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Thursday, 14 April 2011

A 'Risk Averse' Rescue Service?

I've just seen the first signs of light in the tunnel in, of all places, the SHP Journal! (Safety and Health Professional - I are one, but I still think its a complete oxymoron!)

The Chief Fire Officer of the Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service has gone on record saying that the culture of fear generated by the Corporate Manslaughter legislation and the HSE in its campaign against FRS managers almost certainly contributed to the death of a woman who fell down a mineshaft. According to evidence before the inquest, she suffered a heart attack after a prolonged wait for the Mountain Rescue Organisations team to arrive while Firefighters at the scene stood idle - with equipment they could have used but were advised not to. Apparently the HandS man onsite decided they didn't have the right training and the OiC wasn't prepared to risk landing in court if he attempted the rescue in the face of that advice.

We have arrived at a situation, as CFO says, where the operational decisions are not made on the basis of operational need, but on whether or not the person in charge could get prosecuted for it at some later stage. To me this is a disgraceful state of affairs, one which is exploited to the fullest extent by the Union which uses any excuse to attempt to undermine the command structure.

I note the HSE claims their Inspectors of FRS operations are all 'trained' to properly assess operational activity. That is NOT my experience at all.

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