A Volunteers Comment

This post originated as a comment from one of our readers.

In January of 2013 I was sent to Tasmania as an investigator for the fire in the Dunelli area. The area was highly asbestos contaminated and the workers both volunteer and staff agreed we needed health monitoring.

Some three months later, no action was taken by the dept for my health monitoring only for a staff member.

Workcover was called who sorted the situation and educated the service in their responsibilities. May I add no consultation was had with me and others that attended, the service only spoke with the Tasmanian Fire Service. We worked for the Police who were the Incident Controllers for the emergency.

After this poor performance, I requested the election of HSRs under section 50 WHS Act which I was fobbed off.

Workcover is now defending the rights of workers in the election of HSRs in the Industrial Relations Commission as the service does not want HSRs elected or placing PINs (provisional improvement notices) on the service to fix lacking WHS responsibilities. The Act and its intent is to power workers in looking after their own Health and safety.

I note your concern about funding for brigade stations and PPE and the HSRs would have the power to sort this out with the PCBU.

Consultation is important in WHS yet if Ido attend brigades meetings nothing is relayed about anything. Communication within the RFS is poor and its culture affects the future development of the RFS.

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