News & Media

Brigade health and safety coordinators

  • Andrew Bartels, BHSC for Narre Warren Fire Brigade

By: CFA News

Category: Health & Safety

  10.18 AM 7 September, 2017

Location: General

Views: 6164

Brigade health and safety coordinators are not alone. There’s a growing network of informed group health and safety coordinators (GHSCs) working with them, and together they are making a difference in their districts.

CFA introduced brigade health and safety coordinators (BHSCs) in 2014 and this year a brigade or group may have elected a member to the role for the first time. New BHSCs don’t have to be experts in safety because CFA provides training and tools to help them make sure their roles are relevant to their brigade management teams (BMT).

Joint BHSC and GHSC awareness sessions have been run across the state with more than 470 members attending including many captains and other BMT members.

Introductory information and awareness sessions take around two hours, and are held at venues that suit the group or district. BHSCs and GHSCs get to meet other like-minded members and hear anecdotes about activities undertaken to help promote a positive health and safety culture.

They will learn the important role they play to ensure all incidents, near misses and hazards to be reported. BHSCs can also get involved by conducting inspections at their brigade, especially for Section 29 audits.

District 14 Health, Safety and Environment Adviser Tina Marchington said each person holding a BHSC role brings something different to it.

“I love the diversity of members who take on the BHSC role,” Tina said. “When BHSCs share information we all learn.”

According to Andrew Bartels, BHSC for Narre Warren Fire Brigade, “It may be smaller things that the BHSC decides to take on. For example, a BHSC can ensure that a safety share is on the agenda at brigade meetings.”

Andrew also suggests that, “If your brigade doesn’t meet formally, you could forward relevant documents to members via email. When safety alerts are released I’m able to communicate them to members almost immediately and place a copy on our safety noticeboard.”

BHSCs receive a hard copy of the BHSC Toolkit for reference. Although this toolkit is available on Brigades Online, a paper copy can be useful when the BHSC returns to their brigade following the awareness session. It’s suggested they start completing some of the tasks within their broad role description.

BMTs are welcoming BHSCs’ input to highlight issues and share observations. BHSCs can organise Healthwatch health monitoring sessions for members and even run joint sessions with neighbouring brigades where families can also be involved. There’s no limit to what each BHSC chooses to undertake.

The BHSC sessions are run by a Health, Safety and Environment Adviser. Contact your local BASO, district office or adviser to find out when the next BHSC session is planned near you.

Last Updated: 07 September 2017