Above: DFB’s management team with the certificate.
Third Officer John Guilfoyle outlines the process by which Dublin Fire Brigade was granted certification to OHSAS 18001:2007 by NSAI.
Dublin Fire Brigade had reason to celebrate last year when the service was awarded OHSAS 18001 certification by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). Recognised worldwide as the highest international standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (SMS), OHSAS 18001 provides a framework to identify, control and decrease the risks associated with emergency service activities.
“This award is the result of the Brigade’s on-going efforts to deliver emergency services in a safe and responsible manner with a commitment to protecting the well-being of our staff and the public we serve,” Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Pat Fleming noted. “Best health and safety practice has always been at the heart of DFB, and I am delighted that our hard work has been recognised with this accreditation. DFB has now achieved world-class standards of excellence in Health and Safety Management and Quality Management Systems, which is a remarkable achievement for an organisation of our size and complexity.”
ACFO Terry Kearney, with responsibility for Health and Safety, outlined the process involved in achieving accreditation. “The OHSAS 18001 accreditation followed a rigorous external audit of DFB’s policies and practices by the NSAI. The process included detailed interviews, samples of operations, and workplace activities inspections in all sections of DFB,” he explained.
The establishment of the full-time Health and Safety Unit was a key element in the organisation successfully implementing the OHSAS 18001 Safety Management System.
The Health and Safety Unit based in DFB HQ facilitated the audit process across the service. The establishment of the full-time Health and Safety Unit was a key element in the organisation successfully implementing the OHSAS 18001 Safety Management System. The Health and Safety Unit is managed by Third Officer John Guilfoyle and has three full-time staff: District Officer Thomas Keane, Station Officer Mark Hogan, and Station Officer Chris Tallon. The role of the Health and Safety Unit is to advise the CFO and DFB on occupational health and safety. Its function is to support the introduction and management of DFB’s safety management system. The legislative requirements with which DFB must comply are set out in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 supported by the General Application (Regulations) 2007. DFB chose OHSAS 18001:2007 as the most appropriate framework to manage safety, health and welfare within the organisation; using OHSAS 18001 also aligned DFB with the safety management recommendations from the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA).
DFB achieved accreditation because of the hard work, support and commitment of its entire staff who assisted with the numerous internal and external safety management system audits during the accreditation process. DFB also received invaluable support, assistance and guidance from DCC’s Corporate Health and Safety Office. By achieving accreditation to OHSAS 18001, DFB now has the framework of an internationally recognised safety management system to maintain and further develop a safer, healthier environment for its staff.