See how the fire industry is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic (an infectious disease outbreak that spreads on a global scale). The situation is changing rapidly and you can access the latest information on COVID-19 from the Australian Government Department of Health.
The federal and state governments have formed a national cabinet to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime minister has now commenced directing all Australians including organisations to take certain precautions relating to the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19.
On Tuesday 24 March 2020, Stage 1 directives from the government shall take effect.
The short term implications of the Stage 1 directives do not list fire services organisations as a non-essential service.
Further measures that will be taken imminently by the state government and national cabinet are unclear, however, may directly impact on your organisation.
Above mentioned, threat 1 and 2 is at the front of mind of the fire industry peak bodies who are proposing to state governments nationally to consider concessions in the pandemic environment to assist the situation.
Last Friday (20/3/2020) the Fire Protection Association Australia, National Technical Officer (FPAA) wrote to each relevant state government minister outlining the current and potential impact of the pandemic on the fire services industry. The letters identify that access restriction to facilities is causing problems with compliance with AS1851 routine servicing tolerances and mandatory state legislation.
The FPAA has proposed a course of action by our state regulators to:
The National Fire Industry Association (NFIA) published an employer guidance document ‘COVID-19 – Employer Guide’ on 16 March 2020. The document summarises what needs to be understood on organisational the risks, employer obligations, working from home considerations, changing or scaling down your operations.
Fire services organisations must assess the demographic of their clients and determine the optimum operating workflows to minimise risk to staff, the community and loss of revenue that sustains them.
Approximately 90-95% of net revenue for most fire services organisations is derived from field services such as routine servicing, repairs and installation services. Exceptions to this may be fire services organisations that also provide consultancy and design services not requiring regular client facility visits or inspections. Denial of access to client workplaces to perform services could result in an almost total loss of revenue for some fire services organisations.
It is advisable to assess your organisations client demographic together with actual service revenue streams. This is critical for the assessment of the immediate impact on revenue when access restrictions begin to apply to facilitate a revenue loss risk assessment:
tabulate revenue splits of what are considered the higher risk and/or restricted facilities (health, aged care, public assembly) and lower risk (industrial, commercial and residential).Operational Considerations AnalysisCan we comply with WHS/ OHS Acts as our organisation ought to throughout each consideration task?
For a detailed guide on Providing a Safe Workplace During a Pandemic visit WorkSafe Victoria.
Now that you have an effective risk mitigation plan in place, make sure everyone in the organisation knows about it and understands their responsibilities and contribution.