Quest 3 Health and Safety in the Workplace : Saving Fire Fighter Nigel Stapleton
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Quest 3: Hazardous substances and dangerous goods - Safe Work Australia

Quest 3: Hazardous substances and dangerous goods - Safe Work Australia | Quest 3 Health and Safety in the Workplace : Saving Fire Fighter Nigel Stapleton |
This site contains materials supporting the WHS laws including; the model WHS Act, model WHS Regulations and model Codes of Practice. Analysis of data and research relating to work health and safety and workers’ compensation is available from this site.
Jenny Olmos's insight:

In general hazardous materials covers a variety of substances significant to the QFES. 


In general however, there are general guides or action plans within QFES  to manage hazardous material or 'Hazmat'.


Hazmat incidents include

*classified dangerous goods (approx 4000 listed chemicals)

*classified hazardous substances (approx 8000 chemicals)

*chemical agents, biological, and radiological materials.

*gas leaks

*unknown vapours and odours

*multiple symptoms/sickness of people

*substances presumed to be hazardous

*fires, accidents, and rescues having an element of hazmat concerns.


Management includes risk assessment from senior officers who then develop and incident action plan.

Officers need to use their experience and knowledge to safely resolve a situation. This is constantly monitored and strategies modified accordingly.



*potential for rapid spread

*inability to identify chemical hazard

* resources may not be immediately available

* the liberation of excessive energy/explosions

*ionising and non ionising radiation

*physical contamination of chemicals.



*careful approach

*collect information from a distance

*identify if possible

*establish exclusion zones

*request specialist operators

*wear appropriate PPE

*determine the mode of operation, offensive, defensive, short term , long term.

*monitor hazard via monitoring devices

*decontamination of ppe post operation.


(Source: QFES Incident Action Guide, Hazardous materials, General guide, version 3.0, 2007)



Narelle McMahon's curator insight, June 1, 2014 10:17 AM

Wayne this site could be very beneficial for you given that your work place uses many hazardous materials.  It also has Workplace health and safety laws and the act.  Plus workers compensation information.  You can access a great deal of information here in regards to training and risk manangement

Shaun Morton's curator insight, April 28, 2017 9:27 AM
one of the main hazards that firefighters face in almost every situation is the occurrence of hazardous materials. Hazardous materials includes: classified dangerous goods, (which is a list of approximately 4000 chemicals) classified hazardous substances ( approximately 8000 chemicals) along with gas leaks, chemical agents, radio logical materials, unknown vapors and overall fires and smoke inhalation. these hazards are combated with the use of level 3 hazmat suits which are very heavy and bulky which in its own creates stress on the wearer and will put the wearer through physical tests of strength and endurance. 
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Quest 3: Medical and Physical Fitness

Quest 3: Medical and Physical Fitness | Quest 3 Health and Safety in the Workplace : Saving Fire Fighter Nigel Stapleton |

Image source :



The QFES medical and fitness standards outlined in their recruitment brochure:


Jenny Olmos's insight:

The life of a fire fighter is demanding, responding to fire, road crash rescues, managing chemical and hazardous materials, swift water rescue and driving long hours to name but a few tasks.


                                  PHYSICAL DEMANDS


The demands on the body vary with the job and equipment used.


Some of the key tasks include:



*Responding to an alert (usually from resting to a hight intensity)

*Opening closing doors and lockers on appliances  *Loading / unloading appliance  *stepping into/out of appliances  *connecting a hose  *dragging hose from appliances  *bowling / rolling a coil of hose  *shippping/unshipping a standpipe  *filling pump and pump operation  *advancing a charged line of hose  *branch control on a charged line of hose  *climbing - stairs and ladders  *forcible entry/exit   *handling of equipment (including RCR, ladders, Positive pressure ventilation (PPV) fans, foam drums)  *working in a hot and smoky environment  *working in confined spaces  *using SCBA

*walking on uneven ground  *driving heavy appliances  *operation of radio comms equipment  *wearing PPE  *station activities and maintainence (varied and multiple)



*carrying knapsacks   *building firebreaks  *carrying and using tools

*traversing bushland



*walking with operational pace  *lifting and carrying equipment  *moving persons in very confined spaces  *twisting  *standing



* Vertical rescue  *Confined space rescue  *urban search and rescue (USAR)  *Shorring  *Swift water and floodwater rescue  *trench rescue  *endurance



*wearing level 3 suit with BA   *shovelling  *lifting and handling

*opening / closing valves *heat exposure



*sitting * standing *walking *bending * reaching


                                     MEDICAL STANDARDS

As a result of these physical requirements, the QFES has standards of medical and physical fitness to include vision, hearing, cadiovascular fitness, metabolic, respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal, and heat exposure.


The link below is the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) : Medical guidelines for firefighters, summary document of 2006.


QFES seek their guidance when preparing minimum standards and expectations.



                                       FITNESS TRAINING

Nigel, as do all other fire fighters exercise every day to develop and maintain peak physical conditioning.


It is an expectation and part of their job to train and maintain wellness. The inhouse program ensures this by providing gyms and the time to keep fit.  Wellness includes not only fitness but diet, hydration and good lifestyle habits and plenty of sleep.


QFES have adopted the definition of physical fitness as " the body's ability to perform physical activity without distress or injury" (QFRS Wellnes Information package, version 2, 2010, internal document)


The physical activity guidelines for adults according to the Government Department of Health and Aging suggests fours steps to improving health.


1.  Think movement as an opportunity, not an inconvenience.

2.  Be active everyday in as many ways as you can.

3.  Put together at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all days

4.  If you can, also enjoy some regular, vigourous activity for extra health and fitness.


More information can be found on this link.




Shaun Morton's curator insight, April 28, 2017 8:49 AM
The lifestyle of a firefighter is one that is physically demanding every single day. this professions requires a person in peak condition both mentally and physically as it requires so many key tasks including: 
Firefighting -climbing stairs/ ladders, forcing entry/exit, walking on uneven grounds, pump operation, working in hot and smokey environment, 
Bush fire fighting- carrying knapsacks, building firebreaks
Road crash rescue- carrying heavy equipment.
chemical and hazmat management- wearing heavy duty PPE, handling, heat exposure.
due to the physical requirements of this occupation, there are strict requirements for entry such as the beep test which is a continuous running test which advances in stages continually increasing in difficulty ( used in school Physical education, literally the worst). being a firefighter means there is continuous fitness training which recommends at least 30 mins of vigorous training everyday and in every way you can with also keeping a good diet and lifestyle.

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Quest 3: Bowling and Rolling Fire Hoses

Quest 3: Bowling and Rolling Fire Hoses | Quest 3 Health and Safety in the Workplace : Saving Fire Fighter Nigel Stapleton |

Bowling and Rolling fire hoses is a manual handling task invloving lifting bending, twisting, squatting and kneeling.

Jenny Olmos's insight:

Fire fighters respond to all manner of jobs with some level of agility, strength, endurance whilst maintaining safe work practices.  To achieve this competence, fire fighters 'drill' to increase competence, efficiency and technique so that 1.) The task is performed correctly and 2.) The firefighter is familiar with the equipment under all conditions.


Bowling and Rolling hose is one of those bread and butter functions of a fire fighter, If not done correctly could potentially see back strain or be struck by the heavey couplings.


The QFES methodology for Bowling a hose correctly;



Bending to ground level and gripping hose while rolling it towards threaded ends up to 60m.  This action must be performed in a squat position rather than bent from the hips.

a) face direction in which hose is to be bowled.

b)take pace forward with outside foot and swing coil of hose forward.

c)maintain frip with hand holding couplings

d)release grip of other hand

e) Ensure couplings do not contact body. Before bowling out hose, the firefighter must ensure the couplings are in line. This will reduce the possibility of couplings stricking the body.



Up to 20kg's and ground to waist height.  The weight of hose is a maximum 20 kg's.  There is no need to lift hose hight than your head; all movements are below waist and along the ground when rolling.  Every time a hose is to be used at practice or a job, the hose is first bowled and at completions of its use drained of water and rolled.


                                    HOSE DRAG



Once a hose has been bowled, it will need to be positioned into place around the fire ground as required.

As assessment of the area to take in your safety and position in relation to the fire of trip hazards.  The technique to use for dragging a hose requires some effort, and the main strength should come from legs and hips and refrain from using upper body strength as this is a counterintuitive motion and will unnecessarily fatigue a fire fighter.

Core strength is essential here as should be a target in any fitness regime as this one instance where strong posture matters.



Hose weighs up to around 20kg's. However, fully charged with water under pressure changes the dynamics and characteristics of the hose. Fully charged this hose can weigh up to 96 kg's per charge length.  Now we see how physical form and technique is required in training and under all conditions.

A fully charged hose allows for floor to waist height range in movements.

A hose in this condition is moved as required or dependent on the situation and response.



Squatting/ kneeling - the activity is performed rather quickly, however, at times sustained squatting followed by kneeling in preparation for hose rolling can be required.


Forward bending - this is a constant repetitive movement when organising hoses on the ground and add in twisting, more scope for injury.


Manual Handling - hoses weighing up to 20kgs.  They are retrieved from a truck, bowled to unfurl.


Pushing/pulling - the physical pushing or pulling or equipment such as hoses.


Hand grasp - manual dexterity will allow constant grasping of tools, holding onto taut hose or even rolling hose which requires some strength in the hands of power grasp.


References: QFES Task Analysis (Internal document)

Foundation skills for firefighter: FUNIT 537 (version 2 Feb 2009) and FUNIT 446 Skills and Drills. Prevent Injury  PUAFIR201B.  QFRS DUCOTS

Shaun Morton's curator insight, April 28, 2017 9:07 AM
being a firefighter means responding to all sorts of jobs which require a range in levels of agility, strength and endurance all while maintaining an efficient and safe workplace. 
Bowling fire hoses is one of the most physically demanding and repetitive tasks a firefighter can do making it one of the most dangerous. 
Description: bending to ground level and gripping it tightly to be rolled 60 meters means that this action must be done in a squat position which can be harmful overtime. Although the weight of the hose is 20kgs when its rolled up and dry, the hose can reach weights of almost 100kgs each length when in use which obviously requires some serious heavy lifting and management.
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Quest 3: Firefighter returns after severe heat exhaustion - YouTube

Firefighter is back on duty for the first time after going to the hospital for heat exhaustion.
Jenny Olmos's insight:

                                  HEAT STRESS & FATIGUE

" Sound operational decision making will assist in achieving our goal of zero harm.  It means you 'think safely' and 'act safely', to protect yourself and your work colleagues and enables employees, volunteers and contractors to return home everyday to their families and loved ones, free of injury and illness" (Field Incident Guide, version 3, Qld Dept of Emergency Services)


The potential for heat stress must be part of the awareness of yourself and others.  Hydration is essential to minimise the severity or onset of heat stress.

Along with maintaining a good level of hydration as measured from the reliable 'pee test' - see link below for Urine colour hydration chart.


Working in a frenetic manner is discouraged in contrast working purposefully ensures you are not pushing yourself for little outcome which could see you with heat stress or stroke.


The turnout gear work by officers is designed to protect officers from heat, however the downside is that it can increase the heat stress factor.


The QFES Operations Doctrine, Incident Directive, version 1 (2006) on Heat Stress states:

   *dressing down to another level of personal protective clothing (PPE) where there is a lower risk incident and/or lower risk tasks to be performed (e.g. dress down from turnout coat to bush fire jacket).

   * avoiding areas where exposure to heat from a fire of the sun would increase body temperature (i.e. when not actively involved infire fire duties.


                       HEAT RELATED CONDITIONS





*normal or below normal skin temperature  * cool, moist, pale skin progressing to red skin  *headache * nausea *dizziness and weakness * exhaustion * sweating * rapid, weak pulse.


*casualty to rest lying down with legs slightly raised,

*loosen tight clothing

*if conscious give sips of water

*if unconscious, place in recovery position check DRABCD





*high body temperature  *red hot, dry skin * progressive deterioration in conscious state * full bounding pulse *rapid shallow noisy breathing


*stop person from activity

*cool the body

*give sips of water if conscious

*minimise shock

*seek urgent medical care


Source: QFES, Field accident guide version 3.





Fatigue is a multifaceted phenomenom. It isn't just being tired or sleepy but a pronounced down regulation of the normal functioning of the body, one result is from excessive exertion.


Below are 2 links to information on fatigue in further detail.




In the QFES, management of fatigues considers

1. shift duration period between shifts

3.length of tour duties

4. rest periods between tour of duty, tours of duties and return to work.

5. Nutrition and hydration

6. managment of fatique symptoms while on duty

7.transport and working with machinery

8. work breaks

9.minimum requirements for hours worked and periods between shifts as identified in industrial award.


Risk assessments include the fatigue levels of firefighters and rosters planned accordingly.

Shaun Morton's curator insight, April 28, 2017 8:15 AM
The potential for heat exhaustion is a constant threat for the everyday lives of firefighters. Heat exhaustion is such a problem because it can be such a common occurrence. Symptoms of Heat exhaustion can include: pale skin progressing to red, headache, nausea, exhaustion, fast and weak pulse and overall exhaustion.  Heat Exhaustion is just the first stage and can quickly escalate into sever Heat stroke which can cause the person to endure rapid shallow breathing and progressive deterioration in conscious state. The Queensland fire emergency service has set guidelines in order to minimise these occurrences but unfortunately they will always happen due to the dangerous nature of the occupation. these precautions include: shorter shifts, rest in between shifts with minimum requirements and overall they fight fatigue levels with a carefully planned roster.
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Quest 3 Dangers of MRI for fire fighters

This video is for Dangers Of MRI For more video please Visit
Jenny Olmos's insight:

Mackay Base Hospital has a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine located in a purpose built room.

All QFES personnel who attend any incident involving this type of facility must follow defined procedures.


MRI machines work using very strong magnetic fields and high electrical voltages are associated with these. The hazard is not so much the electical current but the force of the magnet which is never switched off thus producing a magnetic field.

These machines are located in rooms which are encased in metal that prevents communications such as radios from working.


Fire fighters are not authorised to enter these rooms unsupervised with out a qualified MRI operator present or providing instructions.


Those firefighters who have;

- pacemakers

-aneurysm clips

-hearing aids

- cochlear implants

-insulin pumps

- any other internal metallic device cannot enter these rooms.

- also, wallets or credit cards, battery powered watches, and electronic devices cannot enter these rooms as they may become damaged.


If a fire erupts in these rooms, fire fighter can only manage fires external to the room until an authorised person  can make it safe for their entry. 





Shaun Morton's curator insight, April 28, 2017 9:22 AM
a Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine  (MRI) works with the use of very strong magnetic fields and high electro magnetic voltages as a result. The overall hazard with these machines is not the the electrical current but the force of the magnet which is never turned off creating a magnetic field. To combat this field, MRI machines are encased in metal which prevents interference with outside communications such as radios. The danger that firefighters face with these machines, and the reason that they are not allowed to enter these rooms without supervision of a qualified MRI operator is the danger of the field interfering with; pacemakers, aneurysm clips, hearing aids, insulin pumps along with any other medical mechanical device.( wallets, cards or battery powered watches may also be damaged) if a fire was to occur in one of these rooms means that any firefighter may only combat the external fires until an authorised MRI operator can ensure their safe entry to the room.