Page 6120 - Week 14 - Thursday, 8 December 2011

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As at 30 June 2011, the ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) has 554 resources available to it, being 374 trained volunteer firefighters and 180 trained firefighters from the Parks Brigade who operate under the control of the ACTRFS Chief Officer.

Indoor air quality

Mr Corbell (in reply to a question and a supplementary question by Ms Hunter on Thursday, 27 October 2011):

1. On review of the relevant recommendation in the State of the Environment report no requirement was identified for ORS to implement the recommendations on indoor air quality. The role for ORS on indoor air quality comes through WorkSafe ACT as the regulator of work health and safety.

Under section 21 of the Work Safety Act 2008 (the Act), a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a duty to ensure work safety by managing risk. Work safety under the Act means the health, safety and wellbeing of people in relation to work. Managing risk means taking all reasonably practicable steps to identify, eliminate or minimize each risk.

In determining if a PCBU has taken all reasonably practicable steps to meet their duties under the Act, WorkSafe ACT would expect a risk assessment to have been completed in relation to their business/undertaking and appropriate controls implemented to eliminate or minimise identified risks. Such risks might include risks to health posed by the quality of air indoors.

The Work Safety Regulation 2009 includes provisions relating to atmosphere and ventilation and the National Exposure Standard for Atmospheric Contaminants in the Occupational Environment has been adopted in the ACT as a Code of Practice approved under the Act. Approved Codes of Practice offer practical examples of good practice. They give advice on how to comply with the law by, for example, providing a guide to what is ‘reasonably practicable’ in particular circumstances.

WorkSafe ACT would expect a PCBU to consider, depending on identified risks, regular air monitoring to ensure the occupational environment accords with the requirements of the legislation and the Code of Practice. WorkSafe ACT will assist any Canberra business which has any concerns about the quality of air within the workplace to comply with its legal requirements.

2. There is no specific requirement for collection of data on levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead particles, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and benzene.

Indoor air quality

Mr Corbell (in reply to a supplementary question by Ms Bresnan on Thursday, 27 October 2011): I am not aware of any interaction between the ORS and the Health Directorate to implement the work of the enHealth council.

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