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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:32


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HR, Welfare and OH&S

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)


VFBV calls on volunteers to write to State MPs calling for support for the firefighters’ cancer law.  VFBV is receiving copies of Brigades’ and volunteers’ letters, and the MPs’ replies.  The issue will be raised in Parliament in December, but lacks Government support and Victoria lags behind; Tasmania now has presumptive legislation and the SA and WA Governments have begun putting through legislation.  See www.vfbv.com.au for how to get involved.


CFA is progressing the development of a People strategy to guide the work under five (5) key areas:  Leadership, Culture, Health Safety & Environment, People Sustainability and People Capability.

As part of the development of this strategy, CFA is intending to conduct a further round of their CFA Culture Survey to examine trends and shifts in responses from the first survey in 2013. The findings from this research will be built into the design and implementation of the CFA People Strategy.


The issue of members on a disability pension who make an injury compensation claim requires some careful consideration by CFA and VFBV. CFA has formed no definitive position or policy to condone a person undertaking firefighting activities; morally and legally there is a need for some processes and rules to be introduced to ensure the welfare of the member and of the crew they may be part of.

The development of a CFA Position /Policy is in its early days, however VFBV is engaged in the progression of draft documents that explore the options for the management of members who have illnesses or conditions (recognised by the receipt of disability pension support) and how CFA may require medical and fitness for duty assessments of any member current or future that is in receipt of a disability pension. This may include the introduction of a reasonable adjustment policy that CFA could impose to introduce controls and restrictions on members who are assessed medically to be at risk due to their illness or condition.

VFBV would indicate that CFA membership is typical of the general population, thus with the many thousands of CFA volunteers engaged in firefighting activities, a similar percentage of volunteers may be impacted by the introduction of a CFA policy/position on this matter.

VFBV delegates will discuss the matter in more detail at the December 2013 meeting


Regular quarterly snapshot reports are considered each meeting on injury / OH&S statistics with interesting trends in the number, severity and cause of injuries across CFA.

Not surprisingly the vast majority of injuries are soft tissue, sprains, strains and minor abrasions with around half of all claims occurring in non-response or non-emergency situations. The recent NSW support deployment triggered 12 injury reports, all relatively minor.

The Committee members have recommended that CFA communicate to members some typical examples of injury causes with many being the result of careless / unwise behaviours and actions that could be avoided or minimised with greater awareness.

CFA reported that the Member Healthwatch Program is gaining high recognition as an industry innovation leader and is shortlisted for Fire Awareness Award consideration. CFA has embraced this program building it into the ongoing business and service to member’s arrangements.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.