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A report from the University of Stirling has examined firefighter safety and suggested that there are a number of improvements which could be made.
This is after examining the record from 2004/05 to 2013/14 in which there were 13 work related firefighter deaths and 1 fire technician death.
This compared with the 6 firefighter deaths between 1993/94 and 2003/04. The report, which was funded by the Fire Brigades Union, is entitled ‘Firefighter Fatalities at fires in the UK 2004-2013: voices from the fireground’ and was made by Professor Andrew Watterson of the university’s Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group.
The report undertook a detailed review of the whole system of firefighting from the top down. What comes out is a thought-provoking analysis as to why things go wrong and constructive recommendations as to what can be done.
In doing so it certainly tackles issues that one might imagine such as improving risk assessment and training. But it also looks deeper than that into the governance of the fire service and how this might be improved to assist in firefighter safety.
Firefighting is a good example of an occupation where it might well be said that it is impossible to get rid of all the risks of workplace accidents given the dangers it inherently involves. But just because it is dangerous doesn’t mean that particular care for safety should be left behind. In fact, it is the seriousness of the danger which makes safety in this area all the more important.
It is to be hoped that going forward the recommendations in this report are not only taken on board but also implemented into the various systems from the top down.
What’s more, it might be hoped that at a time when the UK Government seems keen on reducing red tape and fighting the so-called compensation culture the safety of workers in all industries is not undermined.
On the contrary, again it might be hoped that more rigorous health and safety procedures might instead be seen in the light that they were intended which is to prevent workplace accidents from happening in the first place.
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