February 2013 News

This newsletter includes items on the 2013 EMSA Conference, Adelaide’s move to become a ‘regenerative’ city, ISO guidelines on customers satisfaction, a corporate sustainability survey, Virotec site remediation news, further progress towards harmonisation of national WH&S laws, new energy management and efficient lighting guides, food wastage, electrical vehicles savings, safety evolution and guidance for making OHS procedures more relevant to workers.


  • EMSA Conference 2013
  • 2012 EMSA AGM
  • Welcome to newly registered participants
  • ‘Regenerating’ Adelaide
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction
  • WH&S Harmonisation a step closer 
  • Virotec Completes Site Remediation for Tas Paper
  • Corporate Sustainability Climate Change Survey
  • Energy Management Guide for Tenants
  • Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Report
  • 50% of worlds food being wasted – ANNUALLY!
  • Electrifying 10% of UK fleet could save £350k
  • Better safety – from reporting to behavioural safety
  • Guide to making your OHS rules and procedures more relevant 

EMSA Conference 2013

EMSA will hold its next conference in June (24th – 27th) on the theme “Management systems: achieving culture change”. This year, the Conference will be held at the Mercure Resort (Palm Meadows Drive Carrara), a convenient 30 minutes from the Gold Coast Airport. The conference will be preceded by two topical half-day systems workshops, and will be followed by a field tour to nearby examples of systems implementation. While it is expected that the key focus areas are QA, EMS and WH&S, contributions on other systems (data, financial, security, safety management etc. are also welcome.

Members interested in running one of the pre-conference workshops, chairing a session, suggesting a topic area, or hosting a field tour site, should get in touch with the committee as soon as possible at contact@ems.asn.au. Details on keynote speakers, workshops, and the program will be added to the website as they are confirmed – so, watch this space!

We are also now seeking sponsors for this event, so if you want to profile your business and the systems services it provides, this is a great way to do it! Sponsorship packages will be available shortly on the website, but please contact contact@ems.asn.au if you want such information urgently.

Conference website


The EMSA AGM was held on December 6th, 2012, via teleconference. I’d like to thank both Chris Reid (who stepped down as treasurer, having been associate with EMSA since it began) and Neil Randles, who joined the Committee last year for their contributions to the Association. The new committee is formed by myself as President/Executive Officer, Mick Dawes Vice-President, Roger Johnson, Treasurer, Claire Braund Secretary, with Shona Cameron as a general committee member. We have commenced organisation for the 2013 conference, and look forward to a great year. There is still some space on the committee for anyone who has a hankering to join up though, as Mick Dawes can only participate for a short time this year. So, if you’d like to get involved, please let us know.

New to the EMSA network

We’ve had around 20 people register with the website since the last newsletter – nice to have Candice, John, David, Leigh, Alison, Mark, Felix, David, Hugh, Roshan, Kerrie, Paul, Marga, Imoh, Greg, Ross, Earl, Paul and Mohammad on board! Also, a big thanks to Felix for his support for the Canberra training workshops – Felix’s assistance was very valuable, and we hope to be able to offer these workshops again in the coming months. It’s this sort of support that helps make the Association a great place to get involved and meet with others who work in the systems areas. 

Our new registrants on the website are mostly involved in the environmental systems areas (as environment officers, planners or advisors), but other roles listed included training coordinators, agronomists, production managers, managing directors and students. Integrated roles (as HSE managers or officers) were also a prominent position description. 


I encourage all of you who have not yet done so, to become financial members, so that you can make your profiles public, and help others find you to share your wisdom! If you are not sure if you are a financial member or not, simply log in to the website and check your status. Being a member means that you have access to restricted areas of the website, can make your profile public, and receive discounted registration fees for EMSA events – particularly important for the upcoming conference in June.

‘Regenerating’ Adelaide

The South Australian government has embarked on a major initiative to make Adelaide a pioneering ‘regenerative city region’. With a focus on making urban resource use compatible with ecosystems, new policies on energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport, zero waste, organic waste composting, water efficiency, wastewater irrigation of crops, peri-urban agriculture, and reforestation are being implemented, with the aim of creating eco-friendly urban development. South Australia aims to become a model city region for the rest of the world. The work was stimulated by Herbert Girardet, who served as the ‘Thinker in Residence’ in Adelaide in 2003.

View the report guiding this work (Girardet, H. 2004. Creating a Sustainable Adelaide. Department of the Premier and Cabinet)

Ensuring customer satisfaction (and what to do if you haven’t achieved this!)

Keeping customers and clients happy is essential for a successful business (and organisation, for that matter). Sadly, however, it seems that some businesses and organisations don’t really ‘get’ it, when it comes to client satisfaction. While websites and oter documentation may provide a ‘complaints’ section or hotline, too often, customers get little or no response or satisfaction from these avenues, and end up finding other suppliers – while complaining loudly and long to anyone who will listen about the poor service they got from ‘XYZ’ company or organisation. 

Luckily, ISO provides some extensive information to deal with these issues. The ISO 10000 series of documents provides guidance on conduct for organisations for dealing with customer satisfaction, complaints, dispute resolution, methods to assess customer satisfaction, quality management training and plans, and related issues. Each of the documents in the series focuses on a particular aspect of customer satisfaction and if necessary, you can also get a third party to assess your systems. These documents are being used in Australia– for example, the  Queensland Ombudsman created a guide for effective complaints management based on ISO 10002.

See ISO catalogue

WH&S Harmonisation a step closer 

As of January 1st, 2013, South Australia’s work health and safety legislation (including the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) and associated guidelines) will align with New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth legislation.

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) identify the control measures that must be applied to specific work activities and hazards, for example machine guarding and noise exposure. The Codes of Practice provide practical information, or guidance, on how to meet the requirements of the regulations. These non-mandatory Codes provide information to help workplaces achieve safe systems of work.

The key principles of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) are consistent with long established and familiar occupational health and safety standards. From 1 January 2013 the Act:

  • establishes health and safety duties, including the primary duty to protect any person from exposure to hazards and risks that arise from work
  • provides for worker representation, consultation and participation including through Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
  • enables compliance and enforcement through SafeWork SA, the regulator, and
  • provides for the creation of regulations and Codes of Practice.

Transitional periods apply for any significantly new regulatory requirements, to provide businesses and workers with time to prepare for compliance.

Virotec Completes Site Remediation for Tas Paper

Virotec Global Solutions continues its work in Tasmania, in site remediation. Recently, a large-scale application of the ViroFlow Technology was used for the demolition and site remediation of the oceanfront Paper Mill at Burnie Cell Plant, Tasmania. The mercury contaminated site has received final sign-off from the Tasmania Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), giving it a clean bill of health in preparation for sale.

Ceasing operation in 2010, the Paper Mill is the last of three large-scale jobs implemented for Tas Paper by Virotec in the last two years, all of which involved the treatment and disposal of mercurycontaminated waste.

Over a six-month period from January to June 2012, Virotec demolished the contaminated sections of the Cell Plant, excavated the concrete and disused tanks, carefully sorted all waste, including concrete, steel, timber, bricks, soil and other contaminated solids, then pulverised the concrete and bricks on-site. Waste solids were treated on-site as it contained high levels of mercury tightly bound into the solid matrix of the waste. As asbestos was also present in the building, Virotec took special precaution to dispose of this material, conforming with strict health and safety standards.

Across the three projects, including the Wesley Vale Pulp and Paper Mill and Burnie Car Park, Virotec has treated approximately 5,000 tonnes of contaminated soil and approximately 40,000 litres of contaminated water to the Australia and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council 2000 water quality guidelines. Another 1,200 tonnes of other contaminated material, including free mercury, was sent off-site to Virotec’s treatment facility.

View the full project case study of the Burnie Pulp and Paper Mill demolition and site remediation

Corporate Sustainability Climate Change Survey 2012 

NCS International recently was involved in the 2012 Corporate Environmental Sustainability & Climate Change Governance Survey. This initiative was aimed at Australian senior and executive corporate managers, with the objective of promoting better understanding of prevailing trends in business sustainability and climate change responses. The survey considered issues such 

  • preparedness for a carbon-constrained future
  • impacts of carbon tax and emissions trading on industry
  • benchmarking
  • progress made over the past 12 months in environmental sustainability and climate change practices amongst businesses
  • risks and opportunities of climate change to businesses

For more information, contact Matthew Day Business Development & Marketing Manager at Matthew.Day@ncsi.com.au 

NABERS launches ‘Energy Management Guide for Tenants’

NABERS announced the launch of their comprehensive new guide to help tenants take control of the office energy use on November 2012. This comprehensive guide provides practical advice to tenants on the key steps involved in starting their energy efficiency journey. The guide, also gives recommendations on where to go for professional advice and assistance. 

The guide provides an understanding of energy use, explores the key opportunities for cost savings and the business case to support implementation and assists tenants in office buildings to manage their energy use efficiently while maintaining optimal lighting, heating, cooling and power levels to support business’s operations.

NSW Government releases Energy Efficient Lighting Technology Report 

Lighting contributes approximately 15 to 25 % to business energy use and operating costs. The ever-increasing energy prices certainly have helped to highlight the need for businesses to reduce their costs of lighting. Energy use associated with lighting systems can be reduced by up to 82% if energy efficient lighting practices are adopted. Efficient lighting systems not only reduce energy consumption but improve the working environment, increase safety and enhance staff well-being.

The NSW government released a report in July last year designed to help choose the right lighting, to make better decisions regarding lighting upgrades through outlining the technical specifications and to present a business case for various lighting options. 

The report addresses:

  • general information – measuring light, common types of lighting, light emitting diodes (LED) as an emerging technology, lamp disposal and recycling and developing a business case 
  • interior lighting – upgrade options for lighting in common commercial, industrial and institutional facilities, such as offices, manufacturing plants, warehouses, schools, libraries and hospitals 
  • exterior and road lighting – upgrade options for floodlighting as well as major and minor road lighting 
  • emergency and exit lighting – energy reduction strategies associated with emergency and exit lighting products 
  • lighting control – potential for saving energy with occupancy sensors, daylight linking, central switching, zone resetting, manual switching, timers and voltage reduction
  • voltage reduction and optimisation – energy saving technology, particularly in older sites where major lighting infrastructure changes may be difficult
  • energy efficient lighting technical details – technical specifications for each lighting upgrade option including illuminance, maintenance, safety and background calculations
  • Energy Savings Certificates – calculating the number of Energy Savings Certificates (ESC) and how to apply for them.

Download the report

Up to 50% of world’s food wasted

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers recently reported that between 1 to 2 billion tonnes of food (of the estimated annual production of 4 billion metric tonnes) are being wasted due to poor farming practices, inadequate infrastructure and supermarkets unsustainable practices. Consumers also contribute through poor selection choices, over-purchasing, poor storage, and rejection of foods based on minor cosmetic blemishes. The study also found that 550 billion m3 of water and significant amounts of energy are also wasted throughout the food production/market chain.

The report concludes that more efficient methods of food production and transport, coupled with changes in consumer behaviour and supermarket procurement policies, could boost yields by 60-100% and prevent wasteful use of resources. 

Solutions to food waste vary from improved production, enhanced transport and storage, through to changes in marketing policies and better education of consumers. 

Download the report

Electrifying 10% of UK fleet saves £350k

Switching 10% of commercial vehicle fleets to electric vehicles could cut CO2 emissions by 5% and save up to $ AUD 535,955.00 per year, according to the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory. The y estimated that for groups running more than 420 vehicles, reduced fuel and maintenance costs and taxes could see annual running costs cut by 1.6%, slashing an estimated £350,000 a year from costs. Different sectors could achieve different levels of savings, with those industries operating in urban areas, with low mileage and frequent stopping had the most to gain by switching to electric vehicles. While there are costs associated with no vehicle purchases, and emissions of particulate matter may increase, the report concluded that there were significant advantages to switching overall. 

The report, and a number of other publications on sustainable transport, can be accessed through the Transport Research Laboratory’s website

Better safety – from reporting to behavioural safety

Over the past few years, there has been a growing awareness that people have a huge influence on safety outcomes, through the choices they make and behaviours they follow. Some estimates suggest that between 80-90% of all accidents are the result of workers ‘unsafe behaviours’. While in the past, there has been a tendency to think that accidents could be ‘engineered out’, it is now increasingly recognised that technical approaches, when used without regard to behaviour, are unlikely to reduce accident rates to acceptable levels (whatever those levels might be perceived to be!). 

Influencing future behaviour by identifying causes of present unsafe behaviour is strategy that is being increasing employed in parallel with traditional safety management systems. Behavioural-based safety programs should establish common goals (between managers and employees), define expected outcomes and target behaviours (based on safety assessments), use observational data to establish benchmark behaviours and to inform decisions, provide feedback and review programs for effectiveness. Improved incident reporting, coupled with effective programs to identify improved practices and assist in modifying worker behaviours (Including removing perverse incentives that encourage ‘cutting corners’) can all assist in creating an evolution in behavioural safety in the workplace.

More details...

Guide to making your OHS rules and procedures relevant

A collaboration between the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the UK-based consultancy Health and Safety Technology Management (UK) and Ballarat university in Victoria, has resulted in the publication of guidance materials to help employers make their health and safety rules and procedures more relevant to the work they do and the staff they protect. 

Aimed a senior OH&S professionals, the guidelines take both a top down (managers and supervisors) and a bottom-up view of the development of best practice safety and health ‘rules’ development in the workplace.

Three documents are available for downloading – the ‘Sound Foundations’ summary report (http://bit.ly/WCPfhK), the full report ‘Building sound foundations – notes of guidance’ (http://bit.ly/VQYHiR) and a review of the literature on management of safety rules and procedures (http://bit.ly/RHw7CJ). All three documents are worth a read if you are seriously considering developing sound and effective OH&S rules and procedures for your workplace.  

New policy on contributions to EMSA newsletters

The 2012 committee decided that contributions to the newsletters will be handled in the following way:

  • Financial members of EMSA may contribute to, and have included in, all published newsletters, an unlimited number of notices each 12 month period
  • Registrants on the website may contribute a maximum of 2 notices only in any 12 month period. 

The committee values the interest of all registered with the website, but wishes to show its support to those who support the Association with membership fees, hence this changed policy. We thank you for your understanding in this matter.