Health and Safety in the Fire and Rescue Service – embedding lessons learned

Work between the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) and the national Health and Safety Executive means the importance of firefighter safety remains at the forefront of Fire and Rescue Services agenda.

The good working relationship between CFOA and HSE fire policy officers means firefighter safety in the operational environment is being discussed at a high level and work to implement change and best practice is being carried out.

A meeting took place between the HSE, CFOA, CFRA England, CFRA Wales and HMI Scotland to discuss the subject.

You can read the full document on our website.

Following numerous discussions and evidence based reporting, ‘Health and Safety in the Fire and Rescue Service – Embedding Lessons Learned’ has now been created. This document has been jointly produced by the CFRA in England & Wales, HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland and the HSE but with full support and involvement of CFOA.

The document is seen as a simple and cost effective way to keep the health and safety of firefighting staff on the agenda. It touches upon a number of subjects, with particular emphasis as a reminder to all UK FRSs that lessons learned must be recognised at the initial stages of planning and development within organisations.

Roy Wilsher, CFOA Director of Operations said: ‘This is a very significant piece of work as it recognises the considerable progress that Fire and Rescue Services have made in their understanding of health and safety and balancing risk against benefit. I  am pleased to be able to say that this has been achieved through the excellent working relationship between CFOA, the HSE, CFRA in England and Wales, HM Fire Service Inspectorate in Scotland and other partner agencies.’

Unlike many other high risk working environments, the HSE does not currently undertake a proactive programme of inspections across our sector, mainly due to the relatively good historical record and proactive culture of health and safety in our sector. This new document will help ensure learning is captured and acted upon.

CFOA fully endorses the content and principles within the document and encourages FRSs to use the document as appropriate. As an indication of the positive working relationship between all parties and CFOA, the Association will disseminate this document using the CFOA network to all fire and rescue services.

Minister for Policing, Fire, Criminal Justice and Victims, Mike Penning, said: “As a former firefighter and now Minister for Policing and Fire, I know from first-hand experience the fearless work of fire and rescue services in protecting lives and property.

“So it is right that firefighter safety is paramount and that we learn lessons of past incidents to continually improve safety for staff and public.

“I am pleased to say that firefighter injuries have fallen by more than 50 per cent in the last ten years so this new guidance will continue that work and ensure that firefighter safety is given the greatest consideration by every fire and rescue service across the country.”

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