Switchboard Standards and mental health: key takeaways from NESMA’s 20th annual conference

Members from across Australia attended the 20th annual NESMA conference on the Gold Coast

With informative presentations, updates on the future, and a focus on safety, the 20th annual NESMA conference offered members a chance to discuss a buoyant industry.

Held on Saturday 21st October at Sanctuary Cove on the Gold Coast, the conference was well attended, with more than 50 NESMA members attending the meeting, and more than 100 members, partners, and sponsors attending the gala dinner.

“The conference was another successful event in the NESMA calendar. It provides a fantastic platform for the advancement of Australian switchboard manufacturers through education, discussion, and members having their say about the future,” says NESMA secretary, Peter Silsby, who is also Director of Fuji SMBE Macquarie Pty Ltd.

Temperature rise verification

A highlight of this year’s conference was guest speaker, Max Carstedt, formerly the ATSA Observer at the PLUE ES Test Station in Sydney, who presented on Australian Switchboard Standards. He focused particularly on IEC TR 60890, which is a document defining a method of temperature rise verification of low voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies by calculation.

Max explained that a new Australian version is proposed and is now under preparation, and he took attendees through what this will mean for local switchboard manufacturers.

“This sort of in-depth advanced knowledge of upcoming Standards changes is one of the major benefits of being a part of NESMA – it means you can be at the forefront of new changes, and be delivering the best levels of quality and safety compliance to customers,” said Peter.

Men’s mental health

The Standards update was followed by a moving presentation by motivational speaker Darren Flanagan, who discussed men’s mental health.

After experiencing a traumatic ordeal when rescuing trapped miners in a Tasmanian Gold Mine in 2006, Darren reflects openly about how the incident affected him more deeply than he could have expected.

He used this raw personal experience as the core of a presentation that talked about risk management, teamwork, mental health, workplace safety, and perseverance – and particularly on men’s mental health, which is often overlooked in workplaces across all industries.

NESMA Updates

The conference was also a chance for members to gain updates and be involved in the future direction of NESMA. Each State president presented on the industry in their region, where the overall feeling was positive and encouraging.

Then, NESMA members voted on a new logo that modernises the look and provides a clear brand identity that unites NESMA nationwide. The winning design is now on the NESMA website, LinkedIn, and will be used on all NESMA branded material moving forward.

The day concluded with a gala dinner on the sand around the lagoon, where all attendees came together to further network, collaborate, and enjoy a meal together.

NESMA members enjoy a gala dinner on the sand

“It was encouraging to see so many industry leaders – many of whom are competitors – coming together for the good of the switchboard industry, and with a common goal of higher levels of quality and safety industry-wide,” said Peter.