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Tag ‘firemen’

Firemen’s Poles outlawed

Sunday, June 16th, 2002

Firemen have saved precious seconds by sliding down a pole to the ground floors of their fire stations for almost 200 years. But now, due to new European safety directives, they are being ordered to walk down the stairs instead… Gloucestershire Fire Brigade has become the first in Britain to stop its firefighters using them in light of the EEC’s 1992 Working Conditions Regulations.
(Daily Mail, 16 June 2002, p 25)

Fire chiefs in the North-East are rejecting a European safety directive to stop staff sliding down station poles — and cut injuries and compensation claims. The new EU safety directive states that firemen should be ordered to walk down the stairs instead.
(The Newcastle Journal, 17 June 2002, p 4)

There is no legislation entitled the ‘EEC Working Conditions Regulations 1992’. The most relevant pieces of European law are the Council Directives of 1989 and 1991 which encourage improvements in the health and safety of workers. Whilst these lay down important protective measures, stipulating that employers should anticipate and manage risk at the workplace, there is nothing in either which specifically relates to fireman’s poles. The EU has not banned the use of this essential apparatus. It is highly likely that the articles are referring to the 1992 Codes of Practice on health and safety at work, adopted by the UK government to transpose the EU legislation into domestic law. Again these contain general provisions to ensure worker safety, but in no way do they dictate that firemen must ‘walk down the stairs’ instead of sliding down a pole.

New uniforms for firemen

Tuesday, November 17th, 1992

Myth: Due to EC safety rules, firemen may be forced to wear different uniforms to their current ones.

Response: From January 1,1993, “personal protective equipment” (Council Directive of 21.12.1989, Official Journal of 30.12.89) should satisfy certain common essential requirements in order to guarantee greater health and safety for the user of this equipment. Personal protective equipment includes “any device or equipment designed to be worn or held by the worker to protect him against one or more hazards likely to endanger his safety and health at work”. A wide range of products are covered by this directive and firemen’s uniforms and hats are included. The question is not, of course, to change their design or style but their capacity to comply with a series of tests and safety requirements. All products marketed after 1993 will have to include an EC conformity mark, which certifies that they comply with the EC requirements. This applies in the UK as well as in all the other Member States. There is one exception to the rule: the EC does not apply to personal protective equipment which is manufactured for the army or for law enforcement forces.

EC in the UK

Check the EC Representation in the UK website

Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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