Please find below notice of the 2021 AGM, minutes from the previous AGM, and the audited branch financial report.
A number of UFU members have expressed disappointment that they do not see their values reflected by the current group of Labor MPs. The Branch Committee of Management decided that this behavior needs to be called out and that the UFU would write a letter to the State Secretary of Tasmanian Labor and post this letter on our website.
The full letter is available here: http://ufutas.asn.au/site/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Worker-Values.pdf
Congratulations to those elected to the Branch Committee of Management (BCOM) and thank you to those of you who served during the previous term.
BCOM plays a crucial role in providing strategic direction for the UFU and ensuring that members are at the heart of every decision made.
Please find the 2021 BCOM Election Report here.
What is pfas?
Pfas is a chemical designed to help firefighters suppress fires. Pfas can be found in a range of domestic and industrial settings, including non-stick fry pans, fabric protection and weather-proofing on raincoats.
Pfas is a group of around 3000 chemicals. Currently, we can only test for the presence of 30 pfas variants in the human body.
Why is pfas used for fires?
Pfas is used on flammable liquid fires for its heat resistant qualities. Pfas forms a barrier between the flammable liquid/vapours and the atmosphere, thus breaking the fire triangle by starving the combustion reaction of atmospheric oxygen.
What does pfas mean for my health?
Pfas can enter our body through absorption, inhalation and consumption.
The UFU is working with researchers studying how long pfas remains in the human body and how quickly pfas concentrations can be reduced.
Scientists cannot conclusively find a direct link between pfas contamination and ill health, but there is strong correlatory evidence that has prompted the commissioning of further research.
Evidence suggests that pfas may contribute to:
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Cancers, in particular prostate cancer
- Decreased fertility
- Increased risk of asthma
- Liver damage
- Birth defects
- Behavioural problems in children from contaminated parent/s
Should Firefighters be tested for pfas contamination?
Yes, the UFU recommends that every Firefighter has regular blood tests to measure the concentration of pfas.
As pfas is a widely recognised occupational hazard for Firefighters, your employer should be providing a regular system of blood testing.
How long does pfas last in the environment?
That is a big question, pfas is a persistent chemical meaning they endure and last in the environment after release and they are also bioaccumulative, therefore the concentration continually increases in the environment as they are used.
These chemicals will flow in streams and creeks and alarmingly they access the water table, increasing at the same time, which can be devastating for any downstream food producing enterprises.
Pfas has far reaching effects on the enviroment with pfas being able to travel in dust and water which impacts plants and wildlife. It is known that bears in the arctic have high levels of contamination.
Has anybody in Australia been compensated for pfas contamination?
Yes, there have been several claims made and compensation or settlements have been agreed for individual claims, including claims related to relocation of a family home or for a reduction of property value.
Have TFS taken adequate action to protect Firefighters?
Pfas is found in B-class foam Tridol 3-6%. Widespread use of this foam was discontinued in every other state of Australia years ago, but continues to be used in Tasmania.
TFS is supposed to be working toward replacing B-class pfas foam, but the relevant working group has not met for some time.
TFS has not implemented a system of blood testing to monitor the concentration of pfas in Firefighters.
Tasmanian Firefighters’ have been left in the dark on their health and forced to continue using a foam that puts their own health at risk while they work to protect the Tasmanian community.
What is your union doing on pfas?
The UFUA has been at the forefront of pfas research and lobbying. The UFUA has been involved in international forums raising and regulating the use of pfas to protect Firefighters and communities impacted by pfas contamination.
In Tasmania, the UFUA is lobbying the TFS to move toward a new B class foam system and to get members blood tested.
We are currently waiting on the results of a world first study into pfas contamination in firefighters and the reduction of pfas in the body, the results will be out soon.
The UFUA has a range of chemists and scientists working collaboratively with our national office to provide cutting edge expertise and advice.
We will keep you up to date on any progress. Please speak with your workplace rep if you have any questions.
Related Article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-24/report-into-cfa-fiskville-training-facility-tabled-in-parliament/7440840
Finance and disclosure reports are available below:
The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (Tas) contain a default WHS Issue Resolution Process that must be followed unless another compliant process is agreed upon.
Summary of Default Procedure:
- This applies where there is disagreement regarding WHS, including action taken when a hazard or incident report is submitted. It’s important to include the following details about any WHS issues raised:
- Details of the issue
- The nature and scope of the issue
- Once a report has been submitted, all parties (this means the worker, their HSR, the UFU, TFS and DPFEM) must meet or communicate as soon as reasonably possible to try to resolve the issue. The parties must consider:
- The urgency of the issue
- The number and location of people affected or potentially affected
- The severity of the risk
- What measures should be put in place to resolve the issue – both temporarily and permanently
- Who is responsible for implementing those measures
- A request for the resolution to be recorded in writing, documenting how the above has been taken into consideration, cannot be denied and must be provided to all parties
- If an agreement cannot be reached, negotiations can continue or any party can contact WorkSafe Tasmania for mediation and potentially to make a determination on the issue.
Default Procedure outlined in the WHS Regulations:
23. Default procedure
(1) This regulation sets out the default procedure for issue resolution for the purposes of section 81(2) of the Act.
(2) Any party to the issue may commence the procedure by informing each other party –
(a) that there is an issue to be resolved; and
(b) the nature and scope of the issue.
(3) As soon as parties are informed of the issue, all parties must meet or communicate with each other to attempt to resolve the issue.
(4) The parties must have regard to all relevant matters including the following:
(a) the degree and immediacy of risk to workers or other persons affected by the issue;
(b) the number and location of workers and other persons affected by the issue;
(c) the measures (both temporary and permanent) that must be implemented to resolve the issue;
(d) who will be responsible for implementing the resolution measures.
(5) A party may, in resolving the issue, be assisted or represented by a person nominated by the party.
(6) If the issue is resolved, details of the issue and its resolution must be set out in a written agreement if any party to the issue requests this.
Under the Act, parties to an issue include not only a person conducting a business or undertaking, a worker and a health and safety representative, but also representatives of these persons (see section 80 of the Act).
(7) If a written agreement is prepared all parties to the issue must be satisfied that the agreement reflects the resolution of the issue.
(8) A copy of the written agreement must be given to –
(a) all parties to the issue; and
(b) if requested, to the health and safety committee for the workplace.
(9) To avoid doubt, nothing in this procedure prevents a worker from bringing a work health and safety issue to the attention of the worker’s health and safety representative.
Since 2017, the Tasmanian Government has been reviewing the Fire Service Act.
The UFUA has made two submissions to the Fire Service Act Review, please find the second submission below:
Bulletin No: 034 25 September 2020
TO ALL UFUA MEMBERS
UFUA NATIONAL RULE CHANGES
The United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) National Committee of Management has adopted changes to the UFUA rules on 15 September 2020.
In accordance with rule 49(4) of the UFUA Rules, the National Secretary is required to publicise the rule changes adopted by the National Committee of Management (NCOM).
Please see the PDF below for details.
Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD
Authorised by National Secretary Peter Marshall and National President Greg McConville
Climate action resolution, UFUA legislative agenda update and more
This week, the National Delegates of the United Firefighters Union of Australia (National Union) met in Canberra, ACT for its annual National Committee of Management meeting.
The post National Bulletin #28 – UFUA National Committee Meeting a Resounding Success appeared first on United Firefighters Union Australia.