Tradie Talk

Workplace Health and Safety message – crystalline silica

It is estimated that more than 500,000 Australian workers in the mining, construction, farming and engineering sectors may be exposed to silica dust each year.

Crystalline silica, or silicon dioxide, is a naturally occurring mineral that can be present in stone, soil, bricks, tiles, concrete, mortar, aggregates and even some plastic materials. The main form of crystalline silica is quartz.

New powerline safety planning tool

Energy Queensland has recently released a trial of a new app, a powerline safety planning tool available at: 

The app helps construction industry workers to adequately plan work around powerlines. The tool overlays powerlines onto geo-spatial imagery that assists planning work near powerlines.

It is very important that all workers are aware of the requirements to work safely near powerlines and the tool allows you to share the requirements of the site with all workers.

Changes to fees for some plumbing and drainage occupational licensees

From 1 March 2019 individuals who hold a QBCC plumbing or drainage related contractor, nominee supervisor or site supervisor licence are not required to pay a fee if they apply for, restore or renew a corresponding occupational licence under the Plumbing and Drainage Act.

The QBCC licences that are impacted by this change are listed in the left column of the table below. The corresponding occupational licences for which a licensee may apply for, restore or renew without a fee are listed in the table’s second column. 

Minimum Financial Requirements (MFR) fully introduced

Changes to the Minimum Financial Requirements have been implemented in two stages. Phase 1, which began on 1 January 2019, re-introduced mandatory annual reporting for all licensees, changed reporting decreases in Net Tangible Assets and clarified how assets are to be treated. Phase 2 began on 2 April 2019 and introduced higher reporting standards for category 4-7 licensees, along with the remainder of the reforms.

These laws support the security of payment initiatives within the building and construction industry. 

Designing and building to accommodate earthquake loads

Compliance with relevant standards

Recent devastating earthquakes around the world should remind all building industry practitioners of the importance of ensuring that our buildings in Australia comply with the National Construction Code and Australian Standard AS1170.4 `Earthquake actions in Australia’.

Let’s not forget the fact that Australia has experienced the devastation caused by an earthquake on the morning of 28 December 1989 at Newcastle where 13 people were killed and more than 160 were hospitalised.   

Where we will be visiting in 2019

The Service Trades Council holds free industry forums throughout Queensland each year. These forums provide an opportunity for the Council to meet with and hear about issues affecting the industry. These forums are also a way for licensees to learn about important changes in the industry and to ask questions.

In 2019 the Council will be visiting the following locations:

Recognising and preventing heat stress

Working in the plumbing and drainage, fire protection, air-conditioning and mechanical industries often involves working under hot and humid conditions. But there are preventative measures you can take to prevent heat-related illness such as drinking lots of water and avoiding caffeine.

Remember that not everyone reacts to heat in the same way. The way heat affects people varies from person to person and is influenced by:

Reminder to report Safety Incidents when they occur

Did you know that, as a licensee, you are now obligated to notify the QBCC immediately, as well as Workplace Health and Safety when you become aware of a ‘notifiable safety incident’ on your worksite?

Safety is important and without notification of an incident the QBCC are unable to make the necessary immediate enquiries, which in turn hampers our contribution to reducing unsafe practices in the industry.