Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Fire Safety!

Since mid February 2020, we have been thinking and planning our response (should it be necessary) in respect to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On this web page, we will be providing our stakeholders updated on everything related to the pandemic. So here are a few resources for you to get started.

CEO, Firewize
17 Mar, 2020

Infection Prevention & Control Policy

The Firewize Infection Prevention & Control Policy sets out the framework for employees, agents and contractors (workers) in relation to infection prevention and control in the workplace.  This policy is intended to help prevent the risk to health and safety of workers and the public from preventable infection, contamination or exposure. Notwithstanding this, humans are always infected with some type of pathogen, most of which rarely, if ever, become symptomatic.  We have also published a STATUS page where you can find a concise update on every part of our business. https://firewize.com/status

Employee Wellbeing & Business Continuity Plan

The Firewize Employee Wellbeing & Business Continuity Plan is the working document that sets out the plans and actions we have embraced for our employees, customers, sub-contractors and suppliers. The plan is an active working document and is constantly being updated as we learn about best practices in managing infection prevention while carrying out our essential fire safety maintenance obligations.

As at July 7, 2020 we have amended our employee wellbeing and business continuity plan to place each of our team members in one of FOUR colour coded groups. The members of each team& will be identified by a corresponding silicone wristband (BLUE, GREEN, PINK AND ORANGE). Each team will undergo additional training to ensure they understand their infection control and social distancing obligations.

CoVID Safe Work Plan

As at August 6, 2020, Firewize has developed and published a CoVID-19 Safe Work Plan - This mandatory document has been prepared consistent with the Victorian State Government guidelines.

CoVID-19 Vaccination Status

Employee Vaccination Status

From the very beginning, we understood the importance of vaccinations to help minimise the risks from CoVID-19, as such we encourages our team to get vaccinated and protect themselves from infection.  As at October 22, 2021 100% of our team have received both their first and second CoVID-19 vaccination.

We also maintain a register of vaccinations with details for each employee, including the date of each vaccination as well as the vaccination they received. This will help should the need for booster shots be required.

Due to the private and confidential nature of the each workers vaccination status we have elected to rely on the Service Victoria App as the method of validation of worker vaccination using their CoVID-19 Digital Certificate.

Risk & Hazard Analysis

Prior to developing a Safe Work Method Statement ("SWMS"), you need to conduct a Job Hazard Analysis ("JHA"). By completing a JHA you can identify the inherent risks in undertaking the work. Once these risks have been identified you can then create a Safe Work Method Statement. Infection prevention and control is somewhat unique so we are currently working on a new JHA template for our team.

Safe Work Method Statements

Despite not having a JHA yet, we have developed a template that can be used as the basis for a Safe Work Method Statement ("SWMS") for Infection Prevention & Control. The SWMS is available to our teams now and will be published online for you to review. As part of preparing the SWMS, we also identified that we also need a tool to help us quantify exposure risk, so we created this tool for our team which you can see below.

Infection Exposure Risk Calculator

Infection Exposure Risk Calculator Version 2

To help manage risk, we have created our own Infection Exposure Risk Calculator to help provide guidance on the adoption and application of risk control measures consistent with the principles of the hierarchy of controls.

The Infection Exposure Risk Calculator may be used to help inform us in regard to the application of a Exposure Risk Job Hazard Analysis, Safe Work Method Statements and the hierarchy of controls.

Toolbox Talks

A toolbox talk is a short safety talk, normally delivered at the workplace (not a training room) and on a specific subject matter. It should be short ( 5 – 10 minutes) and to the point with a specific safety message. The objective is to raise awareness of a particular aspect of the work but to do it on a regular basis so that the good safety message is reinforced.

In relation to infection prevention and control, we have developed a number of short videos covering the following subjects;

  • Personal Protective Equipment ("PPE")
  • Infection Prevention
  • Social Distancing
  • Self-isolation vs Quarantine
  • Exposure Risk Job Hazard Analysis
  • Exposure Risk Safe Work Method Statement
  • Exposure Risk Calculator

Our service changes during a pandemic

 

Status Service Comment Updated
Employee Vaccinations Firewize employees work on the front line of the CoVID-19 response. Our team understand that the advice from medical professionals is the best way to help prevent the spread and of the virus and to reduce the effect of infection is to get vaccinated.
As at this time, over 100% of our team have received their first dose and over 100% have received their second dose.
26/10/2021
Routine Service During the CoVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented changes in the delivery of our essential fire safety maintenance services. Practically we have are following Government mandated precautions as well as providing disposable face masks or reusable face masks for all employees, and in certain circumstances fitted N95 face masks. We have also advised our team to limit all unnecessary face-to-face contact between team members. We are also instructing our team to minimise contact with our customers and the public, consistent with government requirements restrictions. Lastly we have also instructed our team to minimise exposure to the public and other workers in confined spaces such as lifts and small rooms. The greatest risk we have observed seems to be where workers are in close proximity to others in lifts, lift lobbies, etc. 19/10/2021
Emergency Repairs Due to the nature of our work, and consistent with our Employee Wellbeing and Business Continuity Plan and the Firewize CoVID-19 Safe Work Plan we have changed our business services to ensure we can respond to emergency repairs. This includes the use of all necessary Personal Protective Equipment ("PPE") that may be required. 11/8/2021
Minor Works Our minor works team carry out minor alterations and additions to fire safety systems and equipment. During a pandemic, we can carry out some critical minor works however we where possible, we are asking our customers to prioritise these activities to a later date. Small-scale construction will be limited to a maximum of five people onsite. Firewize will review each project with our customers to determine how these limitations will apply. 11/8/2021
Capital Projects

Existing capital works projects (building works) have had significant limitations placed on them. For major construction sites, that means the absolute minimum required for safety for the site to keep operating — but no more than 25 percent of the normal workforce onsite. A "HIGH RISK CoVIDSafe Work Plan" is also required for each large scale project.

Small-scale construction will be limited to a maximum of five people onsite. Firewize will review each project with our customers to determine how these limitations will apply.

11/8/2021
Online Store The Firewize Online Store is open and subject to the ongoing availability of stock and transport we are shipping products as normal. Notwithstanding our shipping partners including Australia Post and Direct Freight have advised that there are currently extended delivery delays for standard shipping options due to state and territory border restrictions as well as exposure sites across the logistics network. 24/10/2021
Supply Chain Our vendors are currently advising us they remain open for orders however they are experiencing extended delays in the distribution of product due to the handling, transportation and self-isolation. Most manufacturers produce fire safety systems and equipment such as batteries, fire detectors, cable, fire sprinkler heads, pipe fittings and portable fire extinguishers are manufactured in locations such as China, Europe and the United States. This has (in the medium term) led to extended delays in the supply of some products. 11/8/2021
Procurement
  1. Australia is experiencing delays and increased costs on freight & handling of goods within Australia and goods being imported into Australia. This will likely cause delays in procurement and increased costs.
  2. The cost of metals such as steel, tin, lead and copper are affecting the cost of products derived from these raw materials. This is impacting costs associated with electrical equipment including emergency warning systems, fire detection systems, automatic fire sprinkler systems, fire hydrant & hose reel systems, and portable fire extinguishers and batteries.
  3. There is a global shortage of capacity for the production of microprocessors and other electronic equipment. Some of our suppliers have advised there may be delays in the availability of some products including fire panels, printed circuit boards and other electronic components. We have been advised by one manufacture that due to this, they have ceased production one one of the product lines.
  4. Industrial instruments such as awards and enterprise agreements are subject to change commencing the Oct-Dec quarter. This is leading to an increase in some award conditions which is reflected in labour service items.
22/10/2021