Whs Bulletin : 27 February 2017

Hazard alert: air-conditioning ducts with steel wire frame

I wish to inform all members of a significant health and safety hazard associated with BA operations when attending structural fires.

The hazard has been identified, and reported to me, by UFUQ members in attendance at a recent operational debrief in Brisbane Region at Roma Street Station.

It was identified during this debrief that there have been occasions during BA operations where crews have become entangled and/or caught in the steel wire from the frame of flexible air-conditioning ducts that were left hanging from the ceiling as a result of fire damage to the ceiling and/or ducting.

Members have reported to me that on these occasions they have reported this to QFES senior management via the chain of command.

However, it appears that to date any potential risk has yet to be reasonably managed.

A similar incident occurred in the UK which resulted in 2 Firefighters losing their lives after they became tangled in BA by hanging electrical wires. The outcome of the relevant inquiry into this incident lead to all firefighters being personally issued with a safety tool to cut themselves free, in an effort to appropriately manage the risk.

I implore all members to remain conscious of this health and safety hazard at all jobs involving BA operations.

Please rest assured that your union is requesting that this hazard be addressed by QFES management with urgency, and that the lessons learnt by others are not ignored.

Shane Malley – Health and Welfare Officer

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD