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WHS the grace period is almost over SA

Many businesses are contacting us from right across Australia, particularly in SA requesting training, safety services and PPE to ensure they are up to standard as the grace period comes to an end for businesses to be compliant with the new nationally harmonised Work, Health, Safety laws.

If your business requires advice, training or safety services please call us on (08) 8596 4243 or email your query to info@affa.net.au

Total Fire Ban affecting your training schedule?

South Australian businesses will suffer the inconvenience today of having scheduled fire training cancelled due to the total fire ban across the state, unless you are a customer of Australian Fire & First Aid. We are the only company in SA to provide digital fire training and therefore the only ones who can proceed with scheduled training on a total fire ban day.

Often it can be a logistical feat to coordinate schedules for any type of training, a feat that quickly turns to frustration should training be cancelled by your provider when it rains or becomes extremely hot like today’s predicted 40c weather in Adelaide.

Australian Fire & First Aid are the only providers of Weather friendly, Environmentally friendly, WHS friendly digital fire training in South Australia. With the use of our Bullex Bullseye Digital Training system, we can train indoors or out, using laser and or water extinguishers. No nasty chemicals, no C02 and no need to cancel due to bad weather.

Click HERE for more information on our digital fire training system or contact our booking team via email on info@affa.net.au

We hope our customers enjoy training in the air conditioning today, we know our staff sure appreciate it!


WHS laws finally passed in SA

For regular followers of our safety blog it will come as no surprise that harmonised Work Health Safety legislation has recently been passed in SA. Over the past 12 months we have maintained close links with Safework SA and have kept you up to date with the latest news, predicting several months ago that the legislation would pass during spring 2012 with an early 2013 start date.

WHS was finally passed as legislation last week on Thursday 1 November 2012 and will come into effect on January 1, 2013. We can only image that many business owners will be panicking at the thought of what the new legislation means for them, especially in light of the fact that penalties have tripled and for the first time can include a jail term for individuals who flaunt the system.


From the many conferences and information sessions we have attended on the subject to the experiences of our customers in NSW, NT and QLD, we can assure you all of a few things.

To ensure your business is on track to meeting the new legislation next year, the best place to start is right here with this article >   WHS how can I be ready? It is a no nonsense guide to preparing your business for the changes that are coming.


For those of you looking to engage new providers of safety services, training or buy new PPE to bring your company up to standards, ensure you are dealing with a reputable provider. We have become very aware in this country of fly by night businesses cropping up in industries for the short term to make a quick $ when the government introduces either a cash bonus or new legislative requirements such as  Solar Companies, Insulation Companies & restoration/building companies in flood/cyclone damaged areas. Our new online safety store (whsstore.com.au) is still under construction, however we have access to over 300 items of common PPE and safety equipment at below retail cost, please feel free to email us for a price if you looking for something info@affa.net.au


Personally my best advice is to know and understand the Australian Standards, industry requirements and other laws which govern your industry and be sure that you are compliant with what they require. Do not take the word of a provider; the onus is upon you to ensure you are receiving the correct information. One of the most significant changes to a common legislation that affects all businesses with premises that is either open to the public or employs more than 1 non family member is AS3745-2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities. The training requirements in section 6.1 of this standard have now become a requirement under WHS and require all staff trained to assist in an emergency situation (first aiders, wardens etc) to undergo some form of training not less than once, in every 6 month period. Don’t get caught out updating your first aid every 6 months, contact us now to find out how to meet these new requirements without breaking the training budget.


THe pasing of WHS in SA leaves on WA and VIC lagging behind, click here to read the official announcment from Safework SA

Change your clocks and clean your smoke detector

It’s HERE, happy daylight savings everyone, we hope you parents with small children will soon be sleeping past 5:30am now that the clocks have SPRANG FORWARD ONE HOUR!
Most of us know now that daylight savings coincides with a push to change your smoke detector batteries but did you also know that you should clean your smoke detector? How? Let us show you!

Firstly you need to remove the cover of your smoke detector, this will vary depending on the model you have but it most likely requires a small twist. Instructions are often printed on the outside of the unit either pressed into the plastic moulding or via a sticker. To do this you should be as close as possible to the smoke detector and ensure you are standing on a stable surface designed for supporting the weight of an adult at height such as a step ladder.

Remove the old 9v back up battery by peeling the connector from the battery head, pulling may cause the wires in the connector to become detached. In Australia most smoke detectors will require a 9v battery as their back up but not all units have these, especially if your property was built pre 1999 and has not been sold since. If you are unsure, many companies across Australia can attend your premises to replace the smoke detector battery and clean the appliance, this way you can be sure of the type of you unit you have and what maintenance it requires, searching online is the best way to find a company near you. The other alternative is to look for a serial number stamped into the moulding and search online for maintenance instructions.

Once the battery has been removed it is time for the cleaning part, the best method involves suction to ensure any dust or pollutants that may be trapped in the unit are removed, trapped dust and pollutants are the second most common cause of false alarms, the first being the old burnt dinner! We suggest using your vaccum hose with a small brush attachment to clean the unit (even though the picture below shows a unit being cleaned with the cover on)

If you are unable to reach your unit with a vacuum, the next best method is to blow with your mouth (or a hairdryer) and use a clean cloth to wipe away any dust that is dislodged from the unit. Any type of cloth will do as long as it is DRY and CLEAN.We do not recommend using dusters as they often push pollutants further into the unit causing more problems than they solve, magic wand, feather duster, swirling microfibre – it doesn’t matter what brand you use, a duster is not recommended for this purpose.

Now that you are done, connect the new battery and reinsert it into the unit. Replace the cover of your smoke detector and most importantly TEST YOUR ALARM

Most units will have a small button located on the ‘face’ of the unit which is used to test the alarm, press it once now to ensure the battery has been correctly installed and the unit is now working.


Should your smoke detector fail to respond, remove the cover and check that the battery has been properly connected, replace the cover and try again. Occasionally wires which connect the unit to the battery can become detached when the battery is changed, if your unit fails to respond twice you may need to call an electrician.

Should your smoke detector start beeping frantically as soon as the new battery is connected, it is likely that a piece pollutant has been pushed into the detection area and is setting off the alarm. Remove the battery, clean the unit again and then try to reconnect the battery. This may need to be done two or three times until the dust or pollutant is dislodged.

Repeat for every smoke detector in the home, not just the one near the kitchen. Don’t forget to ensure smoke detectors are installed outside of bedroom entrances, even if you are renting you can purchase a battery only alarm from bunnings which can be mounted with sticky foam for approximately $10 each or placed on top of a high piece of furniture such as a bookcase.

And lastly – don’t forget to test every smoke detector ONCE A MONTH, it only takes 2 seconds to press the little button and make sure the unit beeps back at you, set a reminder on your phone to let you know when a month has passed!

If you have any questions please feel free to email them to us info@affa.net.au

Buy Batteries Now!

The 2012/2013 Daylight Saving period is almost upon us with clocks due to move forward 1 hour on October 7th 2012



This is an early reminder to change your batteries when you change your clocks, so it’s a great idea to add batteries to your shopping list this week! We’ll remind you again in the week leading up to the change of time, in the meatime don’t forget Monday October 1, 2012 is a public holiday here in SA and our office will be closed.

New Safety Store Under Construction

During our annual business conference in January 2012 we recognised that safety item retailing was not part of our core focus but had infact become a solid financial contributor to our business. Since our inception we have assisted our safety & training customers to source products direct from the manufacturers. This has afforded AFFA discounted rates with many safety wholesalers and an opportunity to provide quality equipment to our existing customers below recommended retail prices. It was almost a tongue in cheek experiment that saw us add the safety store tab to our website in early 2012 to see if there was a market for an ‘online safety store’. To our amazement, our tiny store with only 5 items is the second highest ranking page on our site (behind the home page) and sales have been steadily growing. It is with great excitement that we can now announce that our new WORK HEALTH SAFETY STORE is under construction.

The new store/business will be called WORK HEALTH SAFETY STORE and will  housed on a seperate domain, don’t worry it will still be accessible from all pages here on the AFFA website. Whilst we are building the new store with over 300 products we will be temporarily disabling the current store, all of the items we curently sell Aust wide including Warden Hats, 3 in 1 Keyrings, First Aid Kits, Fire Blankets, Stretchers, First Aid Equipment, AED’s and more will still be available, simply send your order to info@affa.net.au.

The new store will continue to sell quality safety products at recommended retail prices and will continue to offer discounts below retail prices to our current training & safety customers.

If you are trying to source a specialised product please do not hesitate to contact us for a comapartive quote on the email above or 08 8596 4243

We recently saved a valued  customer $840 (each) on the purchase of 2 AED machines. St John had priced them at $2540 each, we were able to source the same machine for $1700 each.



Anaphylaxsis – would you know what to do?

Allergies are becoming more and more commonplace in today’s society among both adults and children. Those who work with the public or in a one on one setting should consider undertaking anaphylaxsis training.


Would you know what to do if someone in your care went into anaphylactic shock? For more information please click on the link!


WHS, do we need training now?

Tony from NSW posted this question on our website recently, the answer was complex and long winded so we have reposted the question

Dear sir / madam.
I hope you can assist me in the following?
our construction site plumbers (NSW) are required to use oxy / acetelene, therefore they must have a serviced & suitable fire extinguisher in close proximity to their working area. I am trying to arrange for our plumbing employees to partake in regular (say, every 6 months) training in the use of fire extinguishers. However, in order to make this request to our company’s management. I have been searching the Act / Regulation / Codes of Practice and some Australian Standards for documented sections that relates to the requirement of workers having this training.
I believe, if a worker is required to have a extinguisher… Then it is manadatory for that worker to be train in the use of that extinguisher.
Can you help? Do you have any reference material that I can use for highlighting my intentions to our management?
ps. It shouldn’t be about the $ dollar!! I’ve been asking relevant sourses and no advice to date:-(

Thank you

Tony Delyfer
Triple ‘M’ Mechanical Services (NSW WHS coordinator)

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your question. It has taken a while to answer your query as we have had to work in consultation with Workcover NSW to ensure the definitive answer reached was supported by the legislation you are bound by and the authority which upholds that legislation. As you are well aware all laws are open to interpretation, it is simply not possible to cover every single scenario in life (or the work force) and create a specific set of laws for every possible circumstance. The answer to your question unfortunately is not simple so please bear with me as I explain.

The new nationally harmonised WHS laws are, harmonised nationally, this means they are the same in each state but this does not mean it is a federal law. WHS will continue to be governed by each individual state or territory however the laws will be the same barring a few minor jurisdictional items. This is why the laws are operational in some states and not yet in others. Some states are lagging as the harmonisation laws mean quite big changes to policies, process, procedures and a skyrocketing of penalties for those who don’t comply; this is the case in states such as SA and the reason why the SA State Government is yet to pass the new laws. Qld previously upheld some of the most complex OHS laws in Australia and has the highest penalties for noncompliance, changing from OHS to WHS has been a minor transition and the laws were passed on January 1, 2012.

This history is important when answering your question as we need to be sure which law your state/business is currently operating under. The new WHS laws have a few major changes to them and one of them may affect your decisions. The draft legislation was passed as an Act (law) in NSW on January 1, 2012.

There have been some major changes under WHS and two of the biggest effect your question. The term ‘Employer’ has been discarded in favour of PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) and ‘Employee’ has been shelved in favour of ‘Worker’. The term PCBU is a little misleading as it does not refer to an individual as much as it does a business entity (unless the business is a sole trader). For example the New South Wales Police Force is a PCBU but not an actual person. Worker refers to anyone who conducts a type of work and this now includes volunteers, temp staff, agency staff & students on work experience in addition to paid workers. PCBU’s will now be responsible for ensuring there is enough safety staff, equipment & training to meet the needs of all workers at any given time. For example a retailer which normally has 3 staff but can swell up to 20 with Christmas casuals is required to ensure there is enough trained personnel and safety equipment to meet the needs of 20 employees, no matter how short the employment term or type.

The other big change to WHS relates to building and construction sites. In the past each individual company on a site was responsible for their own staff, their own safety and their own equipment. Now the head contractor on each site becomes the PCBU in terms of safety and all subcontracted companies effectively become workers under WHS – this means if the head contractor on a site is Company A, and TRIPLE-M are contracted to undertake a portion of the work, Company A is responsible for your safety and ensuring the correct equipment and trained staff are available. The same applies if you are undertaking maintenance or shut down work at another company premises; under WHS they are considered the PCBU and you the worker. But wait . . . . It’s not that simple, it’s safety. There are two other parties which may determine whether or not training is required – that’s right parties, not laws.

Party 1 – The PCBU can delegate their safety duties, however they cannot delegate their responsibility. In simple terms this means that the PCBU must ensure safety needs are being met but they do not have to directly provide them. Smart businesses which sub contract other companies are making it part of their contractual agreements that the subcontract staff (or staff of contracted companies) must be trained in basics such as first aid, warden and extinguisher use. As an example; a large international client of ours (let’s call them Company C) use sub contracted security staff at their manufacturing plant in Adelaide. All subcontracted security personnel must be trained in Warden, Extinguisher & Apply First Aid. Company C do not directly train any of their own staff to fulfil these roles for the following reasons;

  • Should an injury occur they do not want any more staff than necessary away from incoming producing activities, hence it makes sense that non production staff (such as security guards) are the trained first aiders
  • Company C have met their responsibility to ensure enough emergency personnel are on site to cover the entire volume of staff however they have delegated (outsourced) the duty to another company
  • Company C’s staff will not lose time from income producing activities to undertake training and skills updates
  • It should be noted that the cost of such training is negligible as it is a tax deduction and is now reflected in the hourly charge for the security staff , this was not a determining factor in making this decision

The reason I mention this is because many large companies which regularly use subcontracted staff or trades, just like Company C, are expected to follow suit. You may soon find yourselves unwelcome on building sites without current Apply First Aid, Warden and Extinguisher qualifications.

Party 2 – Your insurance company, the large underwriters have been monitoring the progress of WHS in the test state of Qld, in particular when it comes to fire safety. They are well aware of the laws and for some time have been requiring companies in other states to provide evidence of training to obtain insurance before it has legally been a requirement. It is not unusual for an insurer to require more than the legal minimum in terms of safety from a client based on a risk assessment. Irrespective of what you are required to do under WHS, as a bare minimum you should be clarifying the need for training with your professional indemnity and public liability insurers.

What does WHS say?

There are several different regulations, acts and standards that must be reviewed in order to assess whether or not training is required. Not every possible scenario for every specific task can be covered in a a document which is approximately 720 pages long and the new act does not like to repeat itself, so you will see a lot of clauses which are only 1 line long and say (see clause ?)In lay terms it means you need to apply the same principles outlines in the clause quoted to the subject heading.

NSW Work Health Safety Regulation 2011, Part 6.3 Duties of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking, Division 1 General, 297   Management of risks to health and safety states;

A person conducting a business or undertaking must manage risks associated with the carrying out of construction work in accordance with Part 3.1.

Note. WHS Act—section 19 (see clause 9).

Part 3.1 describes the way in which a PCBU must manage the risks in 8 parts, part 36 contains the information we require and says the following;

36   Hierarchy of control measures

(1)  This clause applies if it is not reasonably practicable for a duty holder to eliminate risks to health and safety.

(2)  A duty holder, in minimising risks to health and safety, must implement risk control measures in accordance with this clause.

(3)  The duty holder must minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable, by doing 1 or more of the following:

(a)  substituting (wholly or partly) the hazard giving rise to the risk with something that gives rise to a lesser risk,

(b)  isolating the hazard from any person exposed to it,

(c)  implementing engineering controls.

(4)  If a risk then remains, the duty holder must minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable, by implementing administrative controls.

(5)  If a risk then remains, the duty holder must minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable, by ensuring the provision and use of suitable personal protective equipment.

Note. A combination of the controls set out in this clause may be used to minimise risks, so far as is reasonably practicable, if a single control is not sufficient for the purpose.

It is point  5 which is of particular interest here – If a risk then remains, the duty holder must minimise the remaining risk, so far as is reasonably practicable, by ensuring the provision and use of suitable personal protective equipment. This is of interest as you advised the plumbers have been provided with fire extinguishers and in consultation with Workcover NSW in this circumstance, the extinguishers would be regarded as PPE. In addition to clauses not mentioned here on the appropriate use, storage and training for PPE. In another part of the regulations relating to PPE it states that appropriate training is required, so following this path the answer would be yes, it is required. However the most definitive part of the regulations that cannot be argued with (The golden egg) is this;

Part 3.2 General workplace management, Division 1 Information, training and instruction

39   Provision of information, training and instruction

(1)  This clause applies for the purposes of section 19 of the Act to a person conducting a business or undertaking.

(2)  The person must ensure that information, training and instruction provided to a worker is suitable and adequate having regard to:

(a)  the nature of the work carried out by the worker, and

(b)  the nature of the risks associated with the work at the time the information, training or instruction is provided, and

(c)  the control measures implemented.

Maximum penalty:

(a)  in the case of an individual—$6,000, or

(b)  in the case of a body corporate—$30,000.

Therefore the answer is yes, extinguisher training must be provided to your plumbers under the NSW WHS Regulations 2011.

The question we ask now is how much training and when? AS3745-2010 is the standard which outlines the type and frequency of ‘fire’ training which is required.

Section 6.5.3 First-attack firefighting (extinguisher training) states; these occupants shall attend a skills retention activity in First-attack firefighting at intervals not greater than 2 years.

AS37454-2010 outlines the need for, and responsibilities of, wardens, emergency response skills training & general occupant training among other things. This simple question is far more complicated than even I first imaged so I will address the other issues which have been raised in a private email.

What I will conclude with is a responsibility that lies with the lead contractor on sites your staff are working at, in the case of construction the lead contractor has the same responsibilities as a PCBU and under AS3745-2010, Section 6.4.1 General Occupant Training in summary it states; PCBU’s are required to provide general training to all occupants (meaning casuals, employees, subcontractors, volunteers and others covered under the WHS term ‘worker’) at the commencement of their duties at a workplace or structure and a skills retention activity should be provided at intervals not greater than 12 months. This means that every time your plumbers enter a new site they must be provided with basic emergency information as way of induction which includes topics such as who is the Chief Warden, where are the fire blankets, hose reels & extinguishers located, where the emergency exits are (including during the construction process) and where the emergency assembly point is and more.

Thank you for your question, we hope we have been helpful, if any of you have a question relating to OHS, WHS, new laws, safety training or services please email it to us at info@affa.net.au.

The answers to this question were compiled by AFFA staff members who are safety industry experts, in consultation with Workcover NSW.

The following table describes where each state is in the process of WHS harmonisation.

Commonwealth – WHS Laws passed

Queensland – WHS Laws passed

New South Wales – WHS Laws passed

Victoria – No Legislative action, likely to delay until 1 January 2013

Western Australia – No Legislative action

Tasmania – WHS Bill before parliament

South Australia – No Legislative action

Northern Territory – WHS Laws passed

Australian Capital Territory – WHS Laws passed

3in1 Bodyguard SOS Rescue Keyrings


3in1 Bodyguard SOS Recue Keyrings are now available from the AFFA Store. Featuring 3 life saving devices to be used by you in an emergency or as a first responder at an accident site. Each keyring is available in a choice of four bright colours and has the following features;

1 – A sharp easy blow, SOS whistle to alert rescuers to your location

2- A seat belt cutter to quickly free people from trapped vehicles (comes with rubber safety cap)

3 – Window Breaking tool – to gain access to trapped people or animals in vehicles

Other versions of this keyring only have two safety tools,

"Don't buy less for more money 
our 3in1 bodygaurd has THREE safety tools 
in one handy keyring" 

$20 (inc GST) each delivered Australia Wide.

Please email info@affa.net.au to place your order, an invoice and payment instructions will be sent to you.

* Discounts apply for Emergency Services Personnel and AFFA Training Customers.

Tailored training for Wine Industry, Fleurieu SA

Do you work in the wine industry in SA? Need Fire or First Aid training? Maxwell Wines of McLaren Vale are hosting a tailored CPR update, First Aid Training session and full Fire Training course (warden, extinguisher & evacuation) tailored to deal with the specifics of the wine industry this month and the courses are open to all workers in the SA wine industry.

For pricing and further information, please click the link below which will take you to the McLaren Vale Grape Wine & Tourism Association Newsletter. MVGWT members receive a discount. To make a booking please email jo@maxwellwines.com.au or info@affa.net.au