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It has been two years since COVID hit Australia, bringing with it ever-changing restrictions and overall uncertainty. But there was a silver lining to the pandemic for Josh Day, founder of Melbourne’s J Day Plumbing.
COVID-19 was not all bad at J Day Plumbing. It was a chance to take stock of the businesses’ safety procedures and ensure that it provided the best possible workplace for employees.
“We’ve tried to take the positives out of COVID,” Josh Day says “It’s really important that our boys work in a safe workplace, and that they get to work safely in the morning and get home safely at the end of every day. With the type of plumbing work that we do, we can be visiting eight to 10 different properties per person, per day. So, we reached out to Master Plumbers to help us to look at the overall health and safety of the business and help us out with guidance and support,” he says.
Master Plumbers’ National OHS and Risk Manager Zane Martin has provided Josh and his business with a range of health and safety supports including assistance with SWMS (Safe Work Method Statements), to outline the risks, hazards and OHS requirements to be addressed before safely carrying out high-risk plumbing jobs, as well as establishing a tailored WHS management system.
“Josh was really proactive with safety in his business, which is fantastic. We provide plumbers with all of the latest safety information they need, including in the changing COVID environment, and there are a range of other supports we can provide including with compliance and documentation,” he says.
Josh also received support to establish a check-in system and a ‘COVID diary’ for staff to record where they had been, and is proud that these processes have played a role in none of his staff catching COVID at work so far, despite the high number of properties they visit.
Master Plumbers has also provided Josh with guidance about training and skill development opportunities, and he is in the process of arranging working with pipes training for his staff.
“The advice I’ve received about training has been really helpful, I’d definitely encourage other Master Plumbers members to access some of these services,” he says. It has been about seven years since Josh founded his business, based in the inner-city suburb of Northcote. Josh was drawn to plumbing in the first place because of the variety it can provide, with no two working days ever the same.
“I had tried a few different things, like excavation and landscaping, but I found that I didn’t enjoy them that much. I was about 20 years old when I started in plumbing, and loved learning off some old-school plumbers. Early on I specialized in heating and cooling before moving into other areas like drains and roofing,” he says.
He has gradually built his business up to now feature seven full-time plumbers, who are trained across a number of areas to build their skill sets and give them variety at work.
“I’m still on the tools myself, I’d say that probably 70 per cent of my work is on the tools and 30 per cent is in the office. There’s a lot of back of house work that goes into running a business, but I still enjoy being on the tools and working with clients as much as I can.”
J Day Plumbing specialises in commercial and domestic maintenance work - including working with pipes, showers, roofs and hot water systems – with a range of regular clients including real estate agents and body corporates.
Relationships are critical to this type of work, says Josh.
“We also do a lot of work connecting tradespeople like builders, painters and electricians with clients for projects like bathroom and kitchen renovations. We also do that with other local plumbing companies, people help us out and we help them out.
“It’s a pretty small industry overall so we need to support people in whatever way we can.”