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Out-Sourcing of First Aid

By Concerned Firefighter

An email was received by a Brigade Training Officer that read as follows: (edited slightly to protect the training provider’s identity and the RFS locality)

Hi all,
Due to a shortfall of instructors only one first-aid course is scheduled for 2017. Due to this I have decided to provide details of an external provider that can deliver first-aid training to brigades (details and costing below). 
The costs associated with this course would need to be borne by the brigades themselves, I will collate names and pass these onto the external provider. If brigades wish to take up this offer please complete the attached sheet and return to me. All correspondence and details will then be managed by the training officer or contact for the brigade and the external provider. I would appreciate an email copy of the certificates if training is carried out so your RFS records can be updated.
Costs per person is as follows:
Provide CPR (HLTAID001) $__

Provide First Aid (HLTAID003 including CPR) $___

Groups of 6-20 participants.
Regards
Learning and Development Officer

Food for Thought

The email raises several concerns, the foremost being the proposal that the cost of attending an outsourced first aid course be borne by the Brigade(s).

  • Does the NSW RFS desire to have as many members as possible qualified in first aid?
  • Is the proposal for Brigades of the NSW RFS to meet costs for outsourced courses approved or sanctioned by the NSW RFS?
  • Is there a proposal for the costs of other courses such as chainsaw being covered by Brigades and/or individual members?
  • Was the issue discussed with volunteer training groups and if so what was the outcome?

Due to the often hazardous nature of RFS activities, I would consider it appropriate to have first aid qualified members available. There is concern that some Brigades may not be in a financial position to pay for members to attend first aid, or any other, courses. This would mean a shortfall of suitably qualified members across Brigades.

WHS Responsibilities

The WHS Regulation 2011 states:

Division 3 First aid
42 Duty to provide first aid
(1) A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure:
(a) the provision of first aid equipment for the workplace, and
(b) that each worker at the workplace has access to the equipment, and
(c) access to facilities for the administration of first aid.
Maximum penalty:
(a) in the case of an individual—$6,000, or
(b) in the case of a body corporate—$30,000.
(2) A person conducting a business or undertaking at a workplace must ensure that:
(a) an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace, or
(b) workers have access to an adequate number of other persons who have been trained to administer first aid.
Maximum penalty:
(a) in the case of an individual—$6,000, or
(b) in the case of a body corporate—$30,000.

Because the RFS employs paid staff and uses volunteers they have obligations under WHS legislation.

It would be difficult to ensure that there is a first aid trained person at every RFS job, but they could make an effort to get as many first aid trained persons into the system.

If the RFS is short on trainers, it is not the responsibility of the volunteers to fix the problem.

The costs must not be picked up by volunteers.

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