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July 6, 2010

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FBU vexed by plan to exempt emergency services from health and safety rules

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has raised concerns at suggestions that Lord Young’s forthcoming review will advocate that all emergency services should be exempt from health and safety regulations.

The Conservatives have already publicly stated their commitment to amending the HSWA in relation to the Police, amid stories that health and safety rules have, in some cases, prevented police officers from carrying out their duties to protect the public.

At the IOSH conference in Glasgow in March, Lord Young told delegates that he felt exemption from health and safety rules should apply across “all the uniformed services”. He reaffirmed his views in an interview last month with The Times newspaper, in which he said: “Technically speaking, the firemen could say they wouldn’t go to a fire because it was too dangerous. We’ve just got to get sense back into the system.”

In a memo last week to FBU members, general secretary Matt Wrack hit out at the implication that fire-fighters might refuse to attend fires on the grounds of risk, stressing: “There is no evidence whatsoever that excessive health and safety regulation is, in any way, damaging the ability of the Fire and Rescue Service to respond to emergency incidents.”

Wrack pointed out that between February 1996 and October 2002 there were no recorded fire-fighter deaths at fires in the UK, yet between 2003 and 2007, 13 fire-fighters were killed in their work.

He continued: “Fire-fighters respond day in and day out to emergency incidents of all kinds. They have the right to demand the best training, equipment and resources to do so. The only thing threatening our emergency response is the seemingly endless drive to make cuts to front-line emergency cover.”

The FBU has formulated its concerns in a submission to Lord Young’s review and has also been invited to meet the Tory peer to discuss its position.

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13 years ago

How is it that Lord young publicly criticised the current health and safety system, citing that people with no training or experience can set up as health and safety professionals with no qualifications. Then what is a solicitor doing who has not training or experience in these matters dictating something which he knows nothing about. ?

13 years ago

interesting article

13 years ago

I was serving when H&S was introduced and the same discussions were taking place then. I can reasure all that firefighters will continue to turn out to all and any type of incident be it terrorist threats or the simple cat up a tree.
Training is a vital part for any worker non more so than the firefighter
When it comes to H&S in the service it is usualy the management who trie to tie the hands of those on the engines not the unions