News & Events

Spotlight on safety at the August Business Breakfast


It was the chance to hear directly from WorkSafe that brought a crowd of 90 plumbers, corporate partners, Tradelink staff and customers out to the north side of the city on Friday 18 August for the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) themed Business Breakfast.

WorkSafe’s Construction Program Inspectors Steve Thornely and Cameron Ellis opened up the morning by providing an overview of Victoria’s construction industry which is covered by four broad sectors: general, housing, civil and infrastructure, and utilities.

Alarmingly, construction work is responsible for nearly a third of all fatalities and one in five construction workers are likely to be injured following incidents related to falls, structural collapse, electrocution or working near traffic. Another statistic shared by Steve and Cameron that took many in the audience by surprise was that out of the six fatal construction related incidents this year, five of the victims were over the age of 55. This was a sombre reminder that no matter how experienced a worker is, precaution must always be exercised and the correct processes followed.

To start getting the message out to construction workers early in their careers about the importance of safety, Industry Education Officers have been engaged to provide a crossover between industry and education providers with a view to informing students about the latest updates on OHS issues.

Steve and Cameron also provided an overview of the key changes for the new 2017 Construction Regulations. Highlighted for the audience were prevention of falls, Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), construction induction training, and duties for self employed people in relation to emergency procedures if there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed by soil or other material when construction work is being performed. Click here to read the latest WorkSafe guidance note on SWMS

The break in the morning’s schedule for breakfast to be served also provided valuable networking time and the opportunity for guests to visit the trade displays from Master Plumbers Corporate Partners Aquaknect, deconta, Kingspan Water and SME Fleet and Vehicle Purchasing.

The impact of injuries and fatalities whilst at work was presented from a different perspective by the next speaker, David Pearce of Legacy. Legacy is a charity that provides services to families of Australian Defence Force veterans who have died or become incapacitated either during their service or after. It operates with around 5,900 volunteers around Australia who act as mentors to the widows and their families and who ensure Legacy’s promise to care for the families of deceased veterans is kept. To find out more about Legacy, visit the Legacy website -

Finishing up the morning, Master Plumbers OHS Officer, Rod Tresidder, was joined by Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria (PAV) apprentice, Michael Fedke, for an insight into the impacts a workplace injury has on the individual and the employer, with the costs incurred being far more than just financial.

Michael, now a fourth year apprentice and still working with PAV, talked about his personal experience after injuring his back in mid 2016 whilst carrying out a lift with another worker. Initially what he thought would be a short stint away from work, resulted in six months of intensive treatment and the emotional struggle coping with being incapacitated whilst being a brand new father to his first born child. With full support and assistance from Rod, we are pleased to report that at the end of last year Michael received a full clearance to return to work.

Rod, who works closely with Master Plumbers members in managing WorkCover claims and return to work plans, emphasised the importance of employers showing compassion and understanding towards an employee when they are injured. Rod has seen first hand how this makes a huge difference in making the process far more effective for everyone involved.

Rod Tresidder is available to assist Master Plumbers members with all of their OHS requirements including development of Safety Management Plans, SWMS, WorkCover Claims and return to work plans. Members can contact Rod by phoning 03 9329 9622.

Thank you to our Platinum Partner and sponsor of the Business Breakfast Series, Tradelink.