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Expert Advice – Darryn Van Hout, Australian Solar Quotes

With the increasing global energy requirements and the shrinking fossil fuel reserves, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal power are fast garnering momentum in the construction industry as part of both the short and long-term solution to energy security.

The construction industry is one of the major energy consumers. The presence of generators at work sites to facilitate activities such as welding, pumping water and polishing is commonplace. From the onset of any construction activity, reliable power is mandatory for the successful completion of the project. This has to be factored in during the project planning phase to ensure construction activities are not disrupted or slowed down by power cuts.

Construction industry requires reliable source of energy

Solar is gaining popularity as the most efficient and affordable source of renewable power for Australia’s escalating energy demands. With its mostly hot and sunny climate, solar energy is a logical addition to the electricity sector. The construction industry in Australia can therefore enjoy a high return on investment if they were to integrate solar systems into their current power supply.

Recent times have seen an increased use of renewable power, with more and more solar panels being installed as a source of sustainable energy in the construction industry. Etrainu, a leader in online training and business solutions in Australia, is helping shape the renewable energy sector through its cutting edge digital products and programs which incorporate construction online courses that are offered through its custom-built Learning Management System (LMS).

etrainu training people for the energy sector’s future dynamic

As highlighted in one of etrainu’s posts, alternative technology is redefining the future and fast revolutionising how we work, socialise and interact. Similarly, solar technology is a major component of the renewable energy field, with next generation innovations such as high volt solar panels, lithium-ion batteries, electric cars etc.

The cost of solar panels continues to decrease and the technology is now frequently used in the construction industry. For instance, the powerful photovoltaic panels combined with a control panel can be integrated with a pumping system at a building site. Alternatively, when a battery is added to the pumping system, the power generated can also be used for general lighting.

Investment in solar power systems is viable with huge cost benefits; in essence, the solar facility’s cost can be recovered within a short span of time. Australia has come a long way in terms of investment in solar systems. The increasingly high uptake of solar technology and installations is a step forward.

Solar development a step in the right direction for Australia

The growing demand for clean, sustainable and reliable energy conservation compels the federal government to invest more in utility-scale solar projects as well as provide subsidies to encourage more people to acquire renewable facilities at affordable prices. With the wide range of innovative solutions to suit any terrain including ground-mounted PV installations and solar parking structures which make the most of any available space, people are increasingly turning to solar for their energy needs.

The Australian solar energy sector has great potential and continues to grow rapidly. This growth has been enhanced by the commitment of some of the most reputable solar installation companies that deliver exceptional services on time and within budget. Irrespective of the project’s complexities, scope or site constraints, Australian households as well as the construction industry can utilise the abundant resource by installing crystalline or photovoltaic panels, fixed or tilt-mounted modules, thin film modules, combined with dual-axis or single tracking systems.

Besides breathing new life into the construction industry, solar energy will offer Australian consumers’ maximum cost savings while reducing their environmental impact. With the solar installation companies becoming more innovative by the day, cleaner and more effective energy solutions that meet the evolving global energy needs will be provided.

Photo courtesy of Wayne National Forest

Author: Darryn Van Hout from Australian Solar Quotes

Hazardous Manual Tasks – White Card Online

Did you know that hazardous manual tasks are responsible for the highest number of reported workplace injuries?

Hazardous manual tasks are defined as any task that requires a person to lift, lower, push, pull, carry or otherwise move, hold or restrain any thing, animal or person.

Every year thousands of workers across the country are effected by workplace injuries caused by manual tasks. This is particularly prevalent across the construction sector due the large number of risks and incidents involved in manual handling on the work site.

The White Card online training course if designed to teach workers about the safety risks associated with construction work as the safety procedures to carry out on site to prevent and/or reduce hazardous injury for workers. Hazardous manual tasks can involve any number of factors that can stress the body and lead to injury, either long-term or immediate.

These include:

  • Repetitive or sustained force

  • High or sudden force

  • Repetitive movement

  • Sustained or awkward posture

  • Exposure to vibration

Any number of characteristics can contribute to making a manual task hazardous. Injuries often occur when workers regularly carry out manual tasks incorrectly causing stress on the body. One of the most common problems with carrying out manual tasks is the potential to cause musculoskeletal disorders.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries to or diseases of the musculoskeletal system, which may occur suddenly or over time such.

These may include:

  • Muscle, ligament or tendon strains or sprains

  • Back injuries

  • Joint and bone injuries or degeneration

  • Nerve injuries or compression

  • Muscular and vascular disorders from hand-arm vibration

  • Soft tissue hernias

  • Chronic pain

These types of injuries are very common and many construction workers throughout Australia suffer from the results of hazardous manual tasks.

The purpose of the White Card online training is to better inform and educate workers to reduce the risk of injury. It has been reported that a very limited amount of attention is paid to these types of hazardous injuries because they rarely caused death, BUT these injuries can result in long term problems, disabling injuries and can become a consistent financial hardship for worker.

The White Card is a work health and safety course, and covers the unit of competency CPCCOHS1001A – Work Safely in the Construction Industry. It was formerly known as the ‘Blue Card’ and is also currently known as the General Construction Induction Card.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLDTASWAVICNTSA

Employer & Employee Responsibilities – White Card Online

When you recognise something unsafe on the worksite, whose responsibility is it to report and action the problem? It’s EVERYONE’S responsibility! No matter what work you’re doing on site, you have a duty of care to report anything unsafe on the construction site to ensure the safety of you and other workers.

Both employees and employers working on a construction site have an obligation to follow the legislation and regulations of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 is designed to ensure people understand their health and safety duties and rights in the workplace. By having this legislation in place, it guarantees that all workers in Australia have the same standard of health and safety protection, regardless of the work they do or where they work.

However, everyone’s obligations on the worksite differ from person to person as the workplace health and safety obligations dictate different levels of involvement and responsibility from workers and employers.
Below are the different Health and Safety Obligations of the Employer and Employee on the construction site.

Employer Obligations

  • Your employer has an obligation to ensure that all work at the workplace is conducted to minimise the risk of a hazard causing injury, illness or death to any persons within the workplace

Employee Obligations

When a code of practice or regulation exists, workers must do the following:

  • Follow the approved or stated method, or
  • Follow another method which gives an equal level of protection, and
  • Take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence.

When a code of practice or regulation does not exist, workers still have a duty of care to follow. In order to maintain a duty of care, they must apply a ‘Risk Management Process’ which involves:

  • Taking reasonable precautions
  • Exercising due diligence
  • Observing site policies & procedures

Keeping Records (joint obligation)

It is both the responsibility of the employer and the worker to keep any training records, including inductions, during their duration of employment or the construction project.

Workers have a responsibility to keep their own records as evidence of training, including the Statement of Attainment received after completing the White Card online training course.

etrainu’s White Card online training course not only informs workers of their obligations and responsibilities, but it educates about construction site safety, hazard identification and worksite procedures. It is a legal requirement that you complete White Card online training and be able to present your White Card when requested.

To find out more about our White Card online course, click here.

For state specific information and registration information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLDTASWAVICNTSA. 

Fire Prevention on Site – White Card Online

Fire is a serious risk on any construction site therefore fire safety is a large consideration of learning throughout the official White Card online training course.

There are a number of legislations in place throughout every Australian state and territory to ensure the safety of workers and the general public through the careful management of this risk, maintenance of evacuation procedures and staff training, particularly surrounding fire safety.

White Card online training takes participants through fire safety maintenance, and evacuation procedures relevant to on-site construction work.

These procedures can be easily remembered through the acronym: R.A.C.E.

R – remove anyone in danger

A – alert the fire service on 000

C – confine the fire

E – evacuate the building or area

Throughout the White Card online course you will be notified that if the fire is small and contained, and if you deem it SAFE to do so, the worker should try to extinguish the flames by using a fire extinguisher.

So how exactly should a worker use a fire extinguisher to put out a flame when a person or site is at risk of harm from fire?

There are four methods used to extinguish fire, all of which rely on the removal of one of the essential elements.

The four methods of extinguishing are starvation, smothering, cooling and inhibition.

  1. Starvation: starvation removes the fuel from the fire.

  2. Smothering: smothering removes the oxygen from the fire.

  3. Cooling: cooling removes the heat from the fire.

  4. Inhibition: inhibition removes the cause of the fire.

The most common way to extinguish a fire is with a fire extinguisher. Although it is important to keep in mind that there are a number of different types of extinguishers to consider that cater for the different methods of extinguishing such as:

Dry Chemical Extinguishers (Red with a White Band)

 This is a dry chemical extinguisher which contains bi-carbonate based powder.

  • Best used on fires involving flammable liquids and electrical equipment 

Carbon Dioxide Extinguishers (c02) Red with a Black Band

Carbon Dioxide is a gas extinguisher, which discharges a white cloud of ‘snow’ smothering a fire by eliminating oxygen.

  • Best used on fires involving light fittings, motors, generators, cables, wiring, switches, switchboards and electronic equipment

Foam Extinguishers (red with a blue band)

This extinguisher contains a solution of foam concentrate and water which is discharged through the nozzle. The nozzle is designed to mix air with the foam concentrate and water to produce a foam discharge. 

  • Best used on fires involving petrol, oil and paint

The information from this blog is a sample of the type of content you will learn about in our White Card online training course.

The White Card Online Course is designed to teach you the basic knowledge of risks involved with construction work and how to prevent them. It will help you to understand why safety in construction is so important.

To find out more about our White Card online course, click here.

For state specific information and registration information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLDTASWAVICNTSA. 

Safety Signs – White Card Online

Across all Australian construction sites, warning and safety signs can prevent accidents and even fatalities to both workers and the general public.

But what is the point of having safety signs if we do not understand the symbols on them? Safety signage around the workplace is important as it not only communicates foreseeable danger or warning; it informs workers on the construction site of the correct safety procedures to follow in order to stay safe from harm or what to do in the case of emergency.

In our White Card online training course, we address all the forms of signage that workers will see and need to know about on the construction site and how they can prevent injuries.

1. Safety Signs

Safety signs are a crucial part of maintaining a safe workplace, both for construction workers on the worksite and for the general public. Safety signs are effective in communicated messages quickly, even with those who speak little to no English. For example, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) signs easily demonstrate that certain equipment must be worn because of the picture of the man wearing the equipment, i.e.: man wearing ear muffs, man wearing safety glasses. Knowing what each sign means or is trying to communicate is vital to keeping safe on your construction site.

2. Categories and Colour Codes

Colour is the most crucial aspect of a safety sign and communicates information more effectively than text as it has a greater impact on our brain. As a result, safety signs are labeled in different colour categories depending on the context. The colour categories include:

• ‘No’ symbol signs: These signs feature a bright red circle with a diagonal line through the centre. They are designed to inform when something is not allowed.

• Red category signs: These signs have a red background with the word ‘DANGER’ at the top with a black boarder. These are designed to attract attention and convey an important message.

• Blue category signs: These signs are instructional, with the word ‘NOTICE’. The directions of the sign must be followed. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) signs also come under the blue category.

• Orange category signs: These signs inform that security access is needed in a particular area.

• Yellow category signs: These signs are designed to indicate workers to take caution. They are marked with the word ‘WARNING’.

• Green category signs: These are used on First Aid Signage and Emergency Evacuation signs. These indicate SAFETY.

• Black and white category signs: These signs indicate general information and include messages such as ‘No Entry, Authorised Personnel Only, No Access, No Thoroughfare’ etc.

3. Additional Signs

Used in Construction Industry besides the aforementioned signs above, there are several other safety signs or symbols that you may encounter on the construction site.

These include:
• Out of service tags: These tags indicate that a particular piece of machinery or equipment is faulty or out of service and needs maintenance and/or repairs before it will be safe to use.

• Fire signs: These signs are used to indicate the location of fire extinguishers, fire hoses and fire blankets on the construction site.

• Exit signs: Green signs with the word ‘EXIT’ or with a left arrow with a man leaving through a door. They indicate where to exit on a construction site.

By completing our White Card online training course, you will be able to recognise and interpret all of the signs on the construction website, keeping yourself, your co-workers and the general public safe from danger or potential injury.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLD, TAS, WAVIC, NT, SA.

How Hazardous Noise Can Affect Your Safety – White Card Online

Construction workers are exposed to a large number of hazards on site everyday, and one of the biggest preventative methods to noise hazards is awareness. To be completely aware of what’s going on around them, workers need to keep themselves safe by being able to hear what’s going on around them.

Hazardous noise on a work site can cause permanent damage to a person’s hearing and can destroy their ability to hear clearly, therefore putting them at risk of other hazards by making it more difficult to hear important sounds such as warning signals or instructions.

A construction site can be especially noisy, so it is vital that the risks associated with noise are managed. There are many situations on a construction site where a worker’s inability to hear adequately can place them at risk of injury or death.

Why manage noise? Managing noise is important for several reasons.

  • Managing noise helps protect workers from hearing loss and tinnitus – a constant ringing in the ears or head.

  • It helps improve on-site communication and ensures workers are able to hear warning sounds.

  • Lower levels of noise can contribute to a less stressful, more productive working environment.

Considering these points, it’s very important that all workers, managers and site supervisors work to reduce the exposure of excessive noise.

Here are our suggestions to prevent risk of exposure to hazardous noise:

  • Use safety signs to indicate Hearing Protection Areas.

  • Be very careful to keep to the recommended exposure level of 85 decibels per 8-hour day over a 7day work week.

  • Remember that anything above peak noise level (140 decibels) can instantly damage hearing! Avoid this risk at ALL times!

The table below demonstrates the level of common worksite tools

ActivityDecibel Level (dB)Time to reach allowed daily excessNoise reduction needed (dBA)
Drilling Timber858 hours0
Angle Grinder9545 minutes10
Circular Saw1054.5 minutes20
Chainsaw11530 seconds30
Pneumatic Drill (Jack Hammer)12010 seconds35
Pile Hammer1253 seconds40

This table indicates the recommended allowable noise levels for various activities and power tools you may encounter on a construction site.

Angle Grinder: The allowable decibel level for drilling timber is 85 decibels for a maximum of eight hours. No noise reduction is required for safe, prolonged use.

Circular Saw: A circular saw may be used for four and a half minutes, as it operates on 105 decibels. Noise must be reduced by 20 dBA to operate for more than 4.5 minutes.

Chain Saw: A chainsaw operates at 115 decibels and can be used for a maximum of 30 seconds per day. Noise must be reduced by 30 dBA to use a chainsaw safely for more than 30 seconds.

Pneumatic Drill (Jack Hammer): A pneumatic drill (jack hammer) operates at 120 decibels. It can be used for a maximum of 10 seconds. Noise must be reduced by 35 dBA if a pneumatic drill is to be used for longer than 10 seconds.

Pile Hammer: A pile hammer operates at a decibel level of 125 and can therefore be used for only three seconds before noise must be reduced by 40 dBA.

By completing our White Card online training course, you will be educated and informed about safety including extensive informational on noise hazards.

Completing White Card online training is a legal requirement for those working in the construction industry. Holding a White Card demonstrates that you are well informed about construction site safety, hazard identification and worksite procedures.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLD, TAS, WAVIC, NT, SA.

 

Australian Laws, Standards and Codes – White Card Online


Australia’s Construction Laws, Standards and Codes aren’t designed to bore you, they are in place to ensure safety for you and your family while providing equal outcomes and opportunity for all.

For this reason, it’s important for anyone working on a construction site to familiarise themselves with the various legislations and regulations that govern workplace health and safety and the way we legally operate at work. 

Below we’ve outline the Laws, Standards and Codes that apply to the construction industry, which are further covered in-depth in our White Card online training course.

1. Types of Laws

Workplace Health and Safety in the construction industry is governed by different types of laws, each designed to achieve different outcomes.

These Laws are:
• Harmonised Laws: laws relating to workplace health and safety that affect all states
• Preventative Laws: laws relating to risk and hazard control on the website.
• Common Laws: laws relating to general customs of the community.
• Compensation Law: laws relating to the support workers receive after a work-related injury.

2. Australian Standards

Australian Standards are published documents that set out specifications and procedures to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they were intended. Some examples of this documentation include:
• Specifications
• Handbooks
• Guidelines

3. Codes of Practice

There are two types of codes that apply to the construction industry:
• National Codes of Practice
• Industry Codes of Practice

If a Code of Practice does exist at your workplace, you must do what the code states. If there is no Code of Practice, you are required to adopt another way that identifies and manages exposure to the risk. Always take reasonable precautions and exercise due care.



4. Negligence

No matter what your role is on the construction site, everyone has a duty of care to themselves and others. The laws that govern the construction industry are in place for the benefit of all involved.

Failing to take proper Duty of Care is known as ‘negligence’, and there are serious consequences for those found guilty of negligence.

5. Penalties

Did you know breaching safety regulations can result in hefty fines or even jail time? 

That’s right! If a corporation, business or an individual have been found guilty of breaching an Act of legislation or regulation, heavy penalties are put in place to keep them enforced.

By completing our White Card Online training course, you will be educated and informed about all the legislations and regulations of the construction industry, which will not only help you work safely but it could save you from paying heavy fines or facing jail time!

Completing White Card online training is a legal requirement for those working in the construction industry. Holding a White Card demonstrates that you are well informed about construction site safety, hazard identification and worksite procedures.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLD, TAS, WAVIC, NT, SA.

Hazards and Risks – White Card Online

When working on a construction site, both employers and workers need to be aware of anything that may cause injury or illness to a person or that may cause harm to equipment or the environment.

Being able to identify a workplace ‘hazard’ and the ‘risk’ of each hazard is a requirement of everyone working in the construction industry and is crucial to maintaining a safe working environment.

Below we’ve outlined the process of identifying the hazards and risks and how to respond to them adequately, which is thoroughly covered in our White Card online training course.

 Hazard vs. Risks

What exactly is the difference between a risk and a hazard?

A ‘hazard’ is anything that is a source of ‘danger’ whereas a ‘risk’ is the chance of that hazard causing an injury. Knowing the likelihood and consequences of potential risks is the key to reducing incidents on site.

  Identifying Hazards

In order to eliminate or decrease the risk of an injury, illness or death, you need to put in place a Risk Management Process.

This process involves:

  • Identifying the Hazard
  • Assessing the Risk
  • Controlling the Risk
  • Reviewing Control Measures

Identifying hazards involves locating potential hazards around the construction worksite and then transferring it to Risk Assessment Record Sheet provided by your organisation.

 Assessing the Risk

If there is no Regulation, Code of Practice or guide for the hazard you identified on the construction site, you are required to assess the risk, considering factors such as:

  • Likelihood that the hazard will occur
  • The severity of the harm (consequences).

 Once these factors have been determined, you are then required to match them against the Risk Assessment Matrix and record the results on the Risk Assessment Record Sheet.

 Controlling the Situation

After determining the severity and likelihood of a risk, the next step is to put into place a Control Measure to control, reduce or eliminate the hazard. The Control Measure has five levels of the Hierarchy used to determine the best possible solution to the risk, with elimination being the most effective.

  • Eliminate: remove the hazard completely
  • Substitute: If elimination is not an option, can the work activity or product be substituted with something else?
  • Isolate: If substitution is not an option, can the risk be isolated?
  • Administrate: If isolation is not an option, can a system be put in place to eliminate or reduce the risk over time?
  • Protect: If administrating is not an option, can protective equipment or practices be used?

Hazard and risk identification and the process in assessing and controlling the risk involved is just one of the topics thoroughly covered in our White Card online training course. Upon completion of your White Card course, you will be familiar with the rules and regulations of the construction industry, know how to respond to hazards and be informed of your responsibilities as a construction worker.

Anyone wanting to work in the construction industry is legally required to have completed White Card online training and be able to show their White Card when requested.

To find out more about our White Card Online course, click here.

For state specific information, look to our White Card online state based pages – QLD, TAS, WA, VIC, NT, SA.

Workplace Incidents – White Card Online

Have you ever been on a job where an accident has happened? Perhaps you’ve tripped over or sprained your ankle, or maybe cut yourself on something sharp?

There are many different types of incidents and accidents that can occur in the workplace, ranging from mild to life threatening. This is a crucial element of the course criteria that is addressed in our White Card online training course.

To break this down, we’ve categorised and defined the risks associated with workplace incidents into three different groups, organised by danger level.

  1. Notifiable

The word ‘notifiable’ is defined as ‘something serious that must be reported to appropriate authorities’. The reason it is called a ‘notifiable’ incident is because when these types of incidences occur, the person conducting or undertaking a business must notify Workplace Health and Safety in your state of territory, using the correct form, within 24-48 hours of the incident occurring depending on your state requirements.

Notifiable incident includes:

  • The death of a person
  • A serious injury or illness, or event
  1. Serious

A serious incident is a ‘serious injury or illness’. These are determined by factors such as if a person requires immediate treatment (eg: being a patient in a hospital) or treatment for the following:

  • Amputation of any part of the body
  • Serious head or eye injury
  • Serious burn
  • Separation of skin from underlying tissue
  • Spinal injury
  • Loss of bodily function
  • Serious lacerations
  • If they need medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.
  1. Dangerous

A dangerous incident is any workplace accident or incident that exposes a worker to serious risk of health or safety risk of exposure resulting in possible or definite harm.

The following examples are classified as ‘dangerous incidents’:

  • Spillage or leakage of a substance
  • Uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • Uncontrolled escape of gas, steam, or a pressurised substance
  • An electric shock
  • A fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • Collapse, overturning, failure, malfunction, or damage to any plant that is required to be authorised for use
  • Collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • Collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • Inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • Interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel

So what should you do if any of these incidents occur?

Following the correct procedures when reporting incidents in the workplace is an important part of dealing with hazards!

Remember that all workers involved have a responsibility to assist in recording incidents. It’s important that all health and safety activities, including incidents, are well documented.

Our White Card Online training is what you need to successfully complete in order to get your General Construction Induction Card (that’s the White Card!). The aim of this online training is to bring you up to speed in the areas of safety awareness and common hazards and incidents on construction sites! So chances are, if you’re reading this blog – the training is likely something that is applicable to you.

Anyone who wants to work in construction in Queensland legally has to complete the White Card Online training and show their White Card when requested. By law your employer has to provide you with other training such as a Site Induction and Task Specific inductions, but your White Card is the minimum requirement.

To find out more, read our extended White Card Online course info, here.