BRCA Bytes Q2 2020

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Welcome to the Q2 2020 Issue of BRCA Bytes for Registered Cablers

Our apologies for such a delay in sending you this latest BRCA Bytes newsletter. We had hoped to send it to you late June, but we held off to announce the release of the latest edition of the AS/CA S009 ‘Installation Requirements For Customer Cabling (Wiring Rules)’. Unfortunately it took longer than expected, having only been officially released last Thursday, 20 August 2020. The standard for customer cabling products – AS/CA S008 – was also released on the same day. So, now that they’ve been released, we can issue our newsletter to inform you on these two very important standards.

Both new regulatory standards – AS/CA S008:2020 and AS/CA S009:2020 – can both be downloaded for free from www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents/all/Standards. And they both contain several major changes to the previous editions – AS/CA S008:2010 and AS/CA S009:2013. They take effect immediately, so we strongly recommend downloading them and getting to know them as soon as possible. You’ll find an article in this newsletter with more details on these important standards. And to help you better understand the changes they bring to our industry, we’ve scheduled a live webinar about them, delivered by the Chair of the Standards Committee, Murray Teale, at 11 am AEST Tuesday 8 September. You should have received an invitation via email with a link to register to attend a couple days ago.

We thought we’d also reiterate that the BRCA office is open, in spite of being located in Melbourne. When the Victorian Government announced that Melbourne would go into Stage 4 COVID lockdown, we researched whether we could remain open and drew the conclusion that we could because we provide an essential service. That means you can call us on 1800 306 444 for any assistance. With all the other BICSI and BRCA staff working from home, I’m in the office on my own, so if I don’t answer your call, it just means I’m on another call or on a webinar. Just leave a message on our answering service and I’ll contact you as soon as possible, usually that same day.

We’re also introducing a new regular series of safety articles, from safety expert Gary Rowe. Gary is a safety engineer and he’s been helping companies with safety planning for decades. So we get the benefit of applying Gary’s sage advice to make our workplace and homes safer environments. In this issue of BRCA Bytes, Gary shows us how to extend a workplace safety culture into our personal lives.

We’re also excited to advise you that the telecommunications regulator – ACMA – has asked BRCA to assist them recruit knowledgeable people from industry fill some key roles within their organisation. If you’re interested, or know of someone who might be suitable, the article below outlines details and provides the link to ACMA’s jobs portal.

We were also approached by the ACCC to warn the industry of a product safety recall, so please check that article in case you’re affected by the product in question.

You’ll also find two important technical articles covering 5G and firestopping that are highly relevant to our industry. All-in-all, a lot of very worthwhile reading, in spite of the delay to publish it. And we hope many of you can join us for the S009 webinar at 11 am AEST Tuesday 8 September.

Paul Stathis
CEO, BICSI Registered Cablers Australia

New Cabling Products and Wiring Rules Published

The long-anticipated updated editions of the two key cabling standards were released this week, bringing significant changes to the safety and network integrity criteria for telecommunications customer premises cabling. The revised Standards are AS/CS S008 Requirements for Customer Cabling Products and AS/CA S009 Installation Requirements for Customer Cabling (Wiring Rules).

The revisions to the Standards include safeguards for the distribution of hazardous voltages over communications cabling – an important step, given the growing trend toward communications cables also being used to carry electrical power.

New provisions also cater to the explosive growth of connected devices in Australian homes and businesses – ‘Smart Homes’ exploiting the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).

The Standards have been the backbone of the cabling industry in Australia for several decades. The objective of the Standards is to set out the minimum requirements to ensure:

  • the safety and integrity of a cabling installation in customer premises and of the telecommunications network to which it is connected; and
  • that cabling products used in Australia are fi- for-purpose.

The Standards are enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the nation’s 70,000 registered cablers treat them as their cabling ‘Bible’.

John Stanton, CEO of Communications Alliance, said the review of the Standards was extensive and benefited from expert input from more than 20 stakeholder organisations and individuals across the communications and broader industry, adding: “The cabling sector touches the lives of every Australian and it is important that Standards remain ‘fit for purpose’, particularly as new technologies and connected solutions change the face of cabling and networks.”

The Working Committee responsible for the revision was chaired by Murray Teale from VTI Services and has drawn upon the most currently available cabling industry information to review and update the two Standards. One of the fundamental aims of the Standards is to prevent the exposure of telecommunications service provider employees, cabling providers, customers or other persons to hazardous voltages.

“New uses of cabling, such as for IoT, saw the Working Committee address a range of topics” Teale said. “One was a fundamental change to the way the Standards reference new classifications of electrical power.”

The updated Standards include new and revised requirements in a number of key areas, including:

  • a new three-stage classification system or ‘hazards-based standard engineering’ approach against potentially increasing risks from rising energy levels in cables, and safeguards between hazardous energy sources and body parts;
  • new voltage and amperage limits on electrical circuits that can be carried over generic customer cabling;
  • new requirements for communications cables that are also intended to be used to carry electrical power – for example to remotely powered devices such as wireless access points, surveillance cameras, smart lighting, digital signage, building management controllers and sensors;
  • new requirements to assist cablers to select cabling products that are fit for purpose for a particular installation;
  • additional rules for optical fibre systems to guard against laser hazards that can be associated with optical fibre systems;
  • incorporation of elements of the National Construction Code relating to cable flammability and ‘fire-stopping’ to help inhibit the propagation of fire; and
  • new rules for pit and access hole products, with the aim of improving public safety through a reduction in the number of trip hazards

Both Standards can be downloaded free from https://www.commsalliance.com.au/Documents/all/Standards.

ACMA Seeking to Employ Cabling Professionals

The BRCA office was recently approached by the Australian Telecommunications Media Authority (ACMA), seeking assistance in securing people from both the telecommunications and radiocommunications industries to work as Regulatory Analysts and Compliance Analysts in the Technical Regulation and Carrier Infrastructure Section, located in its Melbourne office.

Working for Australia’s communications and media regulator would be an excellent opportunity for industry experts to contribute to the direction of the telecommunications industry into dealing with technological advancements in a structured manner that benefits the industry and community at-large.

Regulatory Analysts are sought to work in the ACMA’s Technical Regulation and Carrier Infrastructure Section to work on the regulation of devices and transmitters, customer cabling,

telecommunications carrier licensing and submarine cables.

Key responsibilities may include:

  • Project management of statutory processes or regulatory development processes;
  • Management of the ACMA’s relationship with customer cabling registrars;
  • Maintenance of international mutual recognition arrangements for technical accreditation; and
  • Development of new regulatory frameworks following the expected passage of legislation.

Compliance Analysts to work in the ACMA’s Monitoring and Compliance Section to manage the risk of spectrum interference and other harms to the Australian community through radio-frequency; spectrum monitoring, diagnosis and analysis, investigation, other compliance and enforcement activities; and education programs.

Ideal candidates for all roles are expected to be able to:

  • communicate effectively to influence positive behaviour and increase awareness of compliance and legislative requirements;
  • apply legislation in a complex regulatory environment and determine appropriate actions;
  • identify risks and opportunities for improvement;
  • organise and adapt work practices to achieve outcomes within agreed timelines;
  • thrive within a team environment and contribute to the achievement of results through being agile, curious and solutions focused; and
  • negotiate, communicate, and build relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders in the community and industry in a complex, dynamic regulatory environment.

If you consider your skills and abilities match the requirements of the roles and this sounds like the

opportunity you are looking for, the ACMA would like to hear from you.

The ACMA’s online careers portal will guide interested parties through the application and submission process.

Your application will need to include:

  • your resume;
  • the contact details of two referees; and
  • a ‘one-page pitch’ telling us how your skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications make you the best person for the job.

If you’d like more information on these positions, please contact the BRCA office via phone on 1800 306 444 or email info@bicsi.com.au and we will refer your inquiry to the ACMA’s Technical Regulation and Carrier Infrastructure Section.

Firestopping Essentials for Cablers

While fire protection isn’t a common issue for cablers, most cablers will be confronted by it when they need to route cables through a wall or floor that’s classified as a fire-containment (or fire-rated) barrier. For some cablers, this is a regular occurrence and they know exactly what to do. But for most cablers – especially those unfamiliar with the fire regulations in Australia’s National Construction Code (NCC) – it can be quite daunting when they consider the liabilities they’re taking on by potentially compromising a fire-containment barrier, thereby putting lives and property at risk. Every cabler must understand that there are major responsibilities and accountabilities whenever a penetration is made in a fire-rated barrier, no matter how small or large.

This was a major issue for the committee revising the AS/CA S009 cabling installation regulations, with the existing ‘firestopping’ clause updated for better guidance to cablers in these situations. (Note: AS/CA S009:2020 will be released late 2020 and replace the current AS/CA S009:2013 regulations)

BICSI recently wrote an article on this topic for ECD magazine, covering the rationale of the cabling and building regulations behind the S009 update. When it’s published later this year, BICSI will seek permission from the publisher to include it in the next BRCA Bytes newsletter. But it the meantime, this article will provide practical guidance that BRCA obtained from a firestopping expert on what cablers can and should do when they’re faced with having to make a penetration in a fire-rated barrier.

Hilti Australia’s Fire Protection Codes and Approvals Manager, Hani Adnan advises that the NCC stipulates safeguards against the spread of fire and smoke for all classes of buildings in Australia that can save lives and protect assets when emergencies do occur, by specifying a minimum requirement for each building class depending on expected fire loads, which are largely determined by the building’s nature of use and rise in storeys.

“The NCC lists four major elements in effective fire-safeguards – Prevention through training; Detection and Suppression; Containment of fire and smoke; and Escape Routes,” explains Adnan. “We’ll focus on the element that impacts cablers the most: containment.

“Containment is the compartmentalisation of spaces in a building using fire-resistant walls and floors to control the spread of fire and smoke. Apart from limiting damage, this is done primarily to give occupants ample time to escape. Fire-containment is determined at the very early stages of a building’s design, so that fire hazards and risks are eliminated or minimised over its lifespan.

“Perhaps the greatest risk in terms of a fire spreading are penetrations in fire barriers that may have been made by a contractor like an electrician, cabler or plumber. If these gaps aren’t secured with a passive firestop product, they can undermine the entire system. It is quite normal for services in a building to pass through fire-containment barriers, but it’s crucial that every penetration is sealed up to return that barrier to its designated fire-rating. This practice is often referred to as ‘passive firestopping’, which involves the use of specific firestop products to close service penetrations in fire-rated walls and floors.

“There are many firestopping products on the market to suit numerous applications, but typical cabling penetrations are usually best sealed with pre-formed devices (e.g. Speed sleeves, fire-blocks, collars) or sealants. Importantly, these products must be tested and compliant to appropriate fire-safety standards as a full firestopping system, not just a component. Some of the determining factors for what system to use include the penetrating item (conduit or cable, what type of cables, number of cables, etc.), the opening size, the fire-resistant structure, and the building environment.

“In simple terms, preformed-devices are quicker and easier to install and run cables through. They also provide relative ease for adding and/or subtracting cables, with little to no extra cost or time required to firestop after the change. On the other hand, sealants are lower in cost, but take more time to seal and require more skill to ensure a complete fire-seal. Either method can provide effective fire-stopping if they are fit for their intended purpose and installed correctly. You just need to make the right choice for each specific situation. Reputable fire stopping suppliers like Hilti have a broad range of both methods, to cater for the wide range of fire-stopping applications. We recommend talking to suppliers to get their advice – that’s the best way to select the right firestopping solution for each particular application, as well as getting guidance on correct installation procedures.

“I can’t stress enough that selecting the best firestopping system is meaningless if it isn’t installed properly. And even if the installation is done correctly, there can still be complications in the processes that come after – documentation, inspection, certification and maintenance.”

There was so much more important information that Hani presented to BRCA for this article, but we unfortunately couldn’t fit it all in. So BRCA Bytes is going to present a series of firestopping articles in each of the following quarterly newsletters this year to address issues like documentation, certification and maintenance in more detail.

Considering the huge risk of fire spreading room-to-room or floor-to-floor, it’s vital to reiterate the importance for cablers to understand the need for firestopping, how to correctly select firestop systems, how to correctly install them, and how to ensure appropriate inspection when needed.

We trust you will find this series of articles helpful in performing your installations professionally. If you need any assistance or guidance with firestopping issues, feel free to email the BRCA office at info@brca.com.au or Hani directly on hani.adnan@hilti.com.

Off-the-Job Safety Should be an Extension of Your On-the-Job Safety Program

Helpful safety guidelines from industrial safety expert Gary Rowe, MD of Safety Action

Training employees to be safe at home as well as at work has not been a standard part of most Australian workplace safety programs. However, incorporating off-the-job safety into your company’s safety program can help the business and its employees.

Despite the common perception that the home is safer than the workplace, workers are far more likely to suffer an injury at home, on the road or during leisure activities than they are on the job. A US report shows that 10 out of 11 unintentional fatalities and 70% of disabling injuries occur off the job.

Although employers generally aren’t responsible for how their employees perform work at home, investing in an off-the-job safety program can reduce absenteeism due to workers being injured at home. An injury to a family member may also require an employee to take time off as a care giver. The absence of a skilled employee may also require the company to spend time and resources to hire new employees. Whether or not the injured person is replaced, it’s likely productivity will suffer.

Managers in best-practice organisations strive to create a culture of safety that encourages the transfer of safe-work practices to the home. Promoting safety outside the workplace can strengthen the company’s safety culture by encouraging thinking about safety as a way of life, rather than a mindset that is switched off when leaving the workplace.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) related injuries

Many of the serious injuries occurring at home result from DIY jobs in the home. In Victoria for example, DIY activities account for 12% of adult emergency department visits. Common DIY injuries occur during grinding, lawn-mowing and ladder use. The most common types of injuries are finger and hand lacerations or foreign bodies in the eye. It’s clear that many of the injuries could have been prevented by using personal protective equipment (PPE), appropriate tools, and using common safety precautions.

Tips to help prevent off-the-job injuries

Driver safety: Motor vehicle incidents are a leading cause of preventable injury and death. Employees who are required to drive in the course of work are usually trained in safe driving techniques. These programs could also be offered to employees who are not required to drive for work, as many traffic accidents occur driving to and from work, or in leisure time. Extending off-the-job safety initiatives such as driver safety programs to employees’ families possibly at a discount rate, extends the caring philosophy that is often portrayed in the workplace and demonstrates a greater sense of care.

DIY safety: As DIY work results in many preventable off-the-job injuries, sharing resources from the workplace can assist to prevent these. Consider allowing personnel to borrow PPE and possibly tools to use at home. This may allow workers access to better quality equipment. Of course, if the equipment being borrowed isn’t regularly used by the employee at work, it may not be appropriate to let them borrow it, and a waive against liability would be reasonable.

Home fire safety: While workplaces are generally well-equipped to detect and warn of fire, homes require particular attention as people may be sleeping in the event of a fire. Workers should be reminded to regularly test home smoke alarms, to replace batteries twice-yearly if not hard-wired, and to have a family fire-escape plan.

Ways to communicate off-the-job safety messages

  • If there is a company newsletter, include regular articles with home and recreation safety tips;
  • Display posters in the workplace with off-the-job safety messages e.g. on noticeboards or on the back of toilet doors; and
  • Safety talks and or team meetings to periodically include home and leisure safety.

Gary will provide regular safety articles in future BRCA Bytes newsletters, but if you would like to expand your safety program to include off-the-job risks for your team feel free to contact Gary on Ph: 03 85 444 300 or E: enquiries@safetyaction.com.au


We have all seen the marketing campaigns by the major Australian telcos, 5G is being touted as a revolutionary development in mobile communications – a dramatic leap forward, making autonomous cars come to life and connecting the world like never before.
However, every new generation of wireless technologies prompts discussions on social media (and beyond) around wireless signals and if they can adversely impact our health. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, so in this article we will break down 5G technology and what it means for your health click here to read on

Security systems must be carefully designed to meet the needs of everyone in the modern home, from the young to the elderly. A residential security system can be as simple as a basic intrusion detection, through to a fully monitored system that opens and shuts every door and window in the home and sends out a panic alert. Regardless of what level of security system you are deploying, will it operate reliably during blackouts and alert someone when things are not working as planned?

Click here to read more.

The ACCC expressed concerns that this product may still be installed in properties, and therefore poses a risk to cabling installers and other ICT industry professionals.

The product recall notice can be downloaded from https://lnkd.in/gnvj9-s