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Golf Fire and Rescue Service is part of Golf Local Authorities Fire Services, for Golf County, the service operates 24 hours a day 365 days a year and employs a total of 36 Firefighters to achieve this cover throughout the year. Golf Borough Council employs all employees of Golf Fire and Rescue Service.
The Chief Fire Officer has overall responsibility for Golf Local Authorities Fire Services; however his Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer has responsibility for the daily running of Golf Fire and Rescue Service.
The daily activities for managing the Fire Station and its operational function rest with its 5 fulltime fire Officers (one Station Officer, four Sub.Officers).
In addition to the Officers there are 15 fulltime and 16 retained (part-time) firefighters.
The Station houses 2 water tenders, 1 rescue tender, 1 hydraulic platform, 1 water tanker, 1 hazardous materials vehicle, 1 command support vehicle and 2 jeeps, all this along with other equipment must be kept in a state of readiness at all times for turn-out to incidents. Golf Fire and Rescue Service have attended 742 turn-outs to date this year.
Golf Fire and Rescue Service attend a range of incidents, such as,
Rescue of persons and animals from structural, Industrial and agricultural fires, road and rail accidents. Dealing with hazardous materials incidents, and another incident that may require the fire service to attend. In dealing with such a wide range of incidents the number of hazards and risks associated with the fire service is varied. Some of the hazards the Firefighters may encounter during their normal days work include fire, smoke, working from heights, chemicals, unfamiliar surroundings, traffic, water, and electricity to name but a few.
Because of this when Firefighters are not checking equipment or attending incidents the rest of their time is devoted to training in safe systems of work to enable them to work safely in there ever changing environment.
Occupational Safety and Health Legislation
The Common Law rules for work related injuries or ill health come under the general heading Employers Liability, sometimes called Employers Duty of Care. (Section 8). And the Liabilities of Directors (section 80) of the 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act.
To understand our legal responsibilities and our duty of care, we need to look at the general duties of Employers under the Act. Under this Act all Employers must take on board their legal responsibilities with regard to Managing their Employees Health and Safety and ensure those activities do not also effect others.
Safety Management System.
Why is it important to have an effective Safety and Health Management System?
Economic Reason: Besides reducing costs, effective Safety and Health Management promotes business efficiency. Thousand of work relater accidents, resulting in more then three days off work are reported to the Health and Safety Authority each year, these accident cases are due to failures and deficiencies in the Occupational Safety and Health Management in Organisations.
Legal Reason: The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, Requires you to ensure so far as is Reasonably Practicable (definition can be found in section 2 (6) of the 2005 Act) the Safety Health and Welfare of your Employees and to Manage and conduct your work activities in such away as to ensure there Safety, Health and Welfare. This requires you to be proactive in managing your Safety, Health and Welfare responsibilities and deal with them in a systematic way. To comply with Irish Laws on Safety and Health the minimum requirement is to prepare and implement a Safety Statement (section 20) have a Safety Consultation programme (section 26) and to facilitate the selection of a Safety Representativeâ€™(s) (section 25).
Moral and Ethical Reason: The proactive Management of Safety and Health in the workplace helps Organisations prevent injuries and ill Health at work. This should help Organisations reduce the Personal loss caused as a result of accidents and ill Health at work.
Key Elements of Safety and Health Management.
The key elements of a successful Safety and Health Management System are set out below. They also comply with the main elements of an Occupational Safety and Health Management System as set out in the ILO Guidelines (International Labour Office, Geneva, ILO-OSH 2001). The manner and extent to which the individual elements will be applied will depend on factors, such as size of Organisation, its Management structure, the nature if its activities and the risks involved.
The Following Points Should Be Considered When Putting Together A Safety Management System.
Policy and Commitment.
The Organisation should prepare an Occupational Safety and Health policy programme as part of the preparation of the Safety Statement required by section 20 of the 2005 Act. Effective Safety and Health policies should set a clear direction for the Organisation to follow.
The Organisation should formulate a plan to fulfil its Safety and Health policy as set out in the Safety Statement. Safety and Health objectives and targets should be set for all Managers and Employees.
For effective implementation the Organisation should develop the capabilities and support mechanisms to achieve its Safety and Health policy. There should be a planned and systematic approach to implementation.
The Organisation should measure, monitor and evaluate its Safety and Health performance against agreed standards to reveal when and where improvements are needed.
Auditing and Reviewing Performance.
There should be a systematic review and improvement of performance based on monitoring and independent audits of the whole Safety and Health Management System. These form the basis of complying with the Organisations responsibilities under the 2005 Act and other Statutory Provisions.
Occupational Safety and Health Legislation for Employers.
Under the 2005 Act all employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the Safety, Health and Welfare of all there employees. To comply with the Act employers must understand and take on board their legal responsibilities, section 8 to 12 and 15 of the 2005 Act lay down the requirements that any employer must comply with.
Section 8: General duties of Employers
Section 9: Information for Employees
Section 10: Instruction, training and supervision of Employees
Section 11: Emergencies and serious and imminent danger
(Exemption of this section applies to employees of a fire authority)
Section 12: General duties of employers to persons other then their employees
Section 15: General duties of persons in control of places of work, etc
Protective and Preventive Measures
Section 18 sets out in greater detail the requirements on employers in section 8 to appoint a competent person to assist him or her to comply with Safety and Health legislation. (definition of competent person in section 2 (2)).The person appointed should be able to give informed and appropriate general advice on Safety and Health Management.
Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment
Section 19 provides that every employer must identify the hazards at the place of work, assess the risks and have a written assessment of those risks as they apply to all of the employees.
Employers and persons in control of places of work must carry out a risk assessment in relation to their duty to persons other then their employees as regards section 12 and 15 of the Act. In carrying out the risk assessment it is necessary to consider all those who might be affected by this.
Section 20 provides that every employer must have a written Safety Statement based on the hazards identified and the risk assessment under section 19 and set out how the Safety, Health and Welfare of employees will be managed. When preparing a Safety Statement account should be taken of the general principles of prevention set out in schedule 3 of the Act.
Safety Statements must be specific to the place of work, as the fire service place of work is always varied when attending incidents we can use our dynamic risk assessment in conjunction with the national incident command system, to identify hazards and risks while attending incidents.
Section 20 also refers to the employers responsibilities to arrange for the appointment of Safety representatives and Safety consultation with their employees in compliance with section 25 and 26 of the Act.
The employer must bring the Safety Statement to the attention of all employees in a form and manner that is understood at least once a year and when it is amended.
The Fire Service Act 1981 also contains legislation with regard to Fire Authorities.
Occupational Safety and Health Legislation for Employees
Section 13 provides for a range of duties on employees under the Act.
An employee must comply with Safety and Health legislation, both in the Act and elsewhere. Take reasonable care to protect his / her own safety, Health and Welfare and that of any other person who may be affected by his / her acts or omissions at work. Not to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both to the extent that he / she is likely to endanger his or her own safety or that of any other person. Submit to any appropriate test, by or under the supervision of a registered practitioner, as may be required by regulations under the 2005 Act.
Co-operate with his / her employer as necessary, to assist that person in complying with Safety and Health legislation. Not to engage in improper conduct or other behaviour such as violence, bullying or horseplay that could endanger another person at work. To attend training related to a particular task required by the employer or by Safety and Health legislation. To take account of training and instruction given by the employer, correctly use any article, substance, protective clothing and equipment provided for use at work for his / her protection.
Section 14: Interference, misuse, etc
Section 14 prohibits any person form intentionally or recklessly interfering with, misusing or damaging any thing provided under Safety and Health legislation.
Section 25: Safety Representatives
Section 25 entitles employees to select and appoint a safety representative to represent them in consultation with the employer on matters of Safety, Health and Welfare in the work place.
Section 26: Consultation and participation of employees, safety committees
Section 26 places a duty on the employer to consult his / her employees as to make and maintain arrangements to enable the employer and employees to co-operate to promote and develop Safety, Health and welfare and to monitor the effectiveness of those measures.
Health and Safety management applies to all organisations no matter what size or function. The main aim of Health and Safety management is to promote good safety culture for your employees and others that may come in contact with your business. For this to happen both employers and employees must embrace and take responsibility for the implementation of the safety and health management system that has been agreed by both parties through consultation.
Due to the nature of our work in the fire and rescue service the need for hazard identification and risk assessment is on going while attending incidents, and in using the dynamic risk assessment helps us comply with our legal requirements.
The fire service has for years when possible carried out risk visits to assist them in preparing safety statements for a particular business, factory or industry in there function area. The fire service can be a dangerous job, but the hazard and risks faced by firefighters in the course of their duty can be managed by having a good Safety and Health management system in place, and to ensure it is up-dated, reviewed and audited on a regular basis.
Remember good safety is no accident !.