Bathurst Street to Hunter Street, with LRVs operating wire–free in this zone, except for overhead wires at stops used for charging the LRVs.”

“And to make them more energy efficient, the new generation of LRVs have become much lighter over time, plus they have more components that can be recycled,” he said.

“From a customer comfort perspective, they are all air conditioned, plus the low-floor vehicles, together with the new DDAcompliant light rail stops, result in a more accessible transport system overall.

“To provide a smooth running surface and lower noise levels, the rail along the Inner West Light Rail Extension has been continuously welded.

“Ballast tamping (compacting the crushed rock the rail sits on) and rail grinding is also undertaken to minimise shifting of the rails.

“This process provides a smooth and quiet ride for customers, reduces operating noise for residents, minimises need for track repairs and maximises the longevity of the rail,” he said.

In Melbourne
Operational since 1884, Melbourne’s 250km tram network is today the largest in the world, operating 487 trams and providing 31,500 services each week. In 2011-12, the network recorded 191.6 million boardings.

However, 80% of Melbourne’s tram network shares road space with other vehicles, as a result, trams compete with road traffic, slowing the average speed of the trams to 16km/h and as low as 11km/h within the central business district.

To improve the network speed and therefore capacity and service offering, the operator, Yarra Trams, plans to change the system from a tram network, operational within the road network, to move it to a light rail network.

“This means the light rail network will be segregated from the road network and have traffic light prioritisation and various other techniques to increase its speed,” Woods said.

As part of the Victorian Government’s $800m Tram Procurement Program, the Route 96 Project is being developed to provide an opportunity to explore how a light rail could work to suit Melbourne conditions.

Route 96 is one of Melbourne’s busiest tram routes operating along a 14km corridor from Blyth Street in East Brunswick in the north, through the CBD to Acland Street, St Kilda, in the south.

It has been selected as the first route to run the new low-floor trams being built in Dandenong as part of the tram upgrade program. The Flexity Swift 100% lowfloor vehicles can accommodate 210 passengers. They are 33m long, 2.65m wide and are equipped with rotating bogies to handle tight turns, reducing wear and tear of wheels and tracks and to ensure a smooth ride.

On the Gold Coast
To overcome increasing congestion on its local road network, Woods said Queensland’s Gold Coast is already investing in a light rail line, and is currently under construction.

“Set to be operational by later this year, the completed line will see 14 bi-directional trams, each carrying up to 309 passengers (80 seated, 229 standing) travelling at speeds of up to 70km/hr, and completing the 13km journey in 37 minutes.”

She said the project has been funded through a PPP that includes federal, state and local council funding.

“Although it was met with some opposition during the early stages of construction, locals are now calling for phase two of the line to be approved,” she said.

The operator of the light rail line, GoldLinQ, says the Gold Coast’s growing population is causing increasing congestion on its local road network.

A spokeswoman for GoldLinQ said Stage One of the Gold Coast light rail system will generate a number of social, environmental and economic benefits for the city including reducing local greenhouse gas emission by 114,000 tonnes over the first 10 years of operation.

As TecTorque goes to print, the final tram has arrived from Germany to complete the 14-tram fleet, with testing and driver training now occurring along the full length of the 13-kilometre route.

Other Australian cities
Woods said most other Australian cities have plans to invest in light rail systems.

“While Adelaide already has a successful light rail line, Perth has a proposal for the Metro Area Express (MAX) Light Rail project.

“And in NSW, the State Government is proposing a light rail system in Newcastle to replace the heavy rail line running through the centre of the city.

“While in Tasmania, the authorities in Hobart are planning to use an existing freight line, which is no longer used, for its light rail line.” She said it could potentially go out to the famous Mona art gallery.

“As well, the ACT Government is also looking at building a light rail network, which was a state election promise.”

Woods mentioned that even the Darwin mayor has been talking about a light rail system, but she was not sure of the details.

Around the globe
In the last 20 years multiple cities around the globe have introduced or re-introduced light rail systems.

According to the International Union of Railways, approximately 400 light rail systems currently operate worldwide, with an additional 60 under construction and more than 200 are under consideration.

France is said to lead the way in light rail technology, with the system installed in the UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux often used as an example of what can be achieved.

Bordeaux was the first city in the world to utilise Alstom’s APS catenary-free power-supply system in 2003.

The APS ground-level power supply system allows trams to travel without overhead catenaries. The Citadis trams are powered by a third rail in the city centre, where the tracks are not always segregated from pedestrians and cars.

The third rail (actually two closely spaced rails) is placed in the middle of the track and divided into eight-metre sections, each of which is powered only while it is completely covered by a tram.

This minimises the risk of a person or animal coming into contact with a live rail. In outer areas, the trams switch to conventional overhead wires. However, the Bordeaux power system costs about three times as much as a conventional overhead wire system, and took 24 months to achieve acceptable levels of reliability. Also operating and maintenance costs of the innovative power system still remain high.

But despite numerous service outages, the system is a success with the public, gaining up to 190,000 passengers per day.

Since its launch, five other cities have selected the APS system and will be used on a part or all of the tram lines currently under construction in Orleans, Reims and Angers in France, as well as future lines in Brasilia, Brazil and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Woods says the Luas Light Rail system used Dublin, Ireland is a good example of how light rail was used to get people out of their cars and onto public transport.

“The key goal, being modal shift, was successfully achieved,” she said.

In 2004, the Government opened two light rail lines, with extensions implemented in 2009, 2010 and 2011, plus work on an additional seven-kilometre line in progress.

Woods said the system has also been a catalyst for urban regeneration in the surrounding areas, with increased density in the form of infill development providing activity and surveillance in areas that have been prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

Studies indicated that those properties within a five-minute walk of a Luas station have seen higher increases in value than other comparable properties with no immediate access to the tram system.

Closer to Australia, the Seoul city government has announced plans to build a nine-line light rail system over the next decade to restructure the South Korean capital’s transport and promote mass transit in the growing megacity.

Under the plan, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will create a 85km network of nine lines to connect suburban areas and form links with the city’s increasingly congested downtown area.

City officials believe the project is economically viable, expecting 10,000 passengers per day on the new system, and increasing city public transport coverage from 64% to 75%.

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Latest and Greatest Blackwoods Catalogue Out Now

Latest and Greatest Blackwoods Catalogue Out Now

The new Blackwoods 20th Edition catalogue sets the benchmark that other manuals aspire to, being as much a reference guide as it is a workplace product catalogue, so make sure you get yourself a copy.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2014

Still the number one catalogue for all industry’s needs, the new Blackwoods 20th Edition Catalogue is packed full with thousands upon thousands of industrial, safety, and workplace essentials and equipment from local and international suppliers, and your copy has just arrived.

Offering many types of industries all their workplace needs from a single source, the comprehensive publication is much more than just a catalogue, within its over 2,000 full colour pages is comprehensive technical product information, specifications and features plus safety tips, handy hints, product insights, technical information, specification charts and reminders of related or complementary products.

Over the decades, the Blackwoods catalogue has become an iconic resource for procurement in all sorts of industries such as manufacturing, maintenance, transport, oil and gas, construction, telecommunications, resources and mining, all levels of government supply as well as many small and medium sized businesses across Australia.

Tom McShane, Blackwoods’ Catalogue Manager, says customers still regard the catalogue as the most comprehensive technical journal of its type.

“At Blackwoods, the catalogue team swells to up to 20 people during the project, all working to put the catalogue together and to ensure it retains its iconic status and value.

“This gives us the ability to reach out to every one of our current product suppliers and also new ones, and involve them in the development, breadth of range and improvement of the content of the catalogue,” McShane explained.

“We endeavour to get as many features and benefits in the catalogue as we can, as well as specifications and standards information so that customers can compare and select the best product for their particular application.

“For example, within the catalogue we are able to explain to the user the difference between one power drill and the dozens others that are available from that supplier.

“Plus we are able to explain the difference between those drills and the power drills which are available from the other big brands of power tools in Australia,” he said.

“Instead of the user having to search other sources of information, or having to Google the products, our customers are able to get a comprehensive sense of what a product is, what it can do and which is the most suitable product for the task, simply by flicking through the catalogue.”

“We aim to get the information so comprehensive that the catalogue is the single source information for all these products. It’s all about value adding for our customers,” he said.

What’s new?
This latest catalogue, the 20th edition, includes an increased number of parts, with 25% either updated or new products from the previous edition, featuring over 400 local and the worlds’ leading manufacturers and suppliers with over 750 leading brands.

Broken down to 32 chapters, with a 68 page index to find products fast, this issue also includes some of the very latest products and technologies that have only just been released onto the market.

McShane says users will be able to research via the catalogue and have access to new technology straight away.

“We also have hundreds of safety tips within the catalogue. For example, if we are talking about abrasives, and maybe using an abrasive pad on an angle grinder, within that section we include safety tips on what the user should look out for, and tips on how to use that angle grinder most efficiently and safely.

“The catalogue has so much valuable information in there, for example, an apprentice who is relatively new to the power transmission field can get a really good sense of how the machinery is working, simply by looking through all the product information we have.

“Or it could be an employee who has been asked to pump some water out of a flooded area. They can look through the catalogue and see all the different pumps available, and get a sense of which is the best type of pump to use, and supported by our technical sales team if the customer needs advice,” McShane explained. For users who have smart phones or tablets with a QR reader, there a number of QR codes throughout the preliminary sections so users can scan for further information. Plus Blackwoods will soon release a catalogue App, which is tablet and phone compatible.

Downloadable from iTunes and Google Play, it allows users to download the pages of the catalogue as viewed with links to the Blackwoods website. The App also features a Blackwoods store location finder.

Demand for print
While Blackwoods use electronic communications comprehensively throughout the organisation, and in providing information to customers demand remains strong for the traditional printed Blackwoods catalogue. McShane says the catalogue still plays an important role within the workplace.

“Obviously the trend is for many companies to use our on-line service, but when we speak to our customers they say there are roles and locations where they still need this book. He says there are a couple of reasons for this demand.

“For example, not all workers on the shop floor have access to a computer, but with this catalogue they can quickly look up what they need straight away.

“Then of course there are many remote sites that are off-line that just don’t have Wi-Fi or computer access.

“So with the catalogue, we are providing them a tool that can be used anywhere at any time, and that includes many of our multi-national customers who have remote mine sites, for example. They need the book,” McShane said.

As with all of Blackwoods activities, sustainability and potential impact on the environment is always front of mind, and the catalogue is no exception. “We are proud to report that the production of our latest catalogue continues to reflect the importance we place on sustainability and our impact on the environment.”

“The Blackwoods 20th Edition Catalogue is printed in Australia using only FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) approved paper and this, together with the integration of our ‘Greener Workplace Range’ into our core product range, reflects our commitment to worlds-best practice.

Products with environmentally preferable attributes now appear first in listings as well as being accompanied by the relevant icon.

McShane explained that FSC certification is MIX, meaning paper is sourced from responsible sources.

“It’s not just sustainably sourced wood, but it’s from a sustainable growth forestry, plus the ink used is sustainable vegetable ink,” he said.

McShane also pointed out that the shipping cardboard boxes are manufactured from postconsumer recycled fibre, plus the plastic wrap used is recyclable as is the shrink-wrapping used on the pallets.

Blackwoods Catalogue remains an iconic resource for purchasing, supply and sourcing for trade and industry. To view or request, simply click here , or call 13 73 23.

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Ashes Whitewash - Howzat!

Ashes Whitewash - Howzat!

This summer, the Australian Cricket Team produced one of the most amazing comebacks in recent sporting history. Winning back the Ashes with a 5-0 whitewash of England, Blackwoods Brand Ambassador Mitchell Johnson offers TecTorque readers an insight into what has changed of late.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2014

TecTorque: Welcome to TecTorque Mitch and congratulations on a magnificent summer both as a team and you personally, and topped off with by winning the Allan Border Medal for Australian Cricketer of the Year.

Johnson: Thanks, and thanks for the opportunity to be part of TecTorque. This summer has been a lot of fun for the team and from the feedback of people we have met around the country the spectators and fans have enjoyed it too.

The AB Medal was complete surprise and I was delighted to win it, and also to get the chance to publically acknowledge the role my wife, teammates and a whole bunch of people that played a part in helping me back into the Test team.

TecTorque: And being back in the team made you a target for the Barmy Army again?

Johnson: They are great supporters of their team and travel long distances to make themselves heard, it adds to the atmosphere at games and I think, despite copping some stick from them, they respect the fact we are giving our all for Australia.

TecTorque: Did the series result surprise you?

Johnson: We knew in England that things were beginning to come together and we agreed to continue to play aggressive, positive cricket and to work even harder.

We weren’t happy with the 0-3 scoreline in England, and it may not have been a true indication of the gap between the teams, but the signs were there that if we continued to improve we could win at home.

TecTorque: So did the team and you personally prepare differently for the Ashes at home?

Johnson: Some of the team played in the One Day Series in India and although a shorter form of the game we worked on things in preparation for the Tests at home.

I think fitness was a key issue in the series as there was a lot of bowling to do during a hot summer and our support team did a great job making sure we could back up, even with short turnaround between Tests.

TecTorque: And Australia kept the same bowling attack for each of the five tests?

Johnson: Yes, that was always our goal and the bowling attack shared the workload. It wasn’t just the quick bowlers either, Nathan Lyon was really important applying pressure, getting vital wickets, and allowing the fast bowlers to rotate in short bursts which worked very well.

TecTorque: You finished the series with 37 wickets. Did you have a number of wickets in mind before the series started?

Johnson: No, not really. I knew I had to play my part. It is the same with all of the bowlers, we would rather have won a test and taken no wickets, than take a bagful of wickets and lost the test.

Sometimes you can bowl well and not necessarily get the reward with wickets, and at other times things fall into place. It’s important to have a plan and work on it. And it is great when the plan works; otherwise the Captain and the team discuss things and may change something.

This series there was quite a few times when we made field changes and then bowled to them with success.

TecTorque: And what about the “Mo” it became as much of a talking points as the wickets you were taking?

Johnson: Yes, it was a lot of fun. I originally spoke to my wife Jess and she thought it was a good idea to support and highlight Movember and Men’s health.

After the first test win we didn’t want to change a thing and when the second Test came around in early December the Mo stayed, and remained part of the team until the end of the Fifth test in Sydney.

With the support of Cricket Australia and the public we were able to contribute over $40,000 to the Movember appeal.

TecTorque: And then Jess had the pleasure of shaving it off live on television; will it be back?

Johnson: At this stage… probably, I may grow it back for South Africa so let’s see.

TecTorque: You suffered a pretty serious foot injury a couple of seasons ago; did you ever doubt you could come back?

Johnson: No, I knew if I took time away from the game and did the rehab, and then built my fitness back up, that once I started bowling again I could be effective. A lot of people helped me through the injury and having the support of my wife Jess and our daughter Rubika at home made the hard work worthwhile.

TecTorque: Has marriage and fatherhood changed you at all?

Johnson: I am probably not the right person to ask, but it is great to share the highs and lows with people who are going through it with you.

I am lucky Jess is a sportsperson herself and so understands; sometime it is tough juggling travel and home life. Thanks goodness for technology which allows us to see and speak to each other wherever I am in the world, and she has her own business which also keeps her busy. TecTorque: Talking about keeping busy how did the relationship with Blackwoods develop.

Johnson: In 2006 Blackwoods was looking for someone to represent their business as a Brand Ambassador and contacted my Manager Sam Halvorsen when I was playing in Queensland. Sam discussed what role an Ambassador fills for the business with them and it is something I was keen to do. Blackwoods introduced a TAFE Award and I played a part in getting the message out to young tradespeople about safety and where to get their gear. It went from there and we are now in our 8th year of our partnership. TecTorque: Are there similarities between Blackwoods and what you do as a fast bowler?

Johnson: Apart from the obvious ones of speed, accuracy and teamwork, I think being resilient, and always giving 100% are important and they are things we share TecTorque: So are you regularly involved with Blackwoods?

Johnson: It is tough when I travel, but when in Australia I have visited a lot of Blackwoods branches, in every State, at new branch openings and at customer events.

For example, in mid January I got to meet the Blackwoods team in Sydney and really enjoyed it, and I think they did too…perhaps except for one or two pommies in the team!

I have met a lot of great people and I hope I have represented their brand well too. This year I will also be letting Blackwoods customers know what’s happening with our cricket via which will be fun and may even get to catch up with their New Zealand people as well.

TecTorque: Speaking about technology, are you a fan of the Decision Review System (DRS) where teams can ask for close decisions to be reviewed by a third umpire?

Johnson: If used correctly, and if it doesn’t slow the game too much, then I think anything that helps get decisions right is a good thing.

The umpires do a good job over a long period, and often have a split second to make a decision; I think they too want to get every decision right if they can.

TecTorque: Despite being at the top of your game right now, have you thought about what you may want to do when your days of bowling at 150kph are over?

Johnson: I hope it is at least a few years off, but when I stop playing cricket perhaps there may be opportunities around coaching the next generation of players, or in using my experiences in fitness, health , training, diet and rehabilitation to help not only athletes but individuals and businesses as well.

TecTorque: So what is on your plate for 2014?

Johnson: We are playing South Africa this year, they are ranked number one Test team in the world and we are playing them in South Africa.

This will be a big test for us and we want to continue improvement, play some good cricket and continue to build momentum. It won’t be easy for our bowlers and our batsmen but we are up for the challenge. We have the same bowling attack as we did for England, with some reinforcements as well.

And after South Africa I am hoping to play in the Indian Premier League, playing with and against guys from around the world that I have respected for years.

On the personal side we are building a new house so that will also keep me busy.

TecTorque: From all of us at Blackwoods, and also cricket fans everywhere, Good luck this year, congratulations on the Ashes success, the Allan Border Medal and also in entering the 8th year of your Blackwoods Ambassadorship.

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JBS Celebrates 21 Years of Success

JBS Celebrates 21 Years of Success

High quality tools and equipment at highly affordable prices are the keys to the continuing growth of the JBS brand in Australia’s industrial market.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2014

Rewind back to 1993, and only those closest to the industry would have noticed a small range of high quality sockets and spanners enter the Australian market under the JBS brand.

Today, a wide range of JBS products are recognised throughout industry as proven performers offering high quality tools and equipment at highly affordable prices.

Over the past 21 years, the JBS brand has grown and been extended into a diverse and comprehensive range in a number of new areas and product groups.

Craig Salmon, Global Source Brand Development Manager (Tools & Hardware) with Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety, says the range now contains over 3000 product lines, and is still growing.

“Today, the JBS brand covers a broad industrial range of six sub-segment sectors, which is spread across most of the Blackwoods product groups,” Salmon said.

He explained that the six sub-segments sectors are:

  • JBS Hand Tools, which includes tool kits, spanners, sockets, plumbing tools and torque equipment;
  • JBS Machine Tools, which includes machinery, air tools, compressors, drills and saws.
  • JBS Mechanical, which includes valves, clamps, special tools, and automotive equipment;
  • JBS Cutting and Grinding, which includes drills, knives, grinding wheels and abrasive products ;
  • JBS Welding and Accessories, which includes welders, consumables, welding wire and rods, welding accessories and engineering accessories and related parts; and
  • JBS Lifting and Storage, which includes lifting equipment, rigging, tool storage, ladders and materials handling equipment.

Salmon said the company is now looking to expand all six sub-segment sectors even further.

“For the JBS Welding and Accessories sub-segment sector for example, we are looking to include a range of machine tool accessories as well as significantly increasing our existing welding range.

“For the JBS Lifting and Storage sub-segment sector, there are plans to increase our focus on warehousing which already includes capital equipment such as pallet trucks, trolleys, chain blocks, ladders as well as a wide range of parts storage bins and containers.

“At the same time, the JBS Machine Tools range is growing to offer a complete workshop solution. In addition to the traditional range of bench grinders and drilling machines, JBS now offers a complete range of industrial air compressors in 240V, 415V, petrol and diesel in multiple configurations including the new under and over mining models.

“The range is now expanding to include geared head drilling machines, lathes, milling machines, garage presses, bandsaws and generators, all strongly positioned in the MRO/industrial segment sector.”

Salmon said by extending the JBS brand into a number of new areas and product groups this has seen differing positioning strategies employed to meet these new markets.

“The adoption of sub-segment branding enables JBS to tailor strategies and position products to meet differing market demands by providing a broad range of industrial products under the JBS umbrella,” he said.

Re-launched Website

Salmon recommends TecTorque readers to visit JBS’s re-launched website, saying it is now even more user-friendly and features a new livery backed by a suite of new marketing material.

“The new website and features reflect the quality and performance of JBS, plus we have an exciting range of merchandise to celebrate our 21 years.

“We will use the merchandise in promotions on the website and some of the apprentice programs we are involved with,” Salmon explained. He said the reason for JBS’s success is due to all the products in range being high quality products at very competitive prices.

“The products are not aimed at the mass market DIY segment, but for the professional who wants a quality product but still at a competitive price where JBS has built a strong reputation in the mining and manufacturing sectors.

“JBS provides a value for money alternative with no compromise on quality and durability.”

Salmon said JBS products are designed to help users get the job done quickly and efficiently.

“Users can buy JBS products with complete confidence. Every JBS product comes with a 99-day, no questions asked, money-back satisfaction promise.

“If the user is not 100% satisfied, they can just return it to us within 99 days for a full refund. There’s no paperwork; they just have to provide the invoice number,” Salmon said.

He also said that selected products from the JBS range come with a lifetime guarantee as they are made to the highest standards, for maximum durability, safety and reliability.

“In fact, all of our hand tools are either rigorously tested for durability by an approved testing laboratory or extensively field tested, and are warranted against faulty workmanship or materials.

“The JBS range of tools is renowned for being safe, reliable and built to last,” Salmon said.

To coincide with the brand turning 21, the JBS livery has been freshened up with a strong updated logo and the Proven Industrial Performance strapline.

“This upgrade also reflects the quality and reliability of JBS industrial products whilst maintaining a heritage link to the original JBS values and design,” Salmon said.

Winning Endorsements

Wayne Newby, one of Australia’s leading dragster drivers and owner of Newby Engineering, totally agrees.

“We have been using JBS tools for over 10 years now and have never had any issues with the tools.

“They are brilliant. In fact, when we won the championship the other year, part of the prize was a set of tools from another leading tool company, but we found the JBS tools far superior.

“We won the championship three times in fact, but we have now moved from dragsters into funny cars.

“It’s a lot different to a dragster. We are still at the development stage and still learning a lot. I’m not sure how we will go in 2014, but we will give it our best shot,” Newby told TecTorque.

And his experience with JBS tools is not just with his drag racing team, Newby, a former fitter and turner, runs a highly successful general engineering company in Sydney’s Western suburbs.

“I recommend JBS tools on both quality and price compared to other tools on the market. I know JBS tools are made out of the best quality materials,” Newby said.

Fellow racing champion, Craig Dontas (V8 Ute series driver/team leader and motor mechanic) is also highly complimentary of JBS tools. “We have been using JBS Tools for over five years now and they have never missed a beat, and we put them under probably the highest stresses you can when working on our vehicles in the racing industry.

“We have very tight turnaround times in a high pressure environment in terms of getting cars fixed and repaired in a short amount of time. “JBS tools are fantastic, they never break. They live up to their reputation. Everyone here at Craig Dontas Racing, from our lead mechanics through to our apprentices, absolutely love them,” Dontas told TecTorque.

While he narrowly missed out on winning the Australian V8 Ute Championship last year, coming second, Craig Dontas Racing was the leading Holden outfit for the year and were crowned Holden team champions for the year.

“We are punching well above our weight in one of the toughest category’s in the country. Our cars were very reliable right through the year – fantastic reliability.

“We have also done some product testing for JBS, and have found them very highly regarded throughout the racing industry.

“For example, we get other teams coming over to borrow our JBS Tools because they know how good they are to use and how tough they are. The feedback is always good,” Dontas said.

While Dontas experienced some highs and lows in 2013, he is optimistic going into the Australian V8 Ute Championship 2014 season. “This year we are going to go one better and win the championship. Plus we would like to get all three cars into the top five. It’s manageable, it’s doable and we are going to do it,” Dontas said.

Unlike 2013, where Dontas ran four cars, two lead drivers and two development drivers, this year he plans to scale back a little and concentrate more on winning the championship with just three cars, two lead drivers and just one development driver.

“We are going to focus on winning more races and winning the championship, and JBS will be there to help us do it,” Dontas said.

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Preventing and Fighting Industrial Fires

Preventing and Fighting Industrial Fires

Due to the number of chemicals found in factories, and on mine and building sites, an industrial fire can be one of the hardest fires to fight, but with the correct fire prevention plans and fire fighting equipment most fires can be successfully contained.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2014

Ask anyone who has ever been involved with a major fire, whether at their home or at their workplace, it’s one of the most frightening experiences they will ever encounter.

The consequences of a major fire can have a devastating effect on those burnt and precautions should be always be taken, especially in the workplace.

Employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of everyone in their workplace, which includes employees, contractors, visitors and customers. This is especially important during emergencies such as a fire.

It is important companies are prepared to ensure everyone can evacuate quickly and safely.

Worksafe Victoria says it is vital companies place fire equipment, including fire extinguishers, hoses and blankets, where it can be accessed quickly if needed.

It is also important that the fire equipment is placed away from heat sources and is regularly maintained.

Employers should also ensure that the fire equipment available is suitable for the risks specific to the workplace, for example foam or dry powder type extinguishers for fires that involve flammable liquids (see below for more information on different types of equipment). Employers should also install signage so people can find fire equipment quickly and identify what type of fire it can be used on.

Companies should also make sure emergency exits are unlocked, not blocked and exit signs are illuminated. If the company has battery backup for illuminated exits signs, the battery power should be tested regularly.

If unsure about what is needed, TecTorque readers are advised to contact their local fire authority or fire equipment supplier for advice. Worksafe says it is also important that employers train their employees in how to use fire equipment and know what type of fire extinguishers to use for different types of fires.

Companies should also ensure fire equipment is tested by their local fire authority or fire equipment supplier to make sure it operates correctly, and to contact them for advice on how frequently fire equipment needs to be tested (usually every six months).

Employers are also need to write an emergency evacuation plan of how people should evacuate the workplace and where they should assemble if there is an emergency.

The emergency evacuation plan diagram should be displayed where everyone can see it and practice the plan with employees at regular intervals, for example, every six months. Each poster should clearly indicate where the person is in the building, where the exits are and where the assembly area is.

Fire Wardens

It is a legislative requirement for employers to provide for their employees safety during both normal work times and during emergencies in the workplace.

Employers should appoint personnel to act as Fire Wardens in the workplace to marshal staff, contractors and visitors to safe places in the event of an emergency.

Training should be nationally recognised and take into account the requirements listed in Australian Standard 3745-2002 Emergency Control Organisations for buildings, structures and workplaces. This training should be based upon the unit of competency PUAWER005B Operate as part of an Emergency Control Organisation.

Mobile Plant Fires

Worksafe Victoria has also identified a growing number of incidents involving fire on mobile plant, especially on mine sites, both underground and open cut mines.

Typical causes of fire include component failure and/or inadequate maintenance.

Worksafe Victoria says the most common contributing factors were failure to maintain the integrity of pressurised hydraulic hoses, not keeping hydraulic lines clear of heated surfaces (inadequate clearance or insulation) and oil leaking onto hot engine components.

Other factors included hose type, transmission coolers and power train components not to manufacturer’s requirements, a build-up of material between hoses and heated surfaces, allowing thermal conduction and ignition, and frayed electrical connections.

To prevent fires occurring on mobile plant Worksafe Victoria recommends companies ensure all hydraulic components are ‘like for like’ and considered suitable for use; and always consult the plant manufacturer before making changes.

Companies should also ensure any contractor installations/design modifications that are undertaken off-site are verified on-site by the employer before use and are equivalent to manufacturer’s standards and design.

They should also implement quality checks by manufacturer-authorised service providers periodically as a cross check for internal maintenance, and evaluate potential alternative higher flash point manufacturer-approved hydraulic oils, which contain Polyol Ester based fluids, phosphate esters or water glycol and emulsions. Such fluids must be compatible to the existing in situ components such as seals/fittings.

Regarding inspection and maintenance, Worksafe Victoria recommends companies complete pre-start checks for locating and acting on oil leaks, sprays and stains.

Companies should also ensure the maintenance work order system includes the correct selection integrity and testing of control measures, and that thermal imaging equipment is used to detect hot spots and high temperature areas of plant during maintenance programs. As well as ensuring high current wiring is not in close contact with hydraulic hoses, companies should routinely wash, clean and check hoses for any sources of rubbing, oily mist or leaks, and carry out periodic checks on hydraulic braking systems to ensure sound operation, including bearings brake drums, rotor and calipers.

Companies should also routinely check electrical wiring including insulation, and check solenoid connections for corrosion and replace/check at set engine hours or as per manufacturer recommendations.

On plant that is used in high risk zones, companies should install fire detection and automatic fire suppression devices and install engine auto-shutdown systems that operate when the fire suppression system is discharged.

For more information, companies should refer to Australian Standard 5062–2006 - Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment , which has useful and practical information on fire management including: fire types, ignition sources, potential fire hazard locations, and fire analysis and fire protection systems.

Types of Fire Equipment

Robert Hall, CEO of Fireworld, says it is very important that companies understand the different types of fire equipment available, and what fires they are suitable for.

“And probably more important is that they know what they are NOT suitable for, and that they are recharged after use to Australian Standards. “TecTorque readers should take note of the information below,” Hall said.

He also explained that companies only purchase fire extinguishers and fire blankets that have been approved by SAI Global and have the SAI Global five tick standards mark sticker.

“This sticker has the individual SAI Global reference number and is a sign that the person has purchased a SAI Global approved product,” Hall said.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are a red cylinder marked by oatmeal coloured band and are effective against fires involving cooking oils and fats.

The wet chemical reacts with burning cooking oil or fat to form a suds-like blanket across the fuel surface, cutting off the fire’s air supply and preventing the release of flammable vapours.

The wet chemical fire extinguishers are available in two sizes. The 7.0L is ideal for large cooking and food processing applications, and the 2.0L is ideal for smaller restaurant kitchens.

The wet chemical fire extinguishers are suitable for Class A – Paper, textiles, wood and Class F – Cooking oils or fats types of fires.

Air Water Fire Extinguishers

Air water fire extinguishers are red with no coloured band and discharge a stream of water onto the fire, lowering the temperature of the burning material to below ignition point. Air Water options are available in a 9.0L size.

Air Water Fire Extinguishers are suitable for Class A – Paper, textiles, wood, most plastics & rubber types of fires.

Dry Chemical Powder ABE Fire Extinguishers

Dry Chemical Powder ABE Fire Extinguisher s are a red cylinder with a white coloured band around the top of the cylinder and are an all-round type of fire extinguisher suited for fires occurring in the industrial, home, marine, mining, car or caravan type areas.

The fire extinguisher discharges a fine powder that absorbs fuel molecules, depriving the fire of a fuel source. Powder fire extinguishers are available in a range of sizes for domestic and industrial situations including 1kg, 2.5kg, 4.5kg and 9.0kg models.

Powder fire extinguishers ABE are suitable for Class A – Paper, textiles, wood, most plastics & rubber; Class B – Flammable liquids; Class C – Combustible gases; and Class E – Electrically energised equipment types of fire.

Dry Chemical BE Fire Extinguishers

The dry chemical BE fire extinguishers are distinguished by a white coloured band around the top of the cylinder and are suitable for flammable liquid and electrical fires in industrial home, marine, mining, car or caravan type areas.

Dry chemical BE fire extinguishers are available in a range of sizes, from a compact 4.5kg model to a 9kg model suitable for industrial applications.

Powder Fire Extinguishers BE are suitable for Class B – Flammable liquids; and Class E – Electrically energised equipment types of fires.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fire Extinguishers

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) fire extinguishers are identified by a black coloured band around the top of the red cylinder.

Carbon dioxide is a non-conductive and non-corrosive gas used to reduce the amount of oxygen available to the fire. Carbon dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere and stored at high pressure in the liquid state within a fire extinguisher.

The range of CO2 type fire extinguishers consist of 2kg, 3.5kg and 5kg models.

Carbon dioxide fire extinguishers are suitable for Class B – Flammable liquids; and Class E – Electrically energised equipment types of fires.

AFFF (Foam) Fire Extinguishers

AFFF (Foam) fire extinguishers are distinguished with a blue band on a red cylinder and work by covering a burning flammable liquid with a blanket of foam, cutting off the fire’s air supply and preventing the release of flammable vapours.

Foam fire extinguishers are available in a 9.0L sizes and are suitable for Class A – Paper, textiles, wood, most plastics & rubber; and Class B – Flammable liquids types of fires.

Galvanised Zinc Fire Extinguishers

Fireworld now supply the 4.5kg dry chemical ABE 80BE galvanised zinc fire extinguishers which are designed for use in heavy aggressive environments such as mining, marine, transport or anywhere a heavy duty fire extinguisher is required.

The Pulvex ABC Royal, 90% dry chemical ABE powder that is used in the fire extinguisher is manufactured by Orchidée Germany GmbH. This high grade fire fighting powder is a key to the fire power of the 80BE rating on the 4.5kg ABE fire extinguisher.

The painting process involves pickling the steel cylinder with a phosphorous coating, drying then spraying a zinc coating which is passed through the powder coating kiln. The units are then sent through the powder coating for the final red powder coating finish.

Manufactured by Resil of Brazil, the company has been manufacturing products for over 55 years and first listed the Resil fire extinguishers with the Australian Standards kite mark way back in the 1975.

Fire Blankets

Fire Blankets are ideal for residential and commercial settings where small class F cooking oil fires are a risk.

The sizes available are 1m x 1m, 1.2m x 1.2m, 1.2m x 1.9m and 1.8m x 1.8m. The 1.8 x 1.8m fire blankets can also be used in situations where a person’s clothing has caught fire. The fire blanket can be wrapped around the person to smother the flames.

The Fireworld fire blanket is supplied in a PVC red Pouch and is designed to smoother cooking oil or fat fire, restricting oxygen and extinguishing the fire.

The red screen-printing has the word “fire blanket”, the instructions and other requirements to Australian Standards. There is no brand name on the fire blankets. The brand is fire blanket.

The Fireworld fire blanket is made using a fibreglass matting material, which is hemmed along each circumference. This is a superior finish to the standard fire blanket which is coated with glue (to hold the fibres) and just cut to length.

The fire blanket has SAI Global, Australian standards approval and has the 5 tick sticker and individual registration number on every fire blanket.

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Academy Offers Indigenous Children Tools for Life

Academy Offers Indigenous Children Tools for Life

The North Melbourne Football Club is scoring vital goals both on and off the footy field.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2013

The Blackwoods Indigenous Academy is designed to engage, reward and inspire young Indigenous footballers and netballers to become leaders in their communities, schools or local sporting clubs.

Kangaroo's star forward Lindsay Thomas is heavily involved in the Academy. The three-day Academy is attracting young people who are interested in growing and developing their unique individual skills. During the AFL season tens of thousands of supporters pour through the turnstiles at Etihad Stadium to watch the Kangaroos play on the football field. While most in the crowd know, often in very fine detail, the actions of the players and the club on the field, very few would know about one of the most exciting programs the club is involved with off the field.

The Blackwoods Indigenous Academy, which runs in partnership with AFL Victoria and the Melbourne Vixens, is designed to engage, reward and inspire young Indigenous footballers and netballers to become leaders in their communities, schools or local sporting clubs. Open to Indigenous boys and girls aged 11-14 years, the three-day Academy is attracting young people who are interested in growing and developing their unique individual skills.

Dr. Sonja Hood, General Manager - the Huddle, North Melbourne Football Club, says in the short time the Academy has been running the feedback from the attendees and the community has been fantastic.

"The Academy has only been running since 2010/11, but I can see it will continue to grow."

She said the format has changed quite a bit since inception, but has retained the same goals.

"We wanted to do something for the Indigenous kids."

Dr. Hood explained that the Academy started as part of our Huddle program, a community footprint at the club which gets the local community together and develops key programs for under-privileged and migrant children.

"The Academy was born out of there," Dr. Hood told TecTorque.

"When it first started it was mainly just for boys and they just played football mostly. Following talks with the Indigenous community, we expanded the program to include girls, with netball and basketball, this year. At the moment it just runs once a year, but as it develops we would like to run it more often," Dr. Hood said.

She explained that this year the Academy had 65 participants across AFL and netball with 35 boys and 30 girls.

"They come from all over Victoria, with most of them from South West Victoria."

Dr. Flood said she was surprised to learn that some of the children had never been to Melbourne, with some never been away from home before.


The goal of the Academy, Dr. Flood said, is to reward and inspire young Indigenous people, particularly footballers and netballers; giving them both on and off field opportunities and skills.

"The Academy used some novel approaches to give participants new experiences, challenging them to draw on their skills in new ways and develop leadership capabilities, awareness of nutrition, goal setting and egagement of others in the community. For example, this year we took some of the attendees ice-skating. It was the first time most of them had seen ice. At first they didn't want to try it, but two hours later they were whizzing around the rink, having a great time. It showed them that if they try something, more often than not they can achieve it, which is great for their confidence in other areas."

"The Academy gives them the building blocks to set them up for the rest of their lives, and shows them they can do almost anything they want, if they set their mind to it. We want to give these kids the skill sets required to go back to their communities, their schools, their clubs and be influential within their communities. We want to show them they have to commit to things, to their education, and to whatever they are doing in their community or at their football club. We want to give them a sense of taking control of their own destiny and not just rely on others," she said.

Dr. Flood explained that as well as attending North Melbourne and Melbourne Vixens games, the young Indigenous footballers and netballers receive mentoring and coaching from the Kangaroo's star forward Lindsay Thomas and the Vixen's Geva Mentor as well as attending sessions on culture, community, nutrition and goal setting.

She said that not only has Thomas had a great season on the field, he has also made a difference off it by mentoring these young Indigenous boys and girls.

"The Academy is a really great way for young Indigenous kids to work on lots of different things, not just their footy skills," Thomas said.

"We focus a lot on the importance of good character, commitment to school and education and the importance of leadership. Talking to these kids and acting as a bit of a mentor to them has also given me confidence, as I want to help make a difference in their journey," he said.

Thomas, who played a pivotal part in developing the program, says it has been incredibly rewarding to see what some of the past participants have achieved since being involved.

"Some kids need encouraging with their footy and sport. They can lose interest, get distracted or get a bit discouraged but through this program we've seen kids go on and get more involved in their local footy clubs and find that self-belief again which I know for me is really important," Thomas said.

Indigenous round

When North Melbourne lost to Adelaide by one-point, back in June, there was a field full of broken-hearted players in blue and white, but one player looks back on that game with fond memories.

It was particularly special to Thomas because it was the Indigenous round and coincided with official launch of the Blackwoods Indigenous Academy.

"It's a round where I gave my all. I played to represent my family, my friends. "It's definitely a very important round, not just for the AFL boys, but to all Indigenous people in Australia," Thomas said. Just to see the Aboriginal flag in the middle of the MCG or Etihad, or wherever, it just brings a smile to every Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander's face. It just makes them feel really special, and really proud to be an Aboriginal," he said.

Over 250 Indigenous children and their families were part of the Blackwoods Indigenous Academy launch at the game.

While Thomas booted five goals, it was ultimately his pride in his culture that brought about the biggest sense of achievement.

"I knew before the game that they were going to form that guard of honour but to actually see them standing on Etihad and to see the smiles on their can never take that away. It was an unbelievable scene. I'm in a fortunate position where I can help these young kids succeed in life, and all they're asking for is an opportunity and that's what I'm here for. I'm a very proud Aboriginal man and very proud of my background and my culture. If I can change any of these kids' lives, that will put a smile on my face and that's all the reward I can get," Thomas said. The small forward has come a long way from the shy South Australian who arrived at the Kangaroos back in 2006. I'm really just like a big brother to these kids. Someone that they can talk to, ask for some advice and all that kind of stuff," Thomas said. It's something I'm really proud of and to see it so successful this year...seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, that's so rewarding for me. It's incredible the feedback we get from the parents, some of them travel as far as Shepparton and other country towns hours out of Melbourne to bring their kids to our program."

Thomas credits his involvement at the community level for his improved confidence on the field.

"Working with the kids in the academy has helped me grow so much as well. I feel I have a responsibility to be a strong role model for them and it keeps me focused on the bigger picture," Thomas added.

"Hopefully over the next couple of years we can make the academy even bigger and stronger," he said.

Leadership skills

Thomas says he loves being a part of the program because it helps him develop his own leadership skills and confidence.

Dr. Flood explained that Thomas was very shy when he first arrived at the club.

"But I watched him over the course of the Academy, and what a difference. He has absolutely blossomed into an unbelievable ambassador."

Dr. Flood said Thomas has been heavily involved with the program, getting involved as much as possible.

"He was here every day taking a real interest with the kids. And not just for the sake of it; there is a real passion there when he interacts with the kids. And they idolise him, but he gets as much out of it as them, seeing the development of the kids. Like Thomas, most of the kids were very quiet when they arrived, but after a couple of days they would open up, communicating with each other and the Academy leaders, and having fun. It was a really good three-day camp.

"Going forward, judging by the feedback we got from the kids, the Academy will only grow. We would like to offer these opportunities to as many kids as possible, and would like to get to a point where we can attract hundreds of Indigenous kids to the program. When they get back to their communities, we want them to keep it going, to integrate what they have learnt into their communities.

"It's not just the case of coming here and kicking a footie around for a couple of days, then that's it," Dr. Flood said.

Barry Hoare, Group Sponsorship & Communications Manager at Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety (Blackwoods), said he and the company are thrilled to be involved in helping encourage, reward and inspire young Indigenous people.

"We are delighted to have the Indigenous Academy feature the Blackwoods brand name, as we are that Geva Mentor, Lindsay Thomas and others have agreed to provide leadership and guidance to those selected to participate, as we look forward to supporting the program and attendees longer term," Hoare said.

"For Blackwoods, understanding, sharing and building relationships and creating opportunities is an important part of our Reconciliation Action Plan, and the Blackwoods NMFC Indigenous Academy provides a fantastic opportunity to build on our successful program and engage our own team in a project they can relate to," Hoare said.

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Sustainability Influences Building and Construction Projects

Sustainability Influences Building and Construction Projects

Energy efficiency, smart materials and sustainability are key factors motivating builders as they seek to design less resource intensive and smarter buildings.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2013

The University of Melbourne's Doherty will produce 50% less greenhouse gas emissions than a comparable standard facility.

The UNSW building's curtain wall system transfers the load of the concrete blades back into the main concrete super-structure.

The incrementally launched construction at Seaford allowed the superstructure to be pushed out from the top of the bridge.

Builders, architects and construction companies are making a concerted effort to design and build structures with strong environmental credentials. Right from the layout to material selection and construction, sustainability has become a key focus.

For example, an interstitial curtain wall helps cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%. A green roof greywater treatment system can produce enough recycled water for 60% of the building's toilet-flushing requirements.

To protect a river's delicate ecosystem, construction engineers in South Australia designed and built the longest incrementally launched bridge in the Southern Hemisphere.

There are numerous examples across the country; here we present three of the best environmentally-friendly construction projects.

Seaford's Rail Extension

Innovative design and construction methods and carefully considered material selection have been key to the success of the $290m Seaford Rail Extension in Adelaide's south, situated in part within one of South Australia's most environmentally sensitive tidal estuaries.

Part of the South Australian State Government's network wide, 10-year plan to revitalise Adelaide's passenger transport system, the project came with very clear parameters for the project team (a collaboration between the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI); McConnell Dowell Constructors; Thiess, Parsons Brinckerhoff, SKM and Aurecon).

The team were required to minimise the construction footprint and capitalise on opportunities to enhance the Onkaparinga River Recreation Park and estuary, as well as plan and implement sustainable landscaping that was reflective of the unique local environment.

The Onkaparinga River flows from the Adelaide Hills through a low lying tidal estuary before emptying into the Gulf of St Vincent at the pristine Port Noarlunga South. With any incident potentially affecting the system both upstream and downstream for 12km, maintaining water quality in the river and the associated marine environment was one of the project's highest priorities.

To meet these challenges, the project team adopted an incrementally launched viaduct bridge. At 1125m in length, it is the longest incrementally launched bridge in the Southern Hemisphere, and the third longest worldwide.

A single cell concrete box section viaduct deck was considered the best solution in terms of environmental impact, aesthetics and maintenance costs, and so a visually appealing box girder superstructure was selected over the more convention Super-T structure.

The innovative viaduct design maximised the prefabrication of components offsite in controlled facilities, and minimised safety risks by limiting the need for crane lifts.

The incrementally launched form of construction allowed the superstructure to be pushed out from the top of the bridge, with minimal impact on the environmentally sensitive site at ground level.

Launching from both ends of the bridge (a first in South Australia) allowed the project team to construct its preferred design in the time frame required, with casting yards built at the north and south abutments to cast the bridge segments.

As well as designing the bridge to span the watercourse, the team also opted to use longer bridge spans, reducing the number of piers required. Raised pier bases reduced sheet piling quantities and where piers were located in the tidal area of the floodplain below the surrounding water table, a coffer dam system allowed the works to be constructed without safety or environmental incident.

With the design concept in hand, the team turned their attention to the challenge of how to deal with the movement interaction occurring between the concrete bridge deck and the ballasted rail track supported by the deck; as large forces can develop in the rail due to creep, shrinkage and thermal movements of the deck concrete, particularly in long continuous bridges.

To minimise the risk of rail buckling or breakage, the bridge deck articulation was altered from from two continuous sections to four discrete sections of deck.

Throughout the rest of the project site the vertical rail alignment dictated significant cut depths of 8 to 10m, however there were limited opportunities to use the cut material as fill on other parts of the project--requiring the team to minimise the amount of cut material which would be required to be disposed of offsite.

This was achieved by utilising the inherent strengths of the naturally occurring calcareous materials and Hindmarsh Clays to steepen the cut batters as much as possible to minimise excavation volumes, as well as stabilising Hindmarsh Clay to be reused as fill in the depot works. This reduced overall project costs and reduced the number of truck movements on surrounding roads by 100,000.

Due to site topography and a constrained corridor, the project involved stabilising six hectares of 35º batters (some to a height of 14m). The batters were often too steep to place topsoil with machinery, and trials of conventional methods such as hydroseeding showed limited success, due to high Boron and saline levels, and low levels of nutrients and organic matter.

In another first in South Australia, the team applied Ecoblanket, a mixture of compost, seed and tackifier, onto the denuded steep batters to create an interlocking blanket providing protection from wind and rain, improving soil fertility and structure.

And in yet another South Australian first, the team recycled timber railway sleepers as landscaping mulch, after sampling for appropriate levels of contaminants. More than 2500m3 of recycled mulch has been used on the Seaford Rail Extension, significantly reducing the cost associated with the landscaping contract and disposal of the sleepers, as well as reducing landfill waste.

From project commencement the Team formed a partnership with KESAB (Keep South Australia Beautiful) Environmental Solutions to launch the Clean Site program to reduce waste materials, prevent pollution, educate site staff, and achieve best environmental practice.

With key initiatives including a focus on maximising recycling and resource recovery, monthly reporting and promotion of recycling performance, and regular toolbox presentations, the program achieved a total project recycling rate of 97%.

The Seaford Rail Extension is the recent Winner of the 2103 South Australian Civil Contractor's Federation Earth Award (for projects over $75m) and received Highly Commended status at the 2013 South Australian Engineering Excellence Awards.

Peter Doherty Institute

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity is, like its namesake, Nobel Prize Laureate Peter Doherty AC, expanding the horizons of medical research.

With its 5 Star Green Star - Education Design v1 certification, 'the Doherty', as it is known, will be one of the world's most advanced infectious disease research facilities.

The Doherty breaks new ground for research facility design with state-of-the-art laboratories, teaching and collaboration spaces that are not only energy- and water-efficient, but which prioritise the health and wellbeing of the students and researchers that will use them.

Chris White, the University of Melbourne's Executive Director of Property and Campus Services, explains that the Doherty's Green Star certification is a practical demonstration of the University's commitment to the provision of advanced learning environments and carbon-neutrality within 20 years.

"In 2007, the University committed to reducing its energy use by 50% within three years and achieving a minimum 5 Star Green Star rating on all new major buildings and a 4 Star Green Star rating on all major building upgrades."

"Further ambitious targets were established for 2011-2015 to reduce energy and water usage, net emissions and waste to landfill, with an aspiration to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030," White said.

An early adopter of Green Star, the University of Melbourne achieved significant energy-reduction results for its first Green Star certified building, The Spot, which used 46% less energy than comparable buildings across the rest of the university in its first year of operation.

With operational cost savings of around $180,000 a year, Green Star success at The Spot has encouraged the University to push the boundaries of sustainability at The Doherty.

Bio-laboratories are traditionally heavy users of electricity and water due to their physical containment and biological safety protocols, the ongoing operation of refrigeration and laboratory equipment, the need to maintain stable internal temperatures and to prevent the re-circulation of laboratory air to non-laboratory workspaces.

"A sustainable laboratory may seem at odds with the principles of safe laboratory practices, especially in energy reduction, where use can be 5 to 10 times higher than office buildings," explains White.

"Despite the usually energy-intensive end use, the Doherty will require less grid-supplied energy by capturing and using waste heat, minimising heat loss and gain through an interstitial façade system and through co-generation technology." In fact, energy modelling completed for the Doherty suggests that the building will require 20% less electricity than a comparable standard practice facility and produce 50% less greenhouse gas emissions. These savings are the result of a combination of active and passive design features, including a co-generation plant with capacity to generate up to 357kW, high-performance glazing and the incorporation of a timber interstitial curtain wall system on the north façade - an Australian first."

"This double-glazed curtain wall system creates a warm appearance and filtered natural light in the office areas, while eliminating glare and direct sun in the laboratories," explains Adrian Curtis of Grimshaw Architects.

"The east and west façades flare out with precast panels that provide protection against the low morning and afternoon sun, while opening up views and light towards the north and city to the south."

The Doherty scored a Green Star 'Innovation' point for one of the building's water-saving features - a green roof installation that also works to treat greywater.

While greywater systems and green roofs are not new, the combination of the two in a single system is a first for the Australian market and will deliver multiple benefits for the Institute.

"Traditionally, laboratories consume large volumes of water to meet process and cooling needs, and so we were presented with a significant opportunity to reduce water use by incorporating sustainable principles from the outset of design. The green roof greywater system is considered a first in Australia and combines the benefits of a recycled water treatment system with those of a green roof installation. The combination of these two technologies required significant design modifications of both systems, including layout configuration, hydraulic function, plant selection, and the selection of construction materials," explains White.

The green roof greywater treatment system is expected to produce up to 1.45 million litres of recycled water each year which will equate to around 60% of the water required for toilet-flushing across the building.

The vegetated roof will provide extra insulation which is estimated to reduce the energy required for heating and cooling by up to 10% and will also enhance the ecological value of the site via native plants that will help to purify the air.

Building layout, passive design and the selection of sustainable materials were key aspects of the design brief for the Doherty's designers, Grimshaw Architects.

"Through passive design strategies we were able to capitalise on synergies between the building's intended uses and the opportunities offered up by the Institute's positioning and orientation. For example, by positioning office areas to the north, we were able to maximise the potential for natural light and minimise reliance on artificial lighting," explains Curtis.

The benefits of this simple yet considered approach extends far beyond the advantage of lower energy costs, also delivering a better indoor environment for the students, researchers, medical professionals and administrative staff who'll use the building.

"In line with the University's sustainability commitments and aspirations for The Doherty, it was important that the use of materials with high embodied energy (such as aluminium) was minimised as much as possible," says Curtis.

As a result, sustainable timber is featured prominently throughout the building, including on the building's exterior façade.

UNSW's Material Sciences and Engineering Building

Brookfield Multiplex will design and construct the University of New South Wales' (UNSW) $123m Material Sciences and Engineering Building at the Kensington campus in Sydney, set to be a leading research facility in the Asia-Pacific region.

The new building will be constructed adjacent to the Chemical Sciences and existing Materials Science Building and will comprise 24,500m2 of space. Spanning nine levels, it will include a basement featuring specially-designed suites to house highly-sensitive research equipment. Four laboratories will be fitted-out to house highly sensitive Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEMs).

Brookfield Multiplex Project Manager Darren Marshall explains: "In addition to vibration control slabs, we also need to mitigate electromagnetic interference to the TEM suites and maintain this at 0.1mG (milligauss) interference or lower."

This will be achieved by completely inclosing the rooms in 6mm thick aluminium and the installation needs to incorporate movement joints and services penetrations. To minimise vibration, all the TEM suites sit on massive, one metre thick slabs located in the basement.

"The most difficult aspect is probably finding the balance between the vibration control and the electromagnetic shielding," explains Marshall.

To control the vibration, everything in this room is separated from the rest of the building by a movement joint or some other form of isolation. The electromagnetic shielding is actually done by lining the room with a 6mm thick aluminium plate. The plates need to be welded together with no gaps or joins, however the room also needs to be separated from the rest of the adjoining structure, hence the issues around resolution of movement joints and services penetrations.

"The electromagnetic shielding requirements are very, very strict here and we're still working through the detail to resolve a few of the associated issue issues," adds Marshall.

"We have probably the highest standards applied to any TEM suite in Australia."

IT overcome BCA compliance issues a Fire Engineered solution has been applied to the separation of the Laboratory and Offices spaces.

A firewall is normally constructed out of block work or a plasterboard solution which means there's no visual connection between the two areas.

"We have managed to engineer out the requirement for two-hour separation between laboratory areas and office space, and enclosed the laboratories with full height glass walls again to maintain the UNSW's collaborative approach to the building's design," explains Marshall.

Designing the façade was probably one of the most challenging components. The 600mm to 900mm wide glass reinforced vertical concrete blades over the entire façade added an additional 600t total weight into the structure.

"We had to develop a curtain wall system that could transfer that load of the concrete blades back into the main concrete super-structure," says Marshall.

"We actually started with a blade that was at 90º to the façade and now we have a combination of blades at 90º, 45º, 62.5º and 75º, depending on where they sit on the building."

This maximises the shading at critical areas of the day without going to a longer blade which would have just put more weight on the building. Brookfield Multiplex commenced initial preparatory works in July 2013 with completion expected for April 2015.

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Bottled Water with a Vital Objective

Bottled Water with a Vital Objective

A new bottled water on the market does more than quench a person's thirst, it funds a worthy Indigenous program designed to inspire and empower local youth in outback Australia.

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2013

Yaru Water came into being as a result of a family friendship and a shared vision - to unite, share and close the gap of disadvantage of Indigenous communities. Attendees at the program, Indigenous boys and girls, come from all over Australia for up to 12 weeks. Yaru Water is single-origin spring water, bottled at the source, without the use of chemicals.

Yaru Water co-founders Kyle Slabb and Shaun Martin.

Walking through your local supermarket aisles, there appears little difference in the bottles of spring water on offer; however Yaru Spring Water completely dispels that myth - that all bottled water is the same. 

Yaru Water is very different and came into being as a result of a family friendship and a shared vision - to unite, share and close the gap of disadvantage in indigenous communities.

By joining forces and establishing Yaru, (an Indigenous owned spring water company), the Slabbs, (an Indigenous family of Bundjalung heritage), and the Martins, (the family behind the Mount Warning Spring Water Company), have created a vehicle for change.

Together, with proceeds generated from the sale of bottled Yaru Water, the visionaries and brotherhood behind the brand, facilitate indigenous leadership programs, imparting Bundjalung cultural teachings while utilising Mount Warning Spring Water Company's facilities and resources.

Yaru, in partnership with several Indigenous Leadership Organisations, has developed Indigenous Leadership Development and Capacity Building Programs designed for emerging Indigenous leaders. The programs are about leadership development in the context of intentional community development.

Joint Yaru Founder and Director Kyle Slabb said this latest program he is working on only started last year, and is a special one to him, already.

"We have run similar programs before, but we saw a real need for a leadership program, so Yaru Water was developed to support these programs. We had seen a number of Indigenous kids programs offering leadership in a cultural context, all designed to look at kids at risk. This is what we based this program on," he said.

Slabb explained that this program is funded by proceeds from Yaru Water, with no government assistance, though he does admit the program does have a few groups who financially assist them.

"However, we run a pretty lean team here, with only eight of us managing the entire program," he said. 

Program's Goals:

Slabb said the program's main goal is to build capacity around young Indigenous leaders and to expose them to a lot of different situations to be better equipped to be able to take a leadership position in their communities.

"The program is designed to give emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders the confidence to take on these roles."

He said the Leadership Programs are designed to be a platform for exploring cultural identity and spirituality, action/reflection learning, personal and peer mentoring, and practical application in a number of urban, rural and remote contexts.

"The attendees spend a bit of time here, plus they spend some time in the outback in Central Australia and also up into the top end, to Cape York and to remote communities elsewhere to get some experience in different communities. We also take them to urban environments, to the cities. It could be Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane, and look at different programs that are happening there and different leadership opportunities."

Slabb said the attendees are aged from around 16 up to 25, and a mix of boys and girls.

"Interestingly, we have had more girls through the program than boys, but only slightly more.  They come from all over Australia for up to 12 weeks, though 8 weeks is the average now."

He said the program runs twice a year at present, plus they host other different groups that also include leadership programs and different cultural programs.

"Already, with this program in its current form, we have had over 200 attendees so far. Plus we have had numerous success stories, with well over 50% of our students going on to engage in leadership positions within their community, and further their studies to build their capacity to take out leadership positions in their community. And not just leadership, we had two young guys on the program last year who had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome since then both of them have not needed their medication.”

(Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests.)

"They have gone back to their community and got involved with their education and different areas. Our plan is to expand the program and develop it further into a wider range of communities," Slabb said.

"Part of my role is to inspire and empower local youth in outback Australia, and to facilitate cultural learning between elders and the younger generation to rekindle a passion for traditional occupations." 

Part of the program takes place on the Yaru training facility situated in northern-NSW in the shadows of Wollumbin (Mt Warning), located in Bundjalung country. 

Slabb explained that participants explore Indigenous spirituality and indigenous Australian history (government and community perspectives), and take part in significant, compatible cultural experiences that give a deeper understanding of the richness of a living culture through intentional interaction with the land through cultural practice.

"The program is designed to teach them skill sets that increase their employability in fields such as droving, mustering and horsemanship. We presently have one group from the central desert that travel around on horseback in these very remote communities.  We have a couple of leaders out there working with them and other remote communities," Slabb said.

Living Water

Yaru Water is Australia's first Indigenous bottled water, and is introduced by a family of Bundjalung heritage.

For thousands of years, Slabb said, the Bundjalung people have understood the power and the energy of what flows from their land.

"We have recognised the water to have cleansing properties and to be a source of power and life for our people. We now understand that this life and this power are not meant for just our people, but that we need to share it with others. Our ancestors drank this living water, today we are sharing this precious water, for life, health and abundance to all who thirst."

Slabb said the foundation of the company is based upon a great respect for the land, and explained that the word Yaru means rock in Bundjalung language and encompasses all aspects of life.

"Therefore, from our very beginning, being environmentally responsible and sustainable has been a priority. Our products are certified carbon neutral which means we remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as our company puts in, cancelling out all emissions created during the lifecycle of a bottle of Yaru Water. We do this by purchasing 'carbon offsets' which finances green energy projects like wind farms or solar parks and drives further investment into clean technologies. Buying carbon offsets not only cancels out our carbon footprint, but it helps transform society to become more green and efficient. It helps make clean energy more affordable and helps reduce future greenhouse gas emissions to make up for our energy use today," he said.

BFA Approved

As Slabb points out, not all bottled water is created equal.

"There are some bottled waters that are exclusively sourced from municipality water, while various others are sourced from a variety of springs, mixed and bottled at a bottling plant far away from the source, at times combined with municipality water. What these waters have in common is an assortment of chemicals added during the bottling and sterilisation process and a close likeness to tap water.

"However, Yaru Water is single-origin spring water, bottled at the source, without the use of chemicals. "This is why Yaru Water has been approved by the Australian Biological Farmers Association (BFA), Australia's leading organics industry body. This classification means we are compliant with the Australian Organic Standard (AOS) and our source and bottling process are guaranteed free from chemical contaminants. It ensures that the water you drink is of the highest possible quality, in its natural state, alkaline and high in minerals. It guarantees our water is kind to you and our natural world.

"Remember, you are not just what you eat; you are what you drink," Slabb said.

Where to Get Yaru Water

Leading supermarket chain Coles now stocks Yaru Water in many of its stores, and is supporting Yaru Water with its production, distribution and packaging.

In early February 2013, Yaru products were rolled out across 160 stores in NSW and following a positive response, Coles has now committed to stocking the product range in further stores across Ausstraila, and through Coles online. Weekly production capacity was around 84,000 bottles, however with Coles support Yaru Water now plans to carry out a three-phase expansion to increase production by ten-fold by 2015.

The first phase will involve the construction of a second production facility and is expected to increase production to 880,000 bottles per week. The second facility will feature more efficient processing methods and environmentally-sustainable initiatives.

As well, Blackwoods is conducting a program to introduce Yaru Water to key customers and the community as part of its support for Indigenous organisations.

For more information on Yaru Water go to

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NMFC Grand Final Breakfast

Wednesday, 21 August – 2013

North Melbourne is pleased to announce Blackwoods as the naming right's sponsor of the annual Grand Final Breakfast for the second consecutive year.

The original and the best, the Blackwoods Grand Final Breakfast hosted 3,200 guests on-field at Etihad Stadium last year and will welcome around 3,500 guests in 2013.

North CEO Carl Dilena said it was an honour to have Blackwoods on board again this year.

"Blackwoods have been great supporters of this club for many years and it's fantastic to have their name on the event which started 47 years ago by the North Melbourne Football Club," Dilena said.

"Each year this function continues to grow in significant numbers and this year's Blackwoods Grand Final Breakfast will be no exception."

A premier partner of the Kangaroos for six seasons, Blackwoods has been a vital component of Australia's industrial and workplace landscape and this year, the Grand Final Breakfast will be an appropriate celebration of Blackwoods’ 135-year anniversary.

VIPs from around Australia always gather at the Breakfast to kick off the biggest day on the AFL calendar. They include the Prime Minister, opposition leader, AFL chairman and CEO, as well as entertainers, celebrities, AFL greats and other sporting superstars.

US comedian Arj Barker and Aussie rock icon Tim Rogers will headline the entertainment, while an expert Fox Footy panel will provide a preview of the big game.

For more information visit:

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Chevron Quarantine Program

Chevron Quarantine Program

No obstacle for Blackwoods

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2012.

Unique is a much overused word today, but Chevron's Barrow Island project is one where the word is appropriate for numerous of its operations, including Blackwoods innovative quarantine service for its suppliers.

Most TecTorque readers would have heard of Chevron's massive Gorgon Project; one of the world's largest natural gas projects, which will develop the Gorgon and Jansz-Io gas fields located within the Greater Gorgon Area about 130km off the north-west coast of Western Australia. Included in the project is the construction of a 15 million tonne per annum (MTPA) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island and a domestic gas plant with the capacity to provide 300 terajoules per day to supply gas to Western Australia.

However, what many readers might not know is that Barrow Island is a Class 'A' Nature Reserve and has been the home to Australia's largest operating onshore oil field for the past 45 years.

Quarantine management has effectively protected the conservation values of the island since the 1960s. Chevron has evolved the initial program into a management system acknowledged by the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority as "likely to be world's best practice".

The program, which is also the world's largest non-government quarantine initiative, incorporates all activities associated with the movement of goods, materials, equipment and personnel to the island. Derrick Gonsalves, Blackwoods Senior Manager Major Projects - Western Region, explains that all items headed to Barrow Island must go through a very stringent, timely and precise quarantine process. "For example, all pieces of machinery and equipment, including bulldozers and tractors etc, must first be thoroughly washed down, inspected then shrink wrapped ready for transportation. Other items are put in dedicated containers, residual sprayed, fumigated and shipped to the island.

"Once on the island all machinery and equipment is then reinspected at the border, the point of arrival at Barrow Island. This process applies to every product that goes onto the island.

"Another example of the stringent quarantine regulations is that there is no untreated wood allowed to be taken onto the island, which means all wooden handled hammers have to be replaced with steel handled hammers.

"Plus untreated wooden pallets are not allowed on the island, so all products must be delivered on plastic pallets," Gonsalves said.

He says this could be a very onerous operation for suppliers and is the main reason why Blackwoods set up its own quarantine service for its suppliers.

"The project started about a year and a half ago. Initially we spent the first six months going through and understanding the Quarantine Management System and process as well as obtaining Chevron Quarantine Certification.

"Part of our challenge was to change our mindset from selling product to providing an essential service which was of paramount importance to Chevron and its contractors."

"This is a new way of doing business for us, but it is working extremely well. Already we have supplied close to $100,000 worth of plastic pallets to our contractors alone."

He explained that the quarantine areas have to be spotless with no food or perishables to be taken into the areas.

"Plus we have to use brand new cardboard cartons for packing and packaging tape must be secured to the cartons. Unsecured packaging tape could attract /harbour parachute seeds which could be transported to the island.

"The area was audited along with the whole branch facility at Canning Vale. Results of the audit were extremely pleasing."

Gonsalves said all suppliers must comply with these quarantine regulations, with Blackwoods one of only a few companies with the certification allowing them to pack to Chevron's requirements.

"We have educated our suppliers, who supply the goods to us in bulk already for Chevron's approval, so we don't have to repack.

"We are supplying product to various contractors on the island and are saving our customers huge amounts of money by leaving the product quarantine process to us.

"The biggest advantage for our suppliers is that Chevron contractors can go direct to them.

"For example, we have received a lot of enquiries from our suppliers because while they can supply the product, they feel they might not handle nor meet the Project's stringent quarantine requirements. So they simply pass the enquiries on to us," he said.

Gonsalves explained that it's not just equipment and machinery that must comply with these environmental regulations; it's people as well.

"When you go to the airport to fly to Barrow Island you must be there up to 2 hours before take off. "During the check in process your boots are brushed so no soil can be taken to the island. Your luggage is also checked similar to international flights to ensure you are not taking any prohibited food or perishables," he said.

Chevron is taking the protection and maintenance of Barrow Island's environment and the native fauna very seriously, especially as activity picks up.

Gonsalves says protection measures implemented during high levels of activity include reducing the number of light vehicles on the road by using extra buses, installing warning signs, reducing speed limits on roads near construction areas and ensuring the workforce completes driver awareness training. "For example Flatback and Green turtles lay their eggs on the island, so contractors must adhere to strict lighting management plans so lighting at night does not disturb the turtles," he said.

Other measures include trapping and relocating fauna prior to clearing, establishing fauna exclusion fencing and regularly inspecting all trenches and excavations.

The complexity and sheer scale of Gorgon is unprecedented; Chevron and the Gorgon Joint Venture Participants are tapping a resource which contains about 40 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and is the largest single resource natural gas project in Australia's history. It is also the country's largest sub-sea project and a world leader in carbon dioxide injection technology.

Gorgon LNG will be off loaded via a four kilometre long loading jetty for transport to international markets. The domestic gas will be piped to the Western Australian mainland.

Chevron expects Gorgon to be an important pillar of the Australian economy for more than 40 years. Economic benefits from the first 30 years of the initial project scope are expected to provide a $64 billion boost to Australia's economy with direct and indirect employment to peak at around 10,000 people. The Gorgon Project is operated by an Australian subsidiary of Chevron and is a joint venture of the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (approximately 47%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and Chubu Electric Power (0.417%).

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Fred Hollows Update

Fred Hollows Update

Great wins, but the fight continues

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2012.

With Blackwoods continuing support, the world-renowned Fred Hollows Foundation is ever improving the lives of disadvantaged people in Australia, and around the world.

While reading this issue of TecTorque, most people will take for granted their ability to read this article, but that's not the case for an estimated 39 million people around the world today who are blind. But the really frightening statistic is that three out of four people who are blind don't need to be. Their condition is either treatable or preventable.

According to Joy McLaughlin, Indigenous Program Manager with The Fred Hollows Foundation, simple interventions, such as medication, surgery or spectacles can restore people's sight, productivity and livelihoods, giving lasting benefits for individuals, their families and whole communities.

She pointed out that since its formation in 1992 The Foundation has helped to restore sight to well over 1 million people, "with that number continuing to grow".

"In last year alone, we purchased five non-mydriatic retinal cameras for delivery to Aboriginal health clinics in the Northern Territory," McLaughlin said.

"The cameras are used to detect eye conditions affecting the retina, such as diabetic retinopathy. They are easy to use and with a small amount of training, health staff will be able to take a photograph of the retina of remote patients, particularly patients who have diabetes, and send those photos electronically to the ophthalmologists at Royal Darwin Hospital for reading.

"This will help patients get the treatment they need quicker and avoid potential blindness through retinopathy.

"Last year we also trained 45 health care staff at remote clinics in the use of the 21 Slit Lamp provided through The Foundation in 2010; in addition to the 60 workers trained in the previous year," McLaughlin said.

She explained that under the Visiting Optometry Scheme, 412 eye exams were conducted by optometrists and 83 people needing more specialist treatment were referred to an ophthalmologist.

McLaughlin pointed out the Visiting Optometry Scheme receives some funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, but is significantly subsidised by the Foundation to ensure communities get the best possible service.

Integrated eye health strategy

One of the key programs in Australia is the Central Australia and Barkly Integrated Eye Health Strategy, a sustainable partnership between The Australian Government, The Northern Territory Government, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation, The Eye Foundation and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

The Foundation acknowledges the financial contribution to the strategy from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the contributions of human and other resources by the other partners.

As well as support from various levels of government, Blackwoods is just one major private enterprise supporter generating much needed funds which are channelled 100% to indigenous programs.

There are a number of ways funds and donations are generated by Blackwoods and these include contributions from employees, from Blackwood's suppliers and importantly from a range of products known as the Foresight range; sales from which Blackwoods donates a percentage to The Fred Hollows indigenous programs.

Angus Thornton, senior project officer with The Fred Hollows Foundation and coordinator of the program says residents of the area, which covers the area around Tennant Creek and the bottom half of the Northern Territory, have a lot of eye health issues, "particularly for indigenous Australians living in remote communities, and there are dozens in the area".

Thornton explained that there are a number of issues: the tyranny of distance, poverty, cultural issues etc. "Our goal is to overcome these barriers co-operatively. And three or four years down the track, we are making good progress in a number of areas, while we are still identifying key issues and starting to work on some of the others.

"To give it some momentum and punch we provide a co-ordinator for the strategy, which is me. "I work with the various players and liaise and cajole and encourage, plus do a fair amount of work on research and supplying information. We also do some direct service delivery, where we do the intensive eye surgery week program," Thornton said.

The program was designed initially to overcome the backlog for eye surgery in Alice Springs, which is the only location in the southern part of Northern Territory that people can get eye surgery.

Thornton explained that within the area there are probably 66,000 people in total, 30% of them indigenous with most living in remote communities."However, indigenous Australians suffer blindness at a rate six times more than non-indigenous Australians."

He said this is often caused by a lack of access to services; with many living in very remote areas and have difficulties in accessing these surgeries and other treatments.

"There are also limited eye health resources on the ground, we have just one ophthalmologist, and just a few optometrists so it's difficult to get services out to the remote areas.

"Plus indigenous Australians are a highly mobile group with many cultural family obligations; they are often not around and that's just for clinics, then if they have to get into Alice Springs for surgery that really compounds the issues.

"For many of them Alice Springs is a big city, with minimal support available for them," he said. However since 2007, The Foundation, with the help of other partners, has been bringing in about 50 people a week for surgery on a regular basis as part of its Intensive Eye Surgery Week program. "We bring in an extra ophthalmologist and other resources including logistics for the week. It's a huge effort. Normally we would only do four or five a week," Thornton said.

"Since 2007, we have run ten of these programs and operated on around 500 people. By doing so we have reduced the backlog from around 350, and trending up sharply in 2007, to less than 50. "This program has been a huge success, not just the shear numbers now coming through but also the effect it has had on the waiting list, which was the main reason for this program in the first place." Thornton explained that unlike the non-indigenous population, The Foundation has to go looking for people who have eye problems.

"As well as difficulties in mobility etc, there are also a number of misconceptions about eye surgery we have to overcome.

"It can take just one bad experience to effectively spook a whole community, and although eye surgery is very safe and bad experiences are rare, they do occur.

"People can come into Alice Springs hospital and have great care after their eye surgery, but the post surgical care, when the patient is back in their community, can be difficult.

"The regime of using eye drops is not one that is necessarily understood or well followed once the patch is removed and the patient can see. So there can be complications afterwards."

However, Thornton says the program has been very successful in terms of its numbers and immediate impact.

"We are also succeeding in taking some of the learnings from the methodologies we use and applying that to all regular surgery in the region.

"We recognise it's not really sustainable, to rely on surgery intensives in the long term. It costs a lot of money and is very disruptive. It also tends to offer a level of service and support to patients that are not offered in normal surgery.

"The approach relies on additional funding from the Australian government and the commitment of human resources and theatre time by the Alice Springs Hospital. We cannot assume these resources will be available forever.

"So we are taking these learnings, about how we support patients and how we bring them in in groups, for example, so they help each other and we can provide some more external support.

"We also reschedule transport so people don't have to hang around Alice Springs for a long time. Basically we ensure there are no gaps or leakages in the system.

"We are now applying that to regular surgery and getting 100% attendance rates for people coming in from remote communities, which were previously unheard of. Improvements like this are sustainable and are a sign the system is working better for remote Aboriginal people," Thornton said.

Work continues

While The Foundation has had some major successes over recent years, Thornton admits there is still much work to be done.

"One issue we have identified, which is more a general health problem, is information management regarding the culture of information sharing.

"The problem is we have a number of different entities involved in the eye health journey; all with very different mindsets and cultures and different IT systems that they use.

"Then on top of that there is a mixture of hard copy and electronic and word of mouth and whatever. It does work, but in terms of efficiency and effectiveness of day-to-day operations, plus the need for analysis and strategic planning, it needs to be dealt with.

"We are working to overcome this problem, but the solution probably needs to come from the Northern Territory government and the Aboriginal community controlled health services. "Our goal is for patients to have a seamless journey so that when they get referred their records follow them through the system."

Thornton says the other issue is community engagement with the eye health system.

"We have pretty low attendance rates even when services are available on the ground. For example, our visiting optometric scheme is a great scheme, where optometrists visit the communities for a week or two, but sometimes the attendance rates can be as low as 25%.

"We need to get people to put a higher priority on their own health generally, but their eye health in particular, to make that an issue for the local community clinics; often they don't see eye health as a major issue," Thornton said.

Winning the fight?

Both Thornton and McLaughlin are positive for 2012 and beyond.

"We are taking small steps and getting improvements for patients, which is very encouraging," said Thornton.

"We are making it happen on the ground, and we learn from that and see if we can apply that generally. This brings along communities and eye health professionals because they can see something that is real. "We are also starting to apply the learnings from earlier eye surgery and starting to make some movement in IT, plus we are looking at teleophthalomology.

"In simple terms it allows the ophthalmologist or optometrist to examine a patient at a remote community clinic while sitting at a computer at Alice Springs hospital using a camera and the Internet."

He admits there are some technical issues, but says large strides have been made already.

"The more people can be seen and treated in their own communities the far better it is," Thornton said. McLaughlin said The Foundation has had a very positive 2011 and will be taking what they have learnt from existing activities and applying it in the development of new programs.

"This year, we are commencing two new integrated eye health strategies in the Top End of the Northern Territory, to deliver improvements to accessibility and quality of eye health care.

"We have also commenced on a new project to assist in the elimination of trachoma among remote Aboriginal children in the region," McLaughlin said.

Thornton said the key message is that eye health remains a major issue for indigenous people, particularly for those in remote communities.

"They face a raft of barriers meaning they are more prone to poor eye health in the first place.

"However, these issues and barriers can be addressed. While money is very important, it is also about good cooperation between the key people and making eye health a priority for health workers in general and indigenous people, and creating better engagement around eye health," Thornton said.

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Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the Workplace

Harmonising safety in the workplace

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Autumn 2012.

Some said it would never happen, others likened it to pulling teeth, but whatever your thoughts are, the harmonisation of work health and safety (WHS) laws were enacted on January 1 this year in most states of Australia.

First raised by the Whitlam Government in 1974, the harmonisation of WHS laws represent a fundamental shift in the traditional regulation of OH&S in Australia. While it may take a further 12 months for the model WHS legislation to be implemented nationally, the harmonisation laws, which create a nationally uniform legislation, represent the most significant reform of OH&S laws in the past 30 years. The harmonisation of the safety laws will bring about a greater level of certainty and reduced costs to individual businesses and the economy. For workers it will mean the same work health and safety standards and protection wherever they work, reducing confusion and compliance costs over time, particularly for businesses that operate across borders. As this magazine goes to print, the parliaments of Victoria and Western Australia are the only two jurisdictions that have yet to introduce legislation to parliament, while South Australia and Tasmania have decided to delay commencement of the legislation. By committing to the harmonisation process, each state and territory in Australia will face some changes to their current OH&S arrangements.

Key changes

In most cases, the national WHS Act draws on existing state OH&S requirements. However, it also introduces some many new additions or clarifications. According to leading employment and commercial law firm, Blandslaw, the main changes included in the model legislation are:

Person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)

An employer will become known as a 'person conducting a business or undertaking'. A PCBU includes an employer, corporation, association, partnership, sole trader and certain volunteer organisations. For example, a volunteer organisation that employs a person to carry out work is a PCBU. But a volunteer organisation that operates with volunteers and does not employ anyone is not a PCBU. A PCBU has the primary duty of care for workplace health and safety. A person is not a PCBU if they are engaged solely as a worker or an officer; an elected member of a local authority; or a volunteer association where no-one is paid to carry out work for the association.

Broader definition of "worker"

The WHS Act recognises the changing choice of work options and provides a broader definition of 'worker' and work environments. Certain volunteers will be included as a worker. A worker will also include labour hire staff, apprentices, work experience students, subcontractors, and contractors. A sole trader who is a PCBU and carries out work for another business (PCBU) is also a worker for that PCBU.

Due diligence

The WHS Act clarifies that the officers of corporations have an obligation to exercise due diligence to ensure the company's duty of care. Directors and officers will have a positive duty to ensure their businesses comply with their safety obligations under new occupational, health and safety laws. Under the new laws, officers could be personally liable for up to $600,000 in fines and/or 5 years' imprisonment if they recklessly breach their duty and it results in, or exposes a person to, serious harm.

Union rights

Unions will lose the power to prosecute for an OH&S offence (currently allowed in NSW). Unions will have the right to enter any workplace to:

  • Investigate suspected breaches of the OH&S Act or regulations;
  • Consult with and provide advice to workers on OH&S issues;
  • Consult with the person in control of a workplace on OH&S issues; and
  • Health and safety representatives will have the power to direct work to cease where they feel the work will pose an immediate threat to any person. They can also issue provisional improvement notices. These powers would be new to New South Wales and Tasmania.
OH&S consultation

Clearer guidelines will be provided on employee consultation requirements. This includes the need to consult when:

  • Identifying hazards and assessing the risks of work performed;
  • Making decisions about ways to eliminate or control those risks;
  • Proposing changes that may directly affect the health and safety of workers; and
  • Making decisions regarding OH&S procedures.
Incident notification

Incident notification requirements will be uniform across all states with the employer having responsibility to notify the regulator immediately when there is a fatality, serious injury, serious illness or a dangerous incident.

Role of inspectors and regulators

The role of inspectors and regulators will be nationally consistent. Inspectors will be able to:

  • Investigate suspected breaches of OH&S legislation;
  • Issue infringement notices, improvement notices and prohibition notices; and
  • Provide advice and assist in the resolution of issues at workplaces. A regulator will be able to:
  • Seek an injunction when there is an ongoing breach of a prohibition notice; and
  • Compel compliance with an improvement notice after the time period has expired.

It is proposed that there will be four levels of penalties for breaches of the regulations, commensurate with the significance of the breach. These levels are:

Offences that are 'linked' to the WHS Act, specifically to either the general duties or the authorisations provisions, with penalties up to $3 million for reckless endangerment by a corporation, and $1.5 million for breaches giving rise to a risk of death or serious injury.

Stand-alone offences are:

  • Breaches of risk assessment requirements or other breaches giving rise to a risk of death or serious injury are $30,000 to $60,000 for corporations and $12,000 for individuals.
  • Breaches of general risk control, signage and notification requirements are $18,000 to $36,000 for corporations and $7,200 for individuals.
  • Breaches of record keeping and similar low level requirements, and breaches by workers of specific requirements are $6,000 for corporations and $1,250 for individuals.
  • Provision will also be made for infringement notices to be issued with penalties set at between $1,200 and $3,600 for a corporation.
  • Compliance with codes of practice will not be mandatory, but they may be used in proceedings to demonstrate what was known about hazards, risks and risk controls.
  • The Industrial Relations Court will no longer have jurisdiction to hear safety matters. Matters will be dealt with by the Local Court (where the maximum penalty may be imposed is $50,000) and the District Court.
Transitional Arrangements

All jurisdictions have agreed to a set of principles which will ensure that transitional arrangements are consistent across Australia, although some variations will be inevitable as each jurisdiction will be transitioning from a different work health and safety system.

Preparing for the transition

During the transition of the new harmonisation laws, which run to January 2012, present laws remain in place, however readers are advised to keep track of what is happening in their jurisdictions and assess and evaluate current OH&S practices to determine WHS Act compliance and in particular the adequacy of officers' due diligence practices.

Readers are also advised to consider and assess the appropriateness of their current policies and procedures (such as consultation arrangements, election of health and safety representatives, training) to ensure that these are complaint and adequate.

Daniel Richards, Blackwood's National Category Manager for Safety, says Blackwoods has a number of safety services to help companies through this transition period, and beyond.

"Blackwoods is the market leader in safety, with the widest range of products available and access to the broadest network of manufacturer expertise.

"We have a number of key account managers and safety specialists to co-ordinate and assist companies through the changes, to assist companies through the changes, to bring their sites up to compliance using our on-site services; most of which are free.

"For example we can conduct signage assessments, where we look at all the signage on site and all the various risks and hazards on the site to make sure the company has enough identification of them, providing plenty of warning."

Other workplace services include respiratory and hearing fit testing, drug and alcohol testing, spill and first aid kit maintenance and 'top-ups', emergency response site assessments, dangerous goods reviews, traffic management programs and materials handling and lifting certification.

Richards explained that following a partnership commitment with Blackwoods, companies are assigned a dedicated person to work through selected KPIs.

"We also spend time working with the customer to identify issues and establish an agreed action plan incorporating onsite services.

"As well as implementing individual onsite programs and encouraging worker involvement, we ascertain feedback and assessment for regular review meetings," Richards said.

"With the world moving and changing each year, positive changes such as this are sure to have a positive impact on the health and well being of Australian workers, with the primary goal to reduce injury.

"Time will tell what impact does indeed occur, as many companies move to keep up with the changes," Richards said.

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Top Marks For A Top Team

Top Marks For A Top Team

North Melbourne AFL club Update

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2012

The North Melbourne AFL club now measures its success by club wins both on and off the footy field, offering a lesson for other sporting clubs, and industry, in community involvement.

The back pages of most newspapers around the world are jam-packed with the latest sports news regarding results and team news of a wide range of sports, however many of today's leading sports clubs are also heavily involved in equally newsworthy work with their local community, and beyond.

For example, when the North Melbourne AFL club set up a new administration back in 2008, CEO Eugene Arocca knew the club had to reconnect with the North Melbourne community.

"We felt that before we could have any credibility in growing our markets elsewhere we needed to look after our own backyard; and the innovative 'Huddle' concept was created."

The Huddle is an educational and community facility set up to enhance social cohesion by addressing youth disengagement in the local area, and to re-define the way in which sporting organisations interact with their communities.

"When we built the new facility here at Arden Street, we created a fully fitted out 30-person classroom with state-of-the-art technology which is called the 'Huddle', and is offered free of charge to some 20 schools in the area.

"Within a radius of 10 kilometres of the club, secondary and primary school children visit the classroom for at least one day a year, to engage in education curriculum based programs that primarily revolve around local history, social values and character strengths," Arocca said.

"We have had about 5000 children attend the classroom on a yearly basis. It's not the usual football club model, where players go out on the track and handball the footy around for half an hour or so with the kids. Here, we have full-time accredited teachers who engage with the children and work with the schools to give them a better understanding of social values, local history, multi-culturism, and social cohesion," Arocca explained.

"We offer everything from homework classes and tutoring for VCE students to computer literacy skills and employment search skills for local members of the community," he said.

Arocca explained the Huddle is in use seven days a week from 8am to 7pm for both young children and older people who are looking for assistance in finding jobs or receiving advice or assistance with other skills.

"It is an unique engagement for any sporting club in Australia," Arocca said. We also have 46 players who work through the Huddle. They have an opportunity to engage with the students in a unique way, working with children on social values to their benefit rather than just doing training drills."

Arocca described the Huddle as a unique IP that the club would like to replicate in Hobart and Ballarat (see below).

"The Huddle is a unique fusion of education, health and sport and gives us a significant point of difference to other AFL clubs. If there is going to be redevelopment of the Hobart stadium, we would love to think that the Huddle, could be part of it and would allow us to continue to do the great work we are doing here at Aegis Park."

The Huddle employs full-time accredited teachers who engage with local children and work with schools to give them a better understanding of social values, local history, multi-culturalism and social cohesion

Arocca says the Huddle concept has attracted interest from other sporting clubs in Australia and other parts of the world. "Just last week we had Michael Long from AFL Northern Territory as a guest, and the NBA from the US came through to look at we are doing. So when we talk about growing our supporter base, we lead with the Huddle as being our primary engagement with the local community, and if you engage with the children, you generally get the parents," he said.

“What we provide is a genuine opportunity for people to feel engaged and embraced and give them an opportunity to aspire to better things. It could be as simple as bike riding classes for those who don't know how to ride, to computer literacy skills, through to encouraging the young African residents in the area to become involved in AFL and/or basketball. We have a state-of-the-art facility which includes a basketball court and up to 30 young people from African backgrounds come and play on a Sunday night in a competition. With the use of our facilities, we have encouraged the 'African Warriors' to play AFL and compete against other teams around Victoria. But importantly they feel some connection, ownership and a sense of belonging."

Arocca says social cohesion is what drives the Huddle and the club. "We want to see people using the football club to connect with their community, football and sport.

"A lot of the children who attend the classroom have English as their second language. We are providing a keyhole entry for these kids who wouldn't normally get the opportunity to engage with a football club and an elite sporting organisation."

However Arocca admits it's a two way street. "We get the advantage of working closely with more than 5000 children a year and hopefully many of them start to barrack for the Kangaroos."

With strong support from the Scanlon Foundation and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, he said the club has four key values; courage, innovation, class and care.

"These values are very important to a football club. It's no accident that we recently formed a relationship with World Vision.

"We don't have gambling or gaming revenue as part of our business model and believe we walk the talk in social values and community engagement, and that is why World Vision has agreed to work with us."

Arocca also took the opportunity to thank Blackwoods for its support over the past four years.

"Blackwoods has been a fantastic partner. Their continued support allows us to do what we do, and we would like to acknowledge them for their support," Arocca said.

Expanding client base

Like many companies, the North Melbourne AFL club realised it needed to expand its membership (client base) to remain viable. The problem was the club is traditionally one of AFL's smaller clubs, and is landlocked by a couple of other AFL clubs in the west and north west of Melbourne.

Arocca explained that the club's traditional membership and supporter base was also in the smaller bracket compared to opposition clubs like Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon, Richmond, Hawthorn and Geelong. "When we worked out a strategy for growth, history told us that clubs don't extend their supporter base by significant amounts over a long period of time without a few things going their way. If we simply redeveloped our facility and hoped and prayed our numbers would grow, it would not have worked," Arocca said.

"So in 2008, with the board's support, we made the conscious decision of identifying opportunities for us to grow our supporter base outside of Melbourne. We identified two areas; Southern Tasmania and Ballarat. "We believe by taking AFL football to these areas, the opportunity for the club to be embraced in those regions is significantly more attractive than hoping and praying for natural membership growth locally. Both areas love their footy, with AFL the sport of choice, particularly for Tasmania.”

Arocca explained the present deal regarding Tasmania is a three year deal to play two games a year in Hobart. All we can do is to continue doing what we are doing, working with the community, play the footy, engage with the fans and make sure everyone is happy. Our experience suggests that if you play football in a particular area, over time you will recruit new members who didn't previously support the club and at the same time, entrench the members who do support North Melbourne. Right now we have around 30,000 members Australia wide, and with 10% of our members now from Tasmania that's a healthy endorsement of our strategy.

However, Arocca says the bottom line is not the key driver.

"The actual bottom line from playing two of our games in Tasmania is irrelevant, the overall strategy of growing the Tasmanian supporter base is far more significant. We are engaging with the community and the football match is part of the engagement, but not the sole driver. The whole move has been very positive; our first game of the year at Hobart's Blundstone Arena, against Greater Western Sydney, attracted more than 11,000 spectators," he said.

(For the record, the Kangaroos won by 129 points, 28.15 (183) to 8.6 (54).)

Arocca said the club identified Ballarat as being something of a mirror image of Southern Tasmania, and one of the fastest growing regional corridors in Australia.

"With rusted-on AFL supporters, just over an hour out of Melbourne with an ever improving infrastructure by way of trains and roads, we think Ballarat is a good fit for North Melbourne, particularly if a stadium is built.

"We are using the same philosophy as Tasmania, if they build a stadium they will come and they will stay to become members of North Melbourne. The number of kids who went to the Tassie game who could lean over the fence and see an AFL player up close for the first time in their lives, gives you a good chance of them wearing a North Melbourne jumper the next time they come. We want to use that same philosophy in Ballarat," Arocca said.

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Blackwoods Sustainability

Blackwoods Sustainability

Business doing its bit for the planet

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2012

With limited resources on planet earth, it's up to responsible individuals and companies to address the ongoing capacity of ecosystems to maintain all life.

Environmental sustainability is all about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

By becoming sustainable, we can reduce our environmental footprint and help preserve the world's precious natural resources.

Business sustainability is about creating processes that do not compromise the human and natural resources now or in the future, while continuing to deliver value to key stakeholders.

Business and industry has a crucial role to play in helping Australia to become more sustainable and competitive. As a result, many Australian organisations and industries are responding by reducing their environmental impacts and risks through improved environmental management practices and efficient use of natural resources.

Blackwoods is one Australian company committed to ensuring its operations do not adversely affect the environment.

Craig Jones, Sustainability Manager for Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety, (of which Blackwoods is a part), says the company is continually working on conserving resources with a focus on energy efficiency and waste reduction. "For example, at our Smithfield operation in western Sydney, as part of our sustainability program, we have installed a cardboard baler to improve our recycling efficiencies and reduce our operating costs.

Following a successful trial of the baler, and a safety risk assessment to ensure it met our very high safety standards, including a safety curtain to protect workers, we were able to remove a large compactor which was expensive to operate.

In the process we were able to save around 50% of our waste costs for that site, plus we were able to divert all the pallet wrapping plastic and other types of soft plastic from the warehouse, which was previously going to landfill, to be recycled.

Following the success in Smithfield, we have piloted and implemented a machine at our Canning Vale operation in Western Australia.

They already had some cardboard recycling, but the balers are also about improving labour efficiencies. The warehouse workers no longer need to go out to the recycling bins, instead they are able to put cardboard or plastic in the baler which is inside the warehouse.

We are also piloting balers at our Carole Park in Brisbane and Scoresby in Melbourne and are looking to roll it out to our other larger sites; those with high volumes.”

Jones said another benefit of the cardboard baler installation is that the company now receives a rebate for cardboard as the company on-sells the cardboard.

"For each ton of cardboard that is picked up in bales, we receive a rebate from our waste provider. Compacting bales also allows the waste provider to reduce the number of collection trips for cardboard and plastic, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transport," Jones said.

We have also been looking at ways to reduce our lighting needs internally and have piloted more efficient high bay lights in our Canning Vale Perth distribution centre.

As well as more efficient lighting, the high bay lights are also compatible with daylight sensors.

In the warehouse there is plenty of natural light, so when there is sufficient daylight, the lights automatically switch off. Then when it gets darker they automatically switch on again.

As well as more efficient lighting, the high bay lights are also compatible with daylight sensors

We are still assessing the pilot, but early indications are that the installation has been very successful. We have seen a big decrease in energy consumption, relative to activity.

In other recent sustainability efforts, Blackwoods has decreased its printing per million dollars of revenue by 16% since 2009 through the introduction of wireless warehousing, electronic transactions with customers and suppliers, and operational print reduction initiatives such as the Paper-Less Desktop Widget.

The Widget, as reported in the March 2011 issue of TecTorque, is simply a monitoring software system which displays an employee's paper usage on their desktop and compares it with average company use. While simple, Jones says the Widget is very effective in reducing paper usage.

In addition, the company is also reducing its ecological footprint in this area by primarily using paper from a sustainable source - not only internally, but also for all its stable of external publications including TecTorque, brochures and promotional material.

Another move showing company wide emission reductions has been the expansion of Blackwood's fleet of Toyota Camry Hybrid cars, which has grown from 66 to 136 in the past year.

The Camry Hybrid produces 25 to 30% less CO2 emissions than regular cars mainly due to its second electric, battery powered engine, which recharges via the petrol engine.

And to help customers be more sustainable, Blackwoods has developed a range of waste management and recycling signs. The signs are made from 50% recycled plastic and can also be recycled.

Government assistance

TecTorque readers should be aware that there are Government programs available to assist companies on their sustainability journey. Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced a $1bn in funding package for manufacturers to improve energy efficiency and reduce pollution.

The Clean Technology Investment Programs will provide grants to help manufacturers buy new plant and equipment which cuts their energy costs or reduces carbon pollution.

The Industry and Innovation Minister, Greg Combet, launched the $800m Clean Technology Investment Program and the $200m Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program as part of the Government's Clean Energy Future package.

Combet also announced that the Government would change co-contribution requirements to make the grant programs more attractive for small and medium-sized firms.

Manufacturers with turnovers of less than $100m requesting funding under $500,000 will now only have to match the government grants on a dollar for dollar basis.

For more information visit

Safety spectacles

There are an increasing number of environmentally aware companies releasing products onto the Australian industrial market. For example, uvex recently released the pheos blue safety spectacles which combine style and functionality with 'green design credentials'. All of the materials used are made from environmentally friendly bioplastics sourced from natural substances.

The pheos blue eco-friendly protective safety spectacles are based on natural raw materials (organic) with the same characteristic properties as the uvex pheos standard and uvex pheos 's' versions.

All the materials of the 'green design' spectacles are made up of environmentally-friendly bioplastics sourced from raw plant materials. The soft ear piece components are made from corn starch. The biocarbon component of the lens has been extracted from castor oil. The bioplastics used for the sidearms are made from castor oil.

According to the company, the functionality of the safety spectacles is in no way compromised as a result of using raw plant materials, and they fulfil all safety and comfort demands while at the same time protecting the environment.

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Blackwoods Enters Indonesia

Blackwoods Enters Indonesia

Indonesian Operation Set For Growth

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Winter 2012

Part of the Indonesian Team, Left to right: Jim Beveridge: Global Supply & Logistics Manager, Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety; Ahmad Muslimin Shaleh – Customer Sales Officer, Sarana Prima Optima; Robisuk Gulthom – Warehouse Manager, Agility Logistics; Olivier Chretien – Managing Director, Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety; Dyah Pratiwi – Customer Sales Officer, Sarana Prima Optima; Allan Tosh – General Manager Northern Region, Blackwoods Australia; Chris Bruderlin – Country Manager, Blackwoods Indonesia; Hendra Novan – National HSE Officer – Agility Logistics.

Blackwoods first venture outside Australia and New Zealand is well positioned for success with strong customer support already.

Over many decades Blackwoods has developed a highly successful business model; reliably delivering an extensive range of workplace essentials, plus offering great value and great service to its many thousands of customers across Australia and New Zealand, as well as exporting to the Pacific Rim and Africa.

Now Blackwoods has taken the next bold step and opened a new operation in Balikpapan in the resource-rich province of East Kalimantan on the Indonesian side of Borneo.

With a population of just over half a million, Balikpapan is the key city for the surrounding coal and oil and gas industries.

Chris Bruderlin, Blackwoods Country Manager for Indonesia, says this is an exciting project and one that is well positioned to succeed.

"While it is early days, we have only been open a couple of months, all the feedback has been positive.

"Our customers are very happy with our service, and the quality of our products we supply," Bruderlin said.

He explained that most of his clients are fairly large companies, many of them Australian, either owned or affiliated.

"To date, our customers are very impressed with the size of our warehouse and the wide range of products relevant to local industry that we stock. We presently carry in excess of 4000 product lines and expect that number to grow in line with customer requirements.

"At the moment we have 20 employees here, both indirectly and indirectly, but that figure will grow as our business continues to grow." Bruderlin says the breadth of product categories stocked in the Balikpapan warehouse is fairly comparable with other Blackwoods warehouses in Australia.

"For example, we took an approximate profile of the stock that we normally carry in Mackay, which primarily services the mining operations of the region.

"We also took a profile of our branch in Darwin that supports the oil and gas industry of that region. Basically we have mirrored those operations.

"However, if for some reason we don't have a product in stock in Balikpapan, we are able to draw upon the extensive stockholding in our Australasian Distribution Centres.

"This includes bringing products into Balikpapan or we can ship directly to our customers in remote locations throughout the Indonesian Archipelago, depending on our customers' needs.

"With downtime the enemy of all resource companies here, we are now able to provide a valuable service to them. Keeping things running is everything to our customers, and we deliver," Bruderlin said.

He explained that the highest standards of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHS&E) are core values of Blackwoods in any geography in which the company operates.

"Whist some of the behavioural aspects of this did and continues to present some challenges, it is really pleasing to note that the Balikpapan operation is meeting our highest OHS&E standards," he said.

While Sydney-born Bruderlin, who has been living in Indonesia for many years, says there are minimal security issues in the region, plus the area is not prone to natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes, he admits the climate can be difficult for newcomers. "It's either hot and raining, or hot and not raining."

Over the past two decades, Indonesia's coal industry has transformed itself into one of the world's largest exporter of steam coal. However Bruderlin says there is a good mix of the coal and the oil and gas industries in the region.

"While they are not sitting on top of each other, Balikpapan is the closest main city and acts as the hub for both industries," he said.

Bruderlin says the size and the opportunities of Indonesia are spectacular. "There are some fantastic opportunities here in Indonesia, the people are great; they are very kind, helpful and polite and I'm quite happy to be here. We have only been open a short time, but it is all looking very encouraging. It is expected that this will just be the beginning of our business in Indonesia, and we are likely to expand over time," Bruderlin said.

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Major JBS Tools prize announced

Major JBS Tools prize announced

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2012

Tool investment has paid dividends for a budding first year electrical apprentice, his employer and his TAFE, with each sharing in the $15,000 JBS Tools prize.

Dylan Schorer, first year apprentice with S&M Doyle Electrical Contractors in Albany, WA, might be more inclined to enter competitions following his exciting $5000 win of JBS Tools as part of this year’s Trade Team Apprentice Draw, courtesy of Blackwoods popular Trade Team 2012 publication.

“This is the first time I have entered a competition. I’m incredibly surprised, and excited,” he told TecTorque.Dylan attributes staff at Blackwoods’ Albany branch for him entering the competition in the first place. “It was Rebecca (Nordink) who encouraged me, that was how I got started. She said I should take the time to enter for a chance of winning,” he said.

“I didn’t think any more about it. Then I started talking to the guys at work who encouraged me. They reckoned I could win. So eventually I came up with the 40 words. It was that long ago, I can’t remember what I wrote now. “It was a long wait before we heard anything. But when I did get the call from Blackwoods, I was incredibly surprised,” Dylan said. As well as Dylan winning $5000 of JBS tools for himself and his employer, his training institute, Great Southern Institute of Technology also won $5000 of JBS tools. Dylan’s entry was selected by drag racing triple champion and JBS Tools ambassador, Wayne Newby.

To be eligible to enter into the competition entrants must have been undertaking an apprenticeship or government approved traineeship, and have purchased a product from the Trade Team publication.

The competition required entrants to explain in 40 words or less what they, their TAFE, and their employer would do with the prize. When TecTorque spoke to Dylan he was sifting his way through Blackwoods’ catalogue and browsing the website, trying to work out what to spend his $5000 on. “There is too much to choose from. I have been through the huge catalogue and have circled many of the items already. I’ll have to make a short list soon.

“I had just bought a JBS 177 piece tool set when I entered the competition. So at this stage I’m looking at individual tools. I always wanted a battery powered drill,” he said. Dylan explained that he only started as a first year apprentice in January this year. “But I love the job, it’s brilliant.

“I enjoy being in the workshop, where all the tools and equipment you need are at hand; when you need them. You don’t have to go searching for them, I know where everything is,” he said.

“I spend a lot of my time on manufacturing the electrical boards. So I’m part boilermaker, part electrician. It’s broad based training, which I like. I really enjoy the electrical work, it’s really good,” he said. Despite all the changes in technology in the industry, Dylan says he is still asked to sweep the floor. Some things never change. “I generally keep the place pretty tidy, though the boss tries to mess it up as much as he can,” he joked. “I also get out of the workshop, on road trips to jobs in other towns in the area whenever I’m needed, which I also enjoy,” Dylan said. Employer wins as Well John Doyle, owner of the small electrical contracting business, says Dylan is a worthy recipient. “He will go on to make a first class tradesman,” he said. John explained that Dylan entered the competition when his Tools For Your Trade (TFYT) allowance came through earlier this year. “We were in Blackwoods, and after reading all the competition details, we thought we should give it a go. “Dylan did and he was successful. We are very pleased,” he said. John, who also won $5000 worth of JBS tools for his business as part of the prize, said that apart from Lotto, he was not a regular competition enterer. “It was a big surprise when I heard we had won. We had onlybeen talking about the competition a couple of days before we won, saying some lucky person must have won. “Then on the Friday afternoon we got the phone call. It was brilliant,” he said John explained that he and Dylan have their own wish lists. “I’ve got my eyes on a good JBS air compressor, plus maybe some hydraulic lifting tables for heavy items. “We are pretty well set up here with JBS gear; we already have five tool chests. We build our work benches or the tool chests just to slide under. So everything has a home and it’s working out really well.

Part boilermaker, part electrician, Dylan Schorer with one of the company’s electrical switchboards

“I’m absolutely thrilled with the prize and very excited about it. “We are only a small company, and we strive to do the best possible job we can, but one of the things my father did for me was he gave me the time to learn and I’m really endeavouring to give my apprentices the time to learn to do their job well.” John says his business is doing very well, “ticking over quite nicely in a depressed market”.

“We are in the country, so it’s difficult in one respect because we don’t have the buying power of our Perth cousins and have to carry a lot more stock than them. “We have learnt to be self -sufficient because we can’t job anything out. You can’t get a sheet-metal worker to do our job and visa-versa so we have had to learn all the skills to do the whole package. “So then we design something, we design it with the thought of how it’s is going to be for the person installing it, from an electrical perspective not from a fabricators perspective. That helps as well,” he said. Doyle explained that the company was formed by his father in 1948 in York WA, then re-established in Albany in 1958. “The company has been operating as an electrical contractor under the same name ever since, and Blackwoods has been our supplier since that time; when they were known as Atkins over here. “Over the years, we have always designed and manufactured electrical switchboards, but now we are a little smaller with just four electricians, including myself, and two office staff. “Now it’s not so much switchboard work for ourselves but for other electrical contractors. We also do light engineering and basically anything in that field.

We still buy all our consumables from Blackwoods, plus other materials such as cables. We’ve never had any issues with their service or the products they sell. It has been really good,” John said. And or 013 Employers and apprentices should be aware that the unique Blackwoods Trade Team publication and promotion will be back again in 2013. Early next year will see the next edition of the unique Trade Team publications distributed, with thousands of copies sent or delivered directly to individual apprentices; with many copies sent directly or handed by Blackwoods Account Managers to TAFE colleges, TAFE teachers and directors of colleges, all of whom supported previous Trade Team activities; and further copies to be sent to contacts at Apprentice Training Centres Australia wide. Copies are also available at Blackwoods branches and can be viewed at As in 2012, the Trade Team competition will run from 1st February 2013 through till 31st May 2013. For more information on the Trade Team publication and next year’s Trade Team Apprentice Draw keep your eye on

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Women In Industry

Women In Industry

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2012

With skills shortages right across industry, it’s no surprise to see women working alongside men in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Think of the mining industry and you used to think of blokes, it’s a similar story with manufacturing, engineering and the print industries. But that was yesterday’s news, today whatever facet of industry you look at, you are likely to find an increasing number of women involved. However, women advocates say much more can be done regarding women working in traditionally male dominated industries.

A recent ‘Women in NSW 2012’ report showed men earned on average 14% more than women, translating into an extra $200 a week. According to Pru Goward, NSW Minister for Women, the gender pay gap will only close if more women work in manual trades. Launching the report, Goward said the male domination of highly paid manual trade jobs was partly to blame for the continuing gender gap in NSW. The report found that women in NSW held just 10% of construction jobs and 1% of apprenticeships in the building sector.

Mining industry

Like many young people going into uni, Kristie Atkinson was not sure what career she really wanted to pursue. “I had studied science and maths at high school so I started out with a science degree. “However after my first year at University of Queensland I knew science was not for me; I hated it. So I took some time off and travelled for a while. “When I got back I looked at science related areas such as geology and geography, not knowing what they really were,” Kristie said. “Geology looked like it should be fun, and I’d get to work outside, so I did a couple of courses and just kept going. “I did some part time work with a mining consultancy company while I studied, plus I worked within the geology department as a student geologist. “I also took part in a vacation program, working full-time with a coal mining company over the three-month summer holidays before I graduated with a degree in science, majoring in geology which was in August 2011,” she explained.

Saxon Rice (right) being taught how to weld by Zoe Girgenti, who was offered a full apprenticeship at the end of the program.

Kristie then started working for the Barrik Gold Corporation, the world’s largest gold producer, in the same month. “So I gained a little bit of experience while I studied but this is my first job, here in WA, as a qualified geologist,” she said. Kristie is based at Barrik’s isolated Plutonic mine site, roughly 1000km north east of Perth with a small airstrip for workers to fly in and out. “There are probably around 300 people on site at any one time,” she explained. “I hadn’t really thought about the mining industry being a male-dominated industry until I spoke with friends who told me some stories about work on mine sites. It completely freaked me out, until I actually got out here. “I have no problems at all. At first you can tell it is different, with very few girls on site, but after a while you don’t notice it. The guys are just work friends, just like any other job,” she said. Kristie assumed when she took the mine site job that she would have to be one of the boys, “but that’s not true”. “I have never had any problems with sexism, the guys have always treated me with a lot of respect. I rely on the skills and knowledge I bring to the role. While there maybe fewer women in engineering at the moment, it’s not an issue and it’s changing,” she said.

Queensland initiatives

An innovative program to address skills shortages and encourage women into the welding trade was officially launched in Queensland earlier this year. Assistant Minister for Technical and Further Education, Saxon Rice, said growing the skills base of Queensland’s female workers opens up new avenues to tackle skills shortage issues in areas like welding.

“The Women Who Weld program offers females the ability to gain skills and enter an area of the job market that is both expanding and potentially well-paid. “From a practical, high-level economic perspective, it taps into a largely unexplored market for workers that will seal skill gaps. “In addition to general industry demand, Queensland has a burgeoning CSG-LNG (Coal Seam Gas - Liquid Natural Gas) industry that is driving up the number of welders needed.

“Attracting more females into welding and retaining them in the workforce is for the betterment of industry and will produce longer term social and economic gains,” Rice said.

She explained that the program is a partnership between Atlas Heavy Engineering and Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ). Leanne Hixon, who manages MSQ’s Manufacturing and Engineering Gateway Schools Project, said Australia needs to look at innovative ways to tap into that potential workforce, as opposed to poaching people from other occupations and industry areas to fill the skills gap. Hixon acknowledges a trade can be an intimidating path for a woman to follow, but he believes the Women Who Weld program offers a “safe environment” to try something new. “The beauty of this program is they don’t have to go into a big class with all the boys and be the only girl. They can give it a try and see if it is for them without that pressure,” Hixon said. Atlas Heavy Engineering is one of Australia’s major suppliers to the earthmoving attachment industry and employs 110 tradespeople – until now, all men. Atlas’s GM, Rex Vegt, said the program is primarily a practical course designed to engender interest in welding, fabricating and boilermaking.

“If anyone shows a lot of interest and aptitude there’s the chance of an apprenticeship down the track – it’s all well and good to train people, but there needs to be a light at the end,” Vegt said.

Elsewhere in Queensland, the Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek recently announced applications had opened for the first round of the Queensland Government’s. Supporting Women Scholarships. He said 500 scholarships of up to $20,000 would be available over our years for women who study subjects in male dominated industries and go on to work in those fields.

Print industry

With over 20 plus years in the print industry, Susan Heaney, CEO of Heaney Print, has witnessed first hand vast changes in attitudes to women in what is still perceived by many as a male-dominated industry.

When I first started, I would go to a function and be the only woman in the room. Now there will be five or six – Susan Heaney.

“When I first started, I would go to a function and be the only woman in the room. Now if I’m lucky there will be five or six, but there are some functions where the balance is much closer.

“Today I’m still treated a bit different by my peers, because I’m a woman. But it used to be aa lot more than now," Susan said. "In the early days it was difficult and it took many years to break it down,” she said. “I don’t think we are there yet; there is still a way to go because there are a lot of people out there with old-fashioned antiquated ideas. They are mainly from smaller companies, who are not dealing in the big pool,” she said. Susan talks proudly of her Women in Print initiative, which she was instrumental in setting up in 2006. It offers team support, networking opportunities and access to mentoring programs and guidance to young women coming through in all areas of the industry.

“The growth has been pretty phenomenal. We had 290 in 2007, then 500 plus this year,” she said.

However, Susan believes glass ceilings for women still exist, but says a lot depends on where they work in the print industry. “I don’t think it is anywhere near as prevalent as it used to be as I’m coming across an ever-increasing number of women in senior roles in the big print companies. Though Susan does admit they do tend to be in the sales and marketing areas and mainly in the digital and wide format areas; “certainly not in offset printing, that is still pretty blokey”. According to Susan, the print industry has always been an exciting industry to work in. “Technology in our industry is always changing. The other positive is that it is an international business. That’s something young people often overlook. They can pick up a job anywhere in the world.” However, Susan admits it is a very tough industry to make money in.

But for young women thinking of entering the print industry she advises them to look beyond the traditional office and apprenticeship roles. “There are a lot of web to print roles available, plus there are opportunities in IT. “Here we offer cadetships where young men and women can learn all facets of the print industry. Susan says being traditionally a blokey industry shouldn’t put young women off entering the print industry. “On my floor for example, I have women in all roles. They are running my bindery machines, they are also in pre- press, in sales and marketing, health and safety, environmental. And it’s not a dirty industry any-more,” Susan said.

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Is your work site really safe?

Is your work site really safe?

Written by Alan Johnson, for TecTorque Summer 2012

Most managers believe their workers are fully protected from injury in the workplace, however that might not always be the c

Every senior manager in industry believes they have a safe workplace, be it a mines site, a factory, an engineering shop or a construction site. Most will tell you the protection of their workers is their most critical focus for their organisation. While the sentiment is 100% correct, reality can be a little different. It has been shown that it often takes fresh eyes from a third party, a company outsider, or safety specialist to recognise certain hazards that impact in a company’s ‘zero-harm’ objectives. Recognising these issues, Blackwoods began rolling out its Onsite Safety Assessments program earlier this year to key customers. Daniel Richards, National Category Manager with Blackwoods, says employee welfare is an industry imperative. “Keeping staff up to date with current safety technologies, legislation, standards and techniques is vital. “This program aims to form a strategic partnership with our key customers, offering onsite assessments that provide tangible solutions. “While it is early days, feedback from customers who have used our service to date shows there is strong demand and they have been very impressed with the service we offer,” Richards said. “We are able to provide our customers documented recommendations in all areas of safety, for both existing staff and contractors,” Richards said.

Some of the many onsite safety assessments include:

Lockout/tagout process and compliance - Systems and protocols around isolation of machinery and equipment.

Hand protection, awareness and glove selection program - Selecting the right gloves to maximise employee safety and efficiency, including production output.

First Aid component maintenance - Review of first aid stations across the site, covering accessibility and ongoing kit ‘top-up’.

Traffic management solutions - Separating people from machine, including traffic and onsite working equipment such as forklifts.

Safety harness inspection and toolbox talks – Compliance with expiry under the standards, implementation of self-sufficient management of equipment.

Prescription safety eyewear programs - Compliance to medium impact standards, integrated with employee prescription requirements.

Signage and identification assessment - Review of hazards across the whole site, in accordance with relevant standards.

Environmental spill control - Identification of environmental hazards, isolating and minimising risk associated.

Dangerous goods assessment - Review of chemical and gas storage, in accordance with standards and risk management.

Workplace drug and alcohol testing - Onsite testing by an independent external assessor, or inhouse management and reporting.

Emergency response – Chemical management, preparedness planning.

Custom embroidery, screen printing and colour coding - Tailored solutions for head protection and clothing, in accordance with company guidelines.

Richards explained that the service can be mixed and matched to customers’ requirements.

“Some of our customers have asked us to review a different service or area a month over twelve months, while other customers just want a review in one specific area,” he said. “Basically, Blackwoods instigates a discussion with a customer, in which they identify where they need some help, based on the many assessments we provide. “We then contact the relevant safety manufacturer who will visit the site, share their findings with us, and we then put together a recommendation relevant to their area of concern and forward it to the customer for evaluation.

“We do have individual safety specialists in-house with the assessment capability, but generally we use our manufacturing suppliers who have intimate and specialised expertise in their field in a joint call program. This way a knowledge base is built and then shared across the National safety network within our business.

“Probably the most popular area with our customers at this stage has been the Lockout/Tagout isolation review, closely followed by the signage and identification assessment we offer. These are the two areas often overlooked and we find most people have little understanding about current legislation.

Having the right equipment for the job is critical

“When it comes to PPE, the protection of the worker, the site visits involve the supplier coming on site, reviewing what they are using in what applications, current usage patterns and whether there are any potential improvements for the site.”

“They also talk to the working staff about their comfort levels with their current PPE, plus whether they experience any issues in their day to day activities.”

“Once we have that feedback, as an independent assessor, we include this with a summary of recommendation and present that back to management for discussion,” he said.

As an example, Richards spoke about a large Australian coal mine which was using over 80,000 pairs of low cost safety spectacles a year.

“At $3.50 a pair that equated to a spend of around $280,000 a year,” he said. “However, when our spectacle supplier uvex carried out a review of the company’s eyewear, it was identified that the reason they were going through so many pairs was that the low cost spectacles were easily scratched and were being discarded after very little usage. “To overcome the problem, they trialled hard coated uvex spectacles over a period in one of the high consumption areas. While initially being more expensive, the spectacles lasted at least four times longer, resulting in significant cost savings, far less wastage and due to comfort and wearer acceptance, a safer workforce.

“Following implementation, the usage of spectacles fell to 20,000 a year, a saving of 60,000 pairs of spectacles and a cost saving of $80,000 a year,” Richards said. “Our goal is to assist our customers meet their ‘zero-harm objectives, reduce cost, improve efficiency or increase worker satisfaction and compliance. Through the co-ordination of many ‘subject matter experts’ within our broad supplier partners, we are able to bring knowledge and prior learning experience to all of our customers” says Richards.

“We understand the issues that arise at safety committee meetings and are able to recommend solutions quickly and efficiently, by bringing the customer-manufacturer relationship much closer together. “Typical challenges we encounter with worker safety include incorrect sizing and fit of PPEs, wrong product selection for the application, inferior product quality, poor comfort and over protection.

“These issues can have a number of effects including reduced performance, injury, workers refusing to wear PPE and worker dissatisfaction, with outcomes of a poor safety culture, high incident rates, high overall costs and staff turnover,” Richards said. “With changes to workplace legislation in 2012 around harmonisation, the Blackwoods site assessment program is tailored to assist our customers bring zero harm across their workplace. “By bridging the gap between manufacturer expertise and site challenges, Blackwoods become the interface to assist everyday customers in achieving their objectives,” Richards said.

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Sparks still fly as welder turns artist

Sparks still fly as welder turns artist

A 5m crocodile welded from scrap steel was the catalyst for a life-changing opportunity for a talented NT welder

When Wayne 'Liwingu' McGinness was working as a welder in the Northern Territory in 2008, he had no idea that a wrought iron decoration he made for a sliding gate at his family's new home outside Darwin would have such an impact on his life.

Wayne explained that the five metre crocodile decoration, made out of rusty recycled mild steel, was how the metamorphosis from welder to artist all started.

"Rather than do the normal stuff found on gates, I used some of Mum and Dad's paintings and patterns, who are both artists, to make something different out of steel.

"The feedback from that first piece was fantastic, 'I've never seen anything like it' was a typical comment. And it has just grown from there," he said.

By combining his love of aboriginal art with his skills as a steel fabricator, Wayne has developed his own style of steel art, and now runs a thriving business, Aboriginal Steel Art, which he operates from the backyard of his family home in Kuranda, Far North Queensland.

Each of his steel sculptures is unique and represents the animals of his childhood, animals of his grandfather's land, and animals he and his family hunted, or avoided.

"That first piece received such a great response that I began experimenting with different Australian animals and techniques," Wayne said.

"Then after my wife (Lucy) and I did some research, to see if others were doing similar things and found no one was, we decided to sell up in Darwin and use the money we made from it to move here, where Mum and Dad live.

"We used that money to give the idea, of me being an artist, a real go, and to see whether I had something, or not.

"When I first started I used mild steel from the tip. That allowed me to work out what I could and couldn't cut and was the cheapest way to work out how to do it.

"However I couldn't recycle stainless steel from the tip because I never knew what grade or quality it was; some of it was poor quality and not suitable.

"So early on I decided to just buy good quality marine-grade 316 stainless steel, normally between 1.2mm and 5mm. We now know we have a good product."

Wayne says the sizes of his steel sculptures vary considerably. "From little butterflies and geckos, you can hold in your hand, to the largest one I have done to date, one of my first, which was four metres long. The next longest was three metres long, which was for a wild life park just outside Darwin."

Wayne says his inspiration comes from his childhood background when he was around so many of these animals.

"Much of my childhood was spent fishing and swimming and we were taught to look out for and respect animals, especially crocodiles. There was a lot of times I got to see them up close.

"Much of my inspiration comes from their movement. None of my pieces are straight, the animals are always moving, they have that sense of movement; flowing.

"Especially with the crocodile, I try to catch the sheer power of these wonderful animals in the water; in their natural element."

Wayne admits the transition from welder to artist was not easy.

"As a welder, I could have spent the rest of my life providing for my family, my three young kids and Lucy, by working on the mine and building sites all over Australia, but I felt the move was the right thing to do, and was I never going to die wondering.

"I have been working as an artist for over four years now, but it hasn't always been busy like it is now.

"When I first started I found the art world a bit strange, not having much to with it before. And trying to get your foot in the door was very hard in the beginning.

"But I think I'm getting there now, especially as most of my work is now commissioned work, which I really appreciate.

"Early on I was making pieces for galleries and was always taking a chance that people would like them enough to pay me for the amount of time that I put into it, whereas today that is more of a sideline.

"The corporate side of the business actually provides a living, to feed my family. The gallery work is more of a bonus.

"I enjoy all aspects of my work, but if I had to pick one it would be in the workshop; when I'm welding and grinding," he said.

When it comes to the design process for his steel sculptures, Wayne says he uses a range of options. "I might use old school patterns written on paper, through to the latest touch screens and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software.

"After a couple of years in the business, I realised the amount of time I was spending in the design process would never be paid for. Plus I'm very fussy with what I send out too.

"Early on I didn't even have any oxy or ways to heat and bend the metal. It was all cold bent mild steel.

"We did that for a while, but I soon worked out that I was taking too long and could never make a business out of it.

"So we decided to spend some of the money from the sale of the house on a little profile cutter and from that I was forced to learn CAD.

"Now I do all my drawings on the computer, put it on a flash drive, then take it to my workshop and cut the pieces out. I then weld them together to make the finished work.

"So I'm still using my imagination, but in a more effective manner, plus I can now see what it will be like in 3D.

The way we work now, I can provide a better finish and a better quality piece. I'm now teaching myself how to draw in 3D," he said.

Wayne's advice to others thinking of following in his footsteps is to do your research first. "If you have something, and really believe it, give it a go.

"I'm just starting to get used to calling myself an artist, and now recognise that my art is a business. I would like to thank Indigenous Business Australia for their assistance for that.

"I know a lot of artists who have to have a job to survive. We are very lucky and grateful that I get to do this as a full time job. I had my first exhibition a couple of months ago, that went really well," he said.

Going forward Wayne plans to keep on doing what he's doing. With a full order book from customers including Wesfarmers, Blackwoods, Protector Alsafe, the state governments of Victoria and the Northern Territory (NT), and the Australian Paralympian Team, that's not surprising.

"It seems to be working. I always do the best I can do on every single piece, and when it does not work, if I'm not happy with the end result, I scrap it and start again. It seems to work for us.

"Lucy, my wife had a full time job as a property manager for a real estate company, but I'm so busy here she has cut back to three days a week, just to do my admin work.

"In the future, I would also like to run workshops here for indigenous people that we could train. There are so many opportunities out there for public art pieces," he said.

Not surprisingly Wayne has no plans on going back to being a welder. "I couldn't, I don't make anything square anymore."

To see more of Wayne's work or to make an enquiry go to

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Keeping workers healthy, happy and productive

Keeping workers healthy, happy and productive

The success of a recent free health check up program will see the progressive program rolled out right across Blackwoods' branches in Victoria

An innovative program designed to raise the importance of health and well-being for the Victorian workforce has been adopted by Blackwoods at its Scoresby branch, with plans to expand the program out to all Blackwoods Victorian branches.

The aim of the WorkHealth program, which Worksafe launched in 2010, is to encourage employers to sign up for WorkHealth check programs, and encourage employees to participate in the free WorkHealth checks when they are offered at their workplace.

Regina McMeeken, HSE Manager with Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety, says the program has been very popular with employees at the Scoresby branch and distribution centre.

"The initial program, which was held in November last year, has been very well received, and from a health and well being perspective it gives us the opportunity to offer something extra for our workforce," she said.

"Prior to the WorkHealth check up, there had been a big media campaign in Victoria, so in the lead up to it, many people in the organisation were aware and some even asking for it."

"In November, we had over 60% of our people at Scoresby take part, and I have now received the go ahead for all our branches in Victoria, which will be rolled out as soon as possible," she said.

McMeeken explained that the program isn't compulsory for workers to attend. "It's offered to everybody, and is purely voluntary, with the results only shared with the participant."

"They have their blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and waist measurement checked, plus they are given information and tips on their diet and nutrition, and exercise.

"Feedback from employees has been very positive, with most people saying they are pleased to hear they are OK, or just need to improve a little bit here or there. Though some could be told it might be a good time to see their GP and get some medical follow up," McMeeken said.

She said for Blackwoods, the program means a little bit more engagement and support of employees. "And for our employees, it gives them the opportunity to have a quick health check, especially for those who don't have easy access to a GP for health and well-being.

"Unfortunately, many people only go to their GP when they are sick," she said.

For other Victorian companies thinking of introducing the WorkHealth program, McMeeken says it is very straight forward and is based on a company's payroll figure and its number of employees.

"It's just about applying for funding for a provider from Worksafe. Providing you meet their criteria, it's just a matter of them providing approvals," she said.

"And for employers who pick up over 50% of their employees into the program there are grants available, up to $5000, which we will use for wellness programs for the employees," McMeeken said.


As a state-wide program, the WorkHealth program has the potential to positively impact on the lives of over 2.6 million working Victorians.

According to WorkSafe Victoria, the program aims to deliver far reaching benefits to workers, employers, and the community at large, by reducing the risk and incidence of chronic disease across the state's working population and the impact of illness and injury on working families.

The latest results from the WorkHealth checks have revealed that blue collar workers are more likely to have high blood pressure, drink at risky levels, and be at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease than their white collar counterparts.

WorkHealth Director, Pam Anders, said nearly 600,000 Victorian workers - or one in five - have undergone a voluntary WorkHealth check offered by WorkSafe to date.

Anders said that latest findings from a Monash University report on 500,000 WorkHealth checks provided employers with an unprecedented insight into the major health concerns facing their employees and, in turn, their business.

The report, released late last year, showed that blue collar workers, when compared to white collar workers, were:

  • more than twice as likely to smoke (29% vs 13%)
  • more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels (49% vs 37%)
  • more likely to have high blood pressure (30% vs 24%)
  • more likely to have a high risk of type 2 diabetes (31% vs 21%)
  • and more than twice as likely to have a high risk of heart disease (7% vs 3%)

Anders said the findings for industries such as manufacturing, construction and mining should raise alarm bells for employees and employers alike.

"WorkHealth checks have shown that unhealthy lifestyle behaviours such as alcohol consumption and smoking, and alarming conditions such as high blood pressure require an easily accessible program for workers in those industries.

"Business success is dependent on having a pool of motivated, healthy, safe and engaged people to deliver strong results, without whom the economy would grind to a halt.

"Given the significant challenges of labour and skill shortages, an ageing workforce and climbing rates of chronic disease, blue collar workplaces need to address the added challenge of poor worker health to future-proof their industries.

"The good news is there's a great deal that employers can do to promote healthy choices and behaviours in their workplaces."

Anders said that the WorkHealth program is not only about supporting worker health, but also about promoting productive and thriving businesses.

"A healthy workforce means a safer and more productive workforce, with lower absenteeism, higher morale, better injury recovery outcomes, and the ability to attract and retain motivated, committed staff to deliver strong results for your business.

"Blue collar workplaces, where the work is often more physical, can particularly benefit from well-being initiatives, such as group stretching exercises to prevent injury and boost morale."

Anders said the findings of the WorkHealth program would help inform and develop chronic disease prevention strategies in Victoria, Australia and internationally.

"The WorkHealth findings give Victorian employers access to the major health concerns in their industry.

"We know, for example, that several lifestyle risk factors are more common in some industries than others, such as risky alcohol consumption in mining and construction and smoking in transport.

"By developing specific wellness programs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, employers will see a much stronger return on investment and ultimately reduce the impact of chronic disease on their business and the wider economy," Anders said

Wayne Hunter, HSE Advisor with Bridgestone Australia, said he decided to initiate the free WorkHealth checks for the company's 90 Victorian staff to help raise awareness among the team of their general well being.

"And the results have been just what we were hoping for. Awareness of general health has definitely increased across the organisation. In particular, a number of people have told me they were surprised about their results in the areas of nutrition and physical activity areas," said Hunter.

"This aligns with the habits we could already see among the workforce. There are those that eat well but work in sedentary jobs, and those that work in physical jobs but probably eat a bit too much junk food."

"A survey after the initiative revealed some promising findings, with 90% of staff saying the information they received was of great benefit, and 55% planning to visit their GP to discuss their results," he said.

For more information on the WorkHealth program go to

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