On Monday 21 October 2019, DFES Health and Safety Services organised a special event to formally launch the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) ‘Commitment Statement to a Healthy and Safe Workplace’. The launch was held in October to also recognise Safe Work Month.
The event was attended by the DFES Commissioner, Mr Darren Klemm AFSM and other senior leadership team members, including Deputy Commissioners, Executive Directors, Assistant Commissioners, Chief Superintendents and Superintendents, along with DFES Health & Safety Representatives and the Wellness and Injury Management Teams. Guests included Sally North, Director of Worksafe Service Industries and Specialists Directorate from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), and United Professional Firefighters Union of Western Australia delegates.
Hosted by the Health & Safety Services Team, the Acting Director Health & Safety Services, Matthew Watson, formally opened the event. Matthew welcomed the attendees and thanked them for their ongoing commitment to valuing and promoting a health and safety culture that both encourages and supports positive behaviours and promotes open, honest and effective consultation and collaboration. It is this commitment that will drive continual improvement and minimise injury to our people.
Commissioner Klemm echoed this sentiment and reiterated his personal commitment to a healthy and safe workplace for DFES employees, career firefighters, volunteers, contractors and the community. Commissioner Klemm acknowledged the unique challenges created by the complex and dynamic nature of fire and emergency services roles in Western Australia. The Commissioner individually addressed each of the twelve elements within the commitment statement, and explained the importance in delivering an effective and positive reporting culture.
Ms North welcomed the commitment by DFES leadership and the positive contribution these actions have on the wider public sector organisations. Ms North provided the audience with useful insight into the Government’s direction and increase in workplace health and safety resources. This included the announcement of 24 additional positions within DMIRS to assist with both proactive and reactive compliance.
Lastly, Station Officer Mark Papadopoff, Chairperson of the Career Fire and Rescue Service Occupational Health and Safety Committee, addressed the forum. Mr Papadopoff thanked the large contribution of DFES Health and Safety Representatives and the DFES Health and Safety Team in their commitment to collaboration, consultation and continual improvement of workplace health and safety standards over the past five years. He openly welcomed the commitment by the Corporate Executive and Senior Leadership Team. Mr Papadopoff noted the commitment to discussing health and safety at all DFES meetings and the organisation of an annual forum for Health and Safety Representatives that would encourage much needed learning and development as well as enhanced communication and consultation. The event concluded with an information and networking session with the DFES Health and Safety Representatives and senior management.