Fire Safety: Tasmania May Comp Firefighters For Cancer

Fire SafetyTasmania is poised to become the first state in Australia to grant firefighters compensation for work-related cancers. The Tasmanian Parliament held a debate with the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Firefighters) Bill 2013.

For the first time in the state, the legislation will not only cover career firefighters but also volunteers as well. Compensation will cover medical bills and lost wages caused by various cancers listed by the Fed in 2011 as being considered career specific.

United Firefighters Union spokesperson Greg Cooper stated firefighters were often prohibited from claiming insurance and workers comp– putting a heavy toll of medical costs on them.

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Source: http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/tasmanias-parliament-will-today-debate-cancer-cover-for-firies/story-fnj4f7k1-1226726648386

Fire Safety: Desalination Plant Fined Over Explosion

iStock_000019270648XSmallA Desalination company and its operator were subject to an $80 000 fine for an explosion that destroyed a Morphett Vale house.

Prospect Building Services and its  Harry Twarowski  pleaded guilty in the Industrial Court over the 2009 explosion.

The company was in operation for three decades without incident prior to the explosion which they admitted was a result of failing to provide a safe working environment to an employee. The employee in question had drilled through bricks on the home in order fill homes with a solvent-based fluid to treat salt damp.

However, the employee failed to turn off the home’s gas hot water service which caught on fire and caused a massive explosion upon coming into contact with the liquids vapours.

Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie called it  “sheer luck” that no was one harmed especially the 88 year old World War Two veteran who occupied the house.

Mr Ardlie said the explosion could have easily been avoided.

“The measures that should have been taken and were reasonably practicable were straight forward and simple,” Mr Ardlie found.

“The employee should have been educated as to the hazards imposed by the use of the solvent.”

The company and Mr Twarowski were fined $68,000 and $8,500 respectively and ordered to pay $500 compensation for medical treatment incurred by the occupant’s son.

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Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/national-news/south-australia/prospect-building-services-fined-after-causing-saltdamp-explosion-at-morphett-vale-house/story-fnii5yv4-1226672701912#ixzz2Y8nPzHEn

 

Fire Safety: Employees Evacuate Engulfed Lab

Fire SafetySeveral  workers were told to evacuate from a laboratory was engulfed in flames in  Maddington at the start of the month.

The fire was  first reported at approximately 8am. The fire was believed to have started in a small filter room of Genalysis Laboratory on Alloa Road.

Approximately 50 employees were directed to immediately to leave the building.

Twenty firefighters  made it to the blaze ,which was eventually extinguished by 9.20am.

A DFES fire investigations officer on site stated that the small blaze resulted in an approximately $40,000 damage and had caused suspected lead contamination of both air and water. However, the spokesman  confirmed that contaminant level was within safe levels and guidelines will be followed as staff continues to monitor the situation.

Firefighters stated that they will remain on site in the event of  flare-ups, while the pollution response crew from the Department of Environment Regulation is monitoring water runoff.The cause of the fire is currently being determined

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 Source:http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/fire-at-maddington-laboratory/story-fnhocxo3-1226672494283

Fire Safety: Vic Firefighters Concerned With Compensation

Distraught Victorian firefighters have  called out the emergency services minister regarding the state government’s failure to pass illness compensation laws.

Currently firefighters in Victoria who have contracted cancer that may have been caused by their workplace conditions are not covered by WorkCover payments.

However a small contingent of firefighters employed by the commonwealth, mostly at airports, are able to claim government comp since a 2011 federal law was passed.

Firefighter Marcel Van Elmpt says commonwealth firefighters are covered by compensation legislation if there is a fire at the airport, but if they needed support, state crews would not get the same coverage.

“Same fires, same exposures, same carcinogens, same cancers, but we’re not covered,” he said.

Mr Wells said the government was anticipating a report by Monash University due to be released next year before decisions are made on the future.

He said Victoria had almost 60,000 volunteer firefighters that needed to be taken into account and the laws only apply for full-time firefighters.

“It would be unfair to deal with some people in the CFA (Country Fire Authority) and not other people in the CFA for example.”

United Firefighters Union national secretary Peter Marshall said there was a clear link between occupational cancer and firefighting.

Marshal stated that firefighters based in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania covered volunteer firefighters.

“There is no excuse for any further delay on legislation protecting firefighters here,” he said.

“As we speak, it’s an emotive issue, but it’s a real issue – firefighters are dying from occupational cancer.”

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Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/vic-firefighters-angry-over-compensation/story-fni0xqi4-1226644497015

Fire Safety: Association Pushes For Caution After Firefighter Death

The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades raised  concerns for volunteer firefighters and stressed the importance of diligence, following the death of a firefighter on Friday.

Sixty-year-old Hori Clarke was killed by a falling limb while clearing burnt trees and rubble with volunteer firefighters in Quindanning.

AVBF president Mr Terry Hunter, who called Mr Clarke “a member of the AVBFB family”, said the tragedy was a difficult reminder of the many risks volunteers were exposed to every day when they went to work for their local communities.

“With an increased number of fires and other dangerous incidents in recent weeks, the AVBFB again expresses its concern for the safety of our members and urges everyone to be extra diligent while defending their local communities,” he said.

Mr Hunter issued a statement offering condolences to Mr Clarke’s family.

“I, like many of our 26,000 members have been deeply saddened by the news.

“Our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the victim.”

Mr Hunter said local government, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and AVBFB would work together to offer support services to Mr Clarke’s family and brigades in the area.

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Source: http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/association-urges-care-following-firefighter-death-20130223-2exy9.html#ixzz2MPiY1dDG

Fire Safety: Worker Hospitalized After Dangerous Factory Fire

A factory worker is in intensive care at Royal Brisbane Hospital after suffering burns to both his face and torso following a  factory fire in Brisbane.

A firefighter was also injured during the incident.

The Fulcrum factory fire started early in the morning. Fire crews rushed to the scene after it was revealed that the very flammable chemical, methyl keytone was on the premises.

The chemical which is typically used as a solvent was reportedly stored in a locked fire-proof cupboard.

Three people were stuck inside when Fulcrum production supervisor Chris Baker arrived on the scene.

One “long-term, experienced employee” suffered severe burns to his upper torso.  His lungs are also believed to have suffered burns.

According to Fulcrum managing director Graham Scudamore-Smith, this is the first fire of this nature to occur on the property.

“They managed to get him out and into a shower,” he said.

“We are prepared for these sorts of things,” he said.

Queensland Fire and Rescue on call inspector Ted Ireland stated that the cause of the fire is still unclear.

“On arrival they had a fully involved fire on the upper levels and the placement of our lines have been really good, they were able to knock it out really quick,” he said.

“The guys (factory workers) that were here did really well, they shut everything down and self-evacuated.”

Ireland praised the fire crews vigilance considering the water shortages.

“We’ve got a specialised foam pump that’s been repositioned at Annerley for this sort of event,” Insp Ireland said.

“A lot of things lined up to give us a good outcome.”

Scientific officers are now  on site to ensure the dangerous chemicals are contained.

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Source: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/factory-worker-taken-to-hospital-with-serious-burns-following-factory-fire-at-moorooka/story-e6freoof-1226565642189

 

Fire Safety: Darwin Business Faces Charges For Tradesmen’s Death

A Darwin business was held accountable for the gas explosion death that killed a young Irish tradesman.

Twenty-four year old Paddy Bird died instantly when his work vehicle suddenly exploded on the driveway of his home in December 2011.  

The refrigeration mechanic had pressurised flammable gas cylinders stored in his van the explosion.

Berrimah-based Damday Pty Ltd has been charged for the incident which resulted in his untimely death.

The Northern Territory Work Health Authority  reported that the company breached  the employer’s general statutory duty of care.

The charge fell under the provisions of the WHS Act that was applicable at the time of the accident.

The charge has been laid under provisions of the Workplace Health and Safety Act that was in force at the time of the accident.

The previous legislation has since been repealed and replaced with new legislation.

The maximum penalty for the charge is $650,000.

The matter is stands before courts until next month.

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Source:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-15/gas-explosion-company-charged-paddy-bird-dies/4466112?section=nt

Fire Safety Social Media Campaign To Launch For Students

Fire Safety TrainingThe Fire brigade will launch a social media campaign and mobile phone app that aims to educate international students about Fire Safety. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade conducted focus groups with foreign students to gain insight into the optimum ways of reaching them via online networks.

Tentative plans are to launch the campaign next year.

MFB station officer of the Community Education Department, John Hale, stated that many international students live in crowded, dangerous conditions with no smoke alarms and a variety of other fire hazards. The focus groups revealed that many students were afraid to object to the conditions because they were fearful for their student visas. ‘They just don’t want to make a fuss,’’ Hale said.

The MFB plans to release videos and written safety information releases in a variety of languages for students prior to leaving their home country. According to another officer, Rod East, on a weekly basisup to two incidents are attended to at rooming houses, often with international students. East claims to have seen up to 19 students living in one house and he does not think this is uncommon for rooming houses.Recently, fire crews attended to a fire at Reservoir garage that which had been renovated into student housing.  The garage was found to not have been properly equipped with smoke alarms and had an overloaded electrical system which potentially caused the fire.

‘‘That actually had three rooms in it. It was only a tin garage that had lining on it,’’  East said.

All the students had reportedly fled the site before fire crews arrived.  East said ‘‘If you don’t get to them early enough you’ll never see them again.’’

East stressed that students should be aware that they deserve   safe accommodation,he added,  ‘‘They don’t have to live like this.’’

Council of International Students Australia national president Aleem Nizari recently discussed his experiences with overcrowding in rooming houses. He witnessed one instance where  16 students were living in a three-bedroom house. He had even witnessed a case inwhich a wardrobe was offered as a bedroom to a student.

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/fire-safety-push-online-for-students-20121023-283e9.html#ixzz2ABQEmf89

Fire Safety: Fatal Winery Blast Awaits Prosecution Decision

WorkCover  revealed that it is currently trying to ascertain whether or not it is in public interest to to take legal action following a fatal Hunter Valley winery blast.

The explosion at the Draytons Family Winery in early 2008  resulted in the death of respected vigneron Trevor Drayton and welder Eddie Orgo.

Assistant winemaker William Rikard Bell  was only spared because he jumped into a dam to douse flames that had engulfed his body .Last year Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon placed blame of the explosion upon systemic failures.

He reportedly discovered that liquid ethanol vapours ignited while Orgo was welding a wine vat.Upon the initial inquiry it was  believed that the blast fell into the category of negligent manslaughter as a result of an industrial accident.

WorkCover has reportedly conducted an investigation and is currently reviewing all available evidence from the initial inquest. WorkCover will determine whether it is in the best interest of the public to let public prosecution proceed.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-24/no-decision-yet-on-possible-prosecution-over-fatal-winery-blast/4276754?section=nsw

Fire Safey: Worker Suffers Burns From Fuel Station

Fire Safety TrainingA man has been hospitalized  with serious burns following a workplace accident at a fuel station in Canberra’s north.

The middle-aged man was doing contract work at Caltex service station in Maribyrnong Avenue at Kaleen.

He attempting to repair something underground when a fibreglass fuel tank caught fire.

The man was rushed to Canberra Hospital with serious burns to his arms and legs, and potential airway burns.

He is in a serious,albeit stable condition.

ACT Work Safety commissioner Mark McCabe says an investigator is at the scene.

“Our investigator will be attempting to ascertain how this accident happened? Could it have been avoided?” he said.

“What should be done to ensure that we don’t have an accident like that again in the future?”

The service station has since reopened.

Source :http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-11/man-burned-at-kaleen-services-station/4254954?section=act 

Inquiry Labels Fertilizer As Fire Safety Risk

Fire Safety TrainingFertiliser company Incitec Pivot discussed potentially moving from its Port Adelaide premises if taxpayers help pay for a relocation.

Residents are eager for the plant to be moved since a 2010 SafeWork SA assessment which claimed there was an ammonium nitrate explosion risk. The company stated that despite rumours of the contrary, the risk of explosion was significantly small and the company does not desire to move.  Greens MP Mark Parnell says the inquiry was informed that the company owuld move in the event that government assistance was offered.  Parnell however is concerned about the large sums of money needed to relocate a dangerous industry. He added that it is a possibility once the public can get a cost efficient price for the move.

Currently there is a conflict between the company and regulators. IP does not believe there is a risk and SafeWork maintains that there indeed is a danger.  Incitect’s COO James Whiteside believes the inquiry’s risk assessment was alarmist.

Whiteside stated that in order for an explosion to occur a complex combination of chemicals and other products are needed. That said, he believes that there is  a very small risk considering their security on the site.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-12/inquiry-considers-fertiliser-explosion-risk/4256476?section=sa 

 

Fire Safety: Company Faces Fines for Explosion

Fire Safety TrainingA subsidiary of Air New Zealand  has been fined $56,000 following an explosion at Adelaide Airport that left an engineer with serious injuries.  The engineer, Mark Meehan sustained a broken arm, burns and abrasions to his hands and face in the March explosion. At the time of the explosion, Meehan had been repairing the wing of an aircraft on the TAE Aviation grounds.

SafeWork SA investigated the explosion and recovered remnants of fuel or vapours within a fuel tank in the wing which were ignited by a spark from a tool Meehan was using.  TAE pleaded guilty in the Industrial Court for breaching Occupational Health and Safety laws, by failing to educate Meehan on the potential risk of explosion.

The company was subsequently convicted,fined and ordered to improve its safety procedures.

Meehan has since returned to active work duties.

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Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-30/company-fined-over-airport-explosion/4233326?section=sa

 

Fire Safety: Employers Fined 90k For Severely Burned Cook

A hotel in Adelaide was subject to a $90,000 fine as a result of an incident two years ago that left a female cook with burns on half her body.

The owners of the Royal Coach Motor Inn at Kent Town pleaded guilty for failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment for its employees.

The part-time cook was transferring methylated spirits from a 25-litre container to a smaller container when some of it spilled. The liquid was subsequently ignited by a pilot light on a gas water heater close to where the spirits were kept.

The middle-aged woman suffered serious and deep burns to approximately half her body. The cook will be permanently scarred as a result of her severe burns.

Industrial Magistrate Stephen Lieschke discovered that the worker had no formal training in the proper handling of methylated spirits and the hotel management had thus displayed “hopelessly inadequate consideration” to the potential dangers.  Lieschke added that the resulting risk of injury was predictable and could have been easily eliminated.  The Magistrate subsequently decided to fine the company $90,000  (after it was reduced by 25 percent due to guilty plea) for their inadequate consideration for safety.

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Source: http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/national/hotel-at-kent-town-fined-90000-over-cooks-burns/story-fndo1gb8-1226438746745

Fire Safety:Fire at Construction Site Causes Toxic Smoke

Fire Safety TrainingA fire at a building under construction in Melbourne sent toxic smoke dispersing across town.

The fire occurred on the two highest levels of the seven story building. Approximately seven fire crews were needed to help extinguish the fire. The fire is believed to have burned through polystyrene materials.

The fire allegedly ignited as a result of sparks from a welder which came in contact with electrical wiring of an office tower.Luckily, the 40 firefighters eventually got the fire under control without any serious injuries.

Fire Brigade Commander Lou Mele stated that workers had to use extinguishers for the Fire Safety incident since water to the site was shut off.A workman is being treated for smoke inhalation.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/more-news/fire-erupts-at-cbd-building-site/story-fn7x8me2-1226289177351

Fire Safety: WorkCover Investigates Explosion

Fire Safety TrainingWorkCover is currently investigating an explosion at an industrial complex in St.Marys that left a worker with shrapnel wounds to his body and head. Emergency services were called to the Samos Polymer polyurethane-resin plant off Links Road shortly early in the morning on Wednesday, following reports of an explosion.

The middle aged man was working close to a bulky container that contained a flammable liquid. He received wounds to his head,arms, and chest. A spokesperson for NSW Ambulance Service stated that the injured man was taken to Westmead Hospital and is currently in serious but stable condition.

Dunheved Fire and Rescue station commander Garry Mitchell said firefighters from his station and St.Mary were alerted to the site. They found that a large plastic container of a flammable liquid used to make polyurethane had ignited and blow up causing pieces of the container and its metal housing to scatter. Mitchelle alleged that workers were changing out a liquid container that could have possibly still had vapour residue inside, which caused it to ignite.

North St.Marys residents reported hearing the explosion.  WorkCover is currently investigating the exact cause of the incident and is determining if all OHS safety regulations were abided by.

Source:  http://www.penrithstar.com.au/news/local/news/general/man-wounded-in-explosion-at-st-marys-industrial-complex/2424450.aspx

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Exploding Bus Leads To Fire Safety Upgrades

Fire Safety trainingAn exploding bus has forced NSW authorities to introduce new   safety measures.

Union bosses demanded the upgrades on the Mercedes-built, gas-powered vehicles after one was engulfed in a fireball in July.Bus drivers held a snap strike on October 18 after video footage of the drama emerged, forcing hundreds of gas buses off the road.The State Transit Authority (STA)  has confirmed that it intends to carry out four safety upgrades.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union divisional president Chris Preston  has since expressed his support for the move.It is alleged that with the new improvements –and in the event of a fire–  the situation will not be able to escalate as quickly and as much as it did on the exploding bus.

There are still concerns over the fact that the cause of the fire is still undetermined.

New fire suppressant materials, an advanced warning system in the drivers cabin and more staff training, are some of the safety upgrades included.

A Fire Safety checklist is also being compiled, in the event of another  explosion.

The model of bus that exploded was designed by Mercedes, and they are currently 255 of them in use.  They are the only model that is of concern; a number of other buses from other manufacturers will remain untouched.

The matter is considered closed as unions demands have appeared to attended to.
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/exploding-bus-leads-to-safety-upgrade-20111107-1n3em.html#ixzz1dAcWRNej

Investigations Continue in Fire Safety Incident

fire-safety trainingWorkplace health and Safety are currently investigating an incident that left two workers with severe burns. Investigations are being conducted regarding fire safety regulations.

The two men suffered burns to their face and their head while conducting a welding process in the Airport Link tunnel at Kedron.

The incident occurred when a fire ignited while the men were welding. Both the ambulance service and firefighters arrived at the scene to deal with the incident in the tunnel wall.The men were subsequently taken to the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital to care for their burns.

An Airport Link spokesperson stated that every worker was evacuated and the emergency services were onsite to escort the two remaining workers.

Workplace Health and Safety continue their investigations, while the two workmen have since been released from the hospital.

Source : http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/two-men-burned-in-airport-link-tunnel-fire/story-e6freoof-1226128616174

Fire Safety at Clubs and Pubs

FFire Safety Coursesire safety issues in both pubs and clubs are the topic of investigation these days for Newcastle Police officers and New South Wales Fire and Rescue. A joint operation was conducted last weekend in an effort to tackle fire safety concerns in pubs and clubs throughout the city. Adam Gilligan, a Compliance Services Manager claims that the operation is focusing on various priority issues, such as fire safety exits being blocked, smoke detection, alarm systems and capacity issues.

The Importance of Fire Safety

Gilligan implied that it is imperative that measures are set to alert patrons and staff in the occurrence of a fire and to evacuate them safely and quickly.

An concentrated effort is being made to ensure that every building upholds the required fire safety codes and measures. Throughout their investigation, a number of  issues were found in a variety of  establishments relating to fire exits, smoke detectors and fire alarms. Those who broke the regulations can be subjected to fines and prosecution.

Gilligan says the operation will ensure that pubs and clubs are aware that they must ensure the safety of  all of their patrons and staff.  The operation is set to be continuous and those who endanger their patrons may not only face fines  but also immediate closure.

Source : http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/about_newcastle/news_and_events/media_releases/media_releases/fire_safety_targeted_in_pubs_and_clubs

 

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