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There are legislative changes and social expectations that plumbers need to be ready for, as Master Plumbers’ Frank Geremia OH&S and Return to Work Manager reports.
Environmental risk assessments
As part of the Environment Protection Act 2017, plumbing businesses are expected to take reasonably practicable steps to proactively manage their activities to avoid risk of environmental damage or harm to human health. As a result, principal contractors, government departments and local authorities are starting to ask for an Environmental Risk Assessment from their contractors in order to ensure they are fulfilling their obligations.
Modern slavery legislation
Modern slavery is a problem around the world, even in Australia. A global effort is occurring to eliminate modern slavery in supply chains and Australia enacted the Modern Slavery Act in 2018. This Act places a positive obligation on companies with an annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million to know their supply chains and report on their progress to eliminate modern slavery.
It is coming to plumbers in a couple of ways:
- If you provide services to hospitals, government projects, local government authorities or large contractors they will be required to report on their activities right through their supply chain. They may therefore ask you for evidence of what you are doing to eliminate risk; and
- If you turn over more than $100M per annum, you are required to report. Note that the states are following suit and NSW already has legislation in place to catch businesses turning over more than $50M.
Modern Slavery Statements are something that will be used as part of this compulsory reporting and should not be a ‘tick and flick’ exercise. They are required to be implemented in your business and if reporting, you will need to back up your assertions with evidence.
Where does your pipe come from, and how are the workers in that manufacturing company paid? What about your workers, are you sure you are paying at least the minimum wages and conditions? Are you involved in sham contracting? These are the types of questions that you will need answers.
WorkSafe Inspectors are continually visiting domestic and commercial construction sites.
WorkSafe Blitzes occur when a pattern emerges in the data showing serious injuries and or fatalities. Some of the key areas that have made up recent WorkSafe blitzes are:
- Working at heights, use of scaffolding and use of ladders.
- Mobile plant on construction sites
- Trenching and shoring
As a plumbing business owner, it is up to you to ensure you have the correct safety systems in place and to train your subcontractors, staff and apprentices. A well-implemented system will ensure safety is integrated into your business.
Reconciliation Action Plans
Increasingly, contractors working on government projects are being expected to have a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and to provide evidence to principal contractors.
A RAP is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan. It includes practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates.
Master Plumbers has the expertise and tools available to guide you through this journey. We can help you with:
- Safety Management Systems
- Consulting/auditing service
Master Plumbers Victoria will be releasing new services, tools and templates to assist you with requirements under the Modern Slavery Act and Environment Protection Act.
For more information, contact Frank Geremia at [email protected] or on 0425 770 013.