It’s very pleasing to see the return to work at SAMFS of Roy Thompson next week and we all congratulate him on his commitment and fortitude in prevailing against the challenges he has faced over the last two and half years.
Members are invited to join UFU State Councillors and Shop Stewards in turning out on Monday 30 October at 08:45 hours to demonstrate our solidarity and support to Roy as he approaches the Wakefield Street entrance of Adelaide Station at 09:00 hours.
We also look forward to a full apology being extended, the payment of his defence costs and the government agreeing to conduct an independent inquiry into this matter. In the meantime, we welcome the SAMFS initiative to review and improve disciplinary processes for the future.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL MANAGEMENT UPDATE
Our union has been participating in a SAMFS working group over an extended period, which has been developing a position paper on this matter. A significant amount of consultation has been undertaken, including with the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Cognition, other fire services and high risk worksites such as mining and it is anticipated that a final draft of a new SAP will be provided to the working group on 30 October 2023 before going out for broader consultation. An NCETA researcher is expected to attend the meeting next week to start work on the design of an early intervention program for MFS personnel to be funded by NCETA.
The MFS has advised that the introduction of the safety threshold and associated overtime trial is planned to commence 1/1/24. It has been presented for information and discussion to the UFU Executive, State Council and Shop Stewards meetings and Programming is currently being completed in SAPPHIRE. The trial centralises overtime distribution rather than it being managed at a station level. If an employee is required to work more than 76 hours in an 8 day cycle additional control measure will need to be applied, a fatigue management plan put in place, with ACFO approval. Central Queensland University has now presented a new fatigue control measures to the FRMS working group and is currently working with Project Manager Kim Arnott to write the findings and recommendations up for presentation to the MFS Executive.
HEALTH MONITORING AND FIT FOR DUTY – BREATHING APPARATUS
The MFS advises that they are currently scoping the requirements to engage an Occupational Hygienist who will be asked to review a brief outlining all high-risk factors for firefighters to develop an appropriate set of medical tests to address these factors. Increased risk factors include but are not limited to all presumptive cancers (including the extra 8 that are currently being considered by the state Labor government), cardiovascular disease, hearing, mobility and an initial screening for PTSI. This health monitoring program also intends to enable the MFS to meet the requirements of AS/NZS 15:2009 Respirator Protective Equipment with respect to fit for duty testing for SCBA use. The Brief is currently being developed by the Functional Fitness Coordinator and Coordinator Organisational Safety and will be reviewed by the working group and the WHS committee before being submitted to the Occupational Hygienist for consideration.
HIGH RISE FIRE PROCEDURE
The SAMFS advises that a high rise guideline is in draft but has not yet been consulted on; progress is anticipated in the near future.
ELECTRIC VEHICLE FIRE PROCEDURE
The MFS Alternate and Renewable Energy Advisory Group (AREAG), comprised of representatives from various areas of the MFS, is actively addressing the significant issue of lithium-ion battery incidents. The Advisory Group has conducted a risk assessment and products which utilise smaller lithium-ion batteries are being addressed first. Analysis of global data of incidents involving lithium-ion batteries highlights the highest risk is associated with smaller batteries rather than larger home storage or electric vehicles (EVs) at this time.
The Advisory Group is collaborating with fire services worldwide, such as the London Fire Brigade, NYFD, Fire and Rescue NSW, and QFES. They are making significant progress in developing procedures handle lithium-ion batteries. The Advisory Group is also working on a new awareness package specifically tailored for small lithium-ion batteries. This package highlights the risks and hazards lithium-ion batteries present to firefighters and provides general firefighting considerations. Currently, there isn’t a universally accepted best practice for dealing with lithium-ion battery fires.
The CFS has adopted and amended an awareness package from New Zealand on EVs, and TAFE NSW has been collaborating with FRNSW to create their own awareness package. The advisory group is currently evaluating both packages to determine their suitability for the MFS.
ADVANCES TO PRESUMPTIVE CANCER LEGISLATION FOR FIREFIGHTERS
The UFUA SA has been advised by the State government that the response to our claim for an extension to the cancers covered by presumptive legislation under the Return to Work Act SA, is imminent and we will keep you informed of progress on the matter which is expected shortly. Meanwhile advances in this area are being won for firefighters around the country and you will find the link to UFUA National Bulletins updating this information on our UFUSA Website by clicking here
YOUR WORDBACK DISTRIBUTION EMAIL ADDRESSES
The Wordback email distribution list is currently being updated to ensure that your online privacy and security is best maintained. As a result, you may notice that your Wordback will only now be received on using your nominated and preferred email address. In most cases, this will be your personal email address.
We envisage no disruption to you receiving or viewing the Wordback, but if you do have any difficulties or queries, please contact Paul Gunner, Project Officer at our UFU office on 83527211 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you for your support and understanding whilst we transition to this updated process.
DESK AVAILBLE TO GIVEAWAY
A serviceable grey desk is surplus to requirements in our union office so it is available as a giveaway to the first member to claim and collect it. Please call us on 83527211 if you’d like more information.
As previously reported, our union is proudly joining the MFS at the Pride March, meeting at 17:30 hours in Whitmore Square on this Saturday, 28 October 2023, or there is a bus from Wakefield Street if you have booked in with MFS early enough.
What to wear: Members are encouraged to wear your Union T-shirt teamed with something very bright and colourful.
On behalf as the MFS, Sally Woolford has advised that if you are wearing MFS operational uniform, aulette hoops are available for your uniform and the Pride specific t-shirts will be distributed by the MFS either at Wakefield Street or at Light Square. The march begins at Wauwi / Light Square from 6pm, heading down Morphett Street along Gouger Street, to the left of Victoria Square and back along Waymouth Street returning to Light Square.
Optional post march Emergency Services Sector catch up: The CFS has booked a venue to catch-up for drinks and food (at own cost) after the march. Head on to Benjamin on Franklin (233 Franklin St, Adelaide), approximately 10mins walk from Light Square. Any queries can be directed to Sally on Saturday on mobile no 0468 640 960.
Please do bring your family and come and join us.