The Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) Health and Safety Unit (HSU) is based at DFB Headquarters on Townsend Street, Dublin 2. Dublin Fire Brigade is the only Brigade in Ireland that operates a full time Health & Safety Unit. Recognised academic qualifications and experience in Fire / Rescue / EMS are pre-requisites to joining the unit. The Assistant Chief Fire Officer manages the Unit, while the DFB Health & Safety Officer oversees its day-to-day activities.
The Role of the Dublin Fire Brigade Health and Safety Unit is to:
- Assist in the development and maintenance of a culture that supports health and safety within Dublin Fire Brigade
- Develop and support an effective safety management structure
- Implement and maintain health and safety requirements
- Oversee a systematic approach to the assessment and control of risks to staff, including the provision of a safety statement
- Monitor performance and regularly review management systems and best practice in regard to health and safety
- Provide advice and support on health and safety matters to DFB management and staff
- Record and investigate accidents within DFB
- Inform the Health & Safety Authority of certain types of accidents
The HSU liaises closely with the Corporate Health & Safety Office in Dublin City Council, and with other emergency services both in Ireland and abroad in order to learn from others, in terms of best practice in the area of health and safety.
The Health and Safety Unit delivers health and safety presentations at the Brigade Training Centre, Marino, to recruit firefighters and officers. This ensures that new personnel and those progressing to more senior roles within the organisation are fully informed regarding the requirements of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005 and other relevant legislation, and that they are aware of their responsibilities as employees and line managers.
The DBF H&S Unit also oversees Health & Staff training of our staff in:
- Induction of new staff
- Occupational First Aid
- Fire Marshall
- VDU assessments
- Use of Defibrillators
- Manual Handling
Health, Safety and Welfare are treated as integral to all training delivered within Dublin Fire Brigade:
- pre-course medicals
- fit-for-purpose staff and equipment
- competent instructors
- safety briefings pre-exercises
- close supervision during exercises
- trained first-aid staff and medical equipment
are on hand at all times.
Our unit conducts safety health and welfare audits across the Brigade when required to ensure compliance with safety legislation. These reports provide other sections such as Operations, Training or Logistics with advice on ways to improve the management of health and safety within their areas.
Our HSU produces an Annual Report for the Chief Fire Officer. This report provides statistical analysis of the accidents that has occurred the previous year. Other reports vary from accident report data to the Health & Safety Authority, internal reports for Assistant Chief Fire Officers, Safety Representatives and other Fire and Emergency Medical Services.
Liaison with outside agencies / Services
Our unit’s staff work closely with our colleagues in the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (Health & Safety Policy Unit). A number of cross border initiatives between Dublin and Belfast have taken place since 2005 and the ongoing strengthening of these initiatives continue.
The H&S Unit also deals with An Garda Síochána (National Irish Police Force) in relation to Firefighter and Paramedic personal safety issues and court procedures when required.