Bulletin No:      226                                  Volume:  20                      Friday 3 October 2014





The Geelong and Warrnambool HSR’s have raised the issue that CFA Warrnambool and Geelong members do not have a safe system of work in regards to trench rescue.

After consultation with the CFA three PIN’s were issued by the Geelong and Warrnambool HSR’s. One on the CFA’s obligations is to provide a safe system of work in regards to trench rescue.

Another PIN concerned the CFA failing to provide adequate training to staff for trench incidents. The last PIN concerned public safety and trench rescue.

At Warrnambool a meeting was held with the HSR, DHSR, Industrial Officer Martin Davis from the UFU, local CFA management and a Victorian Workcover Authority (VWA) Inspector.

On 29 September 2014 at Warrnambool the Victorian Workcover Authority (VWA) upheld two PIN’s with modifications regarding safe systems of work and training on trench rescue.

The UFU has also been advised that at Geelong City today two PIN’s have been upheld with modifications by VWA concerning safe systems of work and training regarding trench rescue.

At Warrnambool the VWA have found that the CFA need to provide sufficient and appropriate equipment and an appropriate vehicle to respond to a Code 1 incident for trench rescue by the 14 November 2014.

Additionally the VWA have found that the CFA need to provide trench rescue training at Warrnambool to a sufficient number of employees by 24 December 2014.

The Inspector’s decision at Warrnambool noted that he was informed that the sufficient number of employees required to respond to trench rescue may be up to 8 personnel but at least 5.

At present Warrnambool fire station has only 3 firefighters on shift at any one time and would need to recall staff that could blow out response times for a trench incident, potentially putting members of the public at risk.

VWA have been advised by CFA management at Warrnambool that at least 11 out of the current 16 firefighters need to have trench rescue competency to be an effective Code 1 trench rescue unit.

The UFU commends the HSR, DHSR and Shop Stewards at Warrnambool and Geelong for assisting with the PIN’s to resolve the trench rescue response so that the health and safety of members and also the public of Warrnambool and Geelong are addressed.

The CFA need to address this issue of managing trench rescue across the state by providing adequate training including skills maintenance, equipment and code one transportation of materials so that UFU members are safe and the public protected.

Should members have any questions, please contact either your shop steward, your HSR or the UFU office.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary