RFS volunteer exercising rights as a ‘worker’ – By Michael Eburn

The decision here is certainly giving effect to the principle that a volunteer is a worker and enjoys the rights and privileges once only given to employees. Regardless of the merits of Mr Bryant’s claims, he is certainly committed and dedicated and willing to put his money and his effort into what he must see as the best interest of the RFS and its workforce.

Karuah Rural Fire Service battles own crumbling shed

BEYOND frustrated with sub-standard conditions Karuah Rural Fire Service has broken ranks in its fight for a new shed.
The acting captain Ken Smee has revealed a long list of problems from structural cracking to flooding and improper facilities for men and women working in close quarters.
“We’ve done everything by the book until now and it’s got us nowhere,” he said.

Workplace Injury – from the VFFA Magazine

A workplace injury case history…

A recent case was presented by a current RFS Volunteer to a VFFA Executive Meeting and it showed the utter frustration of a Volunteer being injured on the fire ground. The Volunteer’s injury was an ongoing one and over the years the RFS had accepted every medical certificate from the treating doctor allowing the Volunteer to go on the fire line with restrictions in place as per the certificates, Work Cover also accepted the certificates. The Volunteer recently needed to have surgery which had the Volunteer requiring four months of work. Although the Volunteer was entitled to workers compensation payments, there was still quite a significant short fall compared to their regular income.

Post Christmas reflections on the “Santa Run”

Post Christmas reflections on the “Santa Run”

Does your Brigade participate in a “Santa Run”?

Did you know that the RFS published a “Santa Run Frequently Asked Questions” document?

Do you think that this type of RFS intervention is necessary?

How much consultation with volunteer firefighters was obtained before preparing this document?

Are the days of freshly made sandwiches, cakes and slices supplied by the locals numbered?

In this article we have a look at an RFS tradition (the Santa Run). The RFS is acting in a risk-averse manner but we are asking our readers to provide their thoughts via the comments section. Any sensible comments (for and against) will be published.

Working in the Heat

Working in the Heat

Fatigue and heat stress are major causes of injury during the summer months. Heat stress or heat illness is a serious condition that can result in organ failure or death if work in hot conditions is not safety managed.

Fatigue and heat stress can reduce a worker’s performance and productivity, plus increase the chance of injury by reducing the ability to concentrate, recognise risks and communicate effectively.

During the hottest months, outdoor workers and those working in hot environments are the most at risk.

This is why everyone should keep an eye out for each other and work together to minimise the effect of heat.

Health & Safety Alert – Portable Butane Cookers

NSW Fair Trading has issued on 04 March 2015 a Public warning on portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers that relates to safety issues with these specific cookers, including overheating.

1. All portable butane ‘lunchbox’ style cookers are to be immediately removed from service, labelled appropriately and quarantined.
2. No further purchasing of portable butane ‘lunchbox’ cookers is to occur for use within the NSW RFS until further notice.

Is PROBAN® treated clothing a problem?

PROBAN® treated cotton has been in use by Australian emergency services agencies for in excess of thirty years without any significant issues or concerns being identified. The Australian Firefighters’ Health study provides some reassurance that records indicate the incidence of cancers associated with formaldehyde are not elevated for Australian firefighters.

What the testing conducted by the CSIRO has done is raise concerns about how the PPE is stored and handled. The unexpected issue is the amount of formaldehyde both retained and given-off by the PROBAN® treated cotton which is at levels outside the product manufacturers stated release levels. This warrants further investigation. AFAC will pursue this through the engagement of the AFAC PPE Technical Group.