Tuesday, 16 March 2010


We saw this story in the Southland Times this morning and at first we laughed - they we got a bit cross.

Fire trucks are now parked outside the Fire station garage at considerable cost because the Union has deemed them a health risk. Bugger me.

We have in a past life spent a lot of time at the Invercargill Fire station, cheap beer and hunky blokes and all that. Nice place. Good men - but they are the last of the hardcore unionists.

Anyway - Alf Grumble is gobsmacked as are we. He rightly points out that the Health and safety Act is partly to blame - Labour faffed around with the Act in 2002 and that has led to fatuous crap like this .

The New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union said diesel fumes when the trucks left or returned to fire stations were a health and safety risk and until extractor systems were installed fire trucks throughout the country were to be kept outside.

Fire Service Southland area manager Brendan Nally slammed the decision as ludicrous and said it could put his staff at risk.

"There's more immediate and substantive risk for my guys running out to the trucks on an icy or wet morning."

Invercargill's three frontline trucks, one spare pump, a tanker and the service's new hazmat vehicle have not been allowed in the station garage since after Christmas.

Mr Nally said a national safety and wellbeing committee study found no evidence the service's personnel suffered poor health effects from diesel fume exposure.

"There's just no direct link."

Now while we all love firemen it would be interesting to know just how many days a year the trucks are actually in operation. In other words how many times are they " exposed" to this "risk."

A bloody forecourt attendant at a petrol station would be exposed to more fumes.

The professional firefighters union is probably one of the more militant unions we have and this is a clear case of the boys showing their union muscle.

Sad really. Sad because its forcing the Fire Service to waste money on crap.

This posturing wont save lives.

It wont save money.

But it will reduce the credibility of the union.

Union boss and Derek Best should be called to account for directing his men to take action that costs money that could be better spent doing something like putting fire alarms in houses and educating youngsters about the danger of fire. That would save lives - that's what firefighters like doing isn't it?

1 comment:

mojo said...

It would be interesting to know if the 'services study' included those who had been subject to the fumes over time and included subsequent health difficulties. Having watched two people whose careers had involved trucks and diesel engines demise with non Hodgkins lymphoma and being aware that there were more and that the relationship is now taken as a given, I too would be somewhat cautious.
Service stations taking warrants, three sides enclosed and engines running all the time, would indeed constitute a greater risk.
I was somewhat surprised to find that these days smokers choose to live alongside the state highways ... the incidence of lung cancers tend to cluster alongside the main roads, which given diesel fumes are a well known carcinogen and the virtues of diesel engines have been extolled by respective governments is not surprising.
It is the insidious nature of longterm exposure that is to be frightened of, and the basic rule is, 'if you can smell it you shouldn't be there.'
... not really that silly I don't think.