The FBU’s report ‘Minimising firefighters’ exposure to toxic effluents’ states that many of the substances firefighters are exposed to are classified as human carcinogens. In addition, the occurrence of disease and cancer are higher than expected amongst firefighters compared to the general population. How can you reassure firefighters that their health and safety are being prioritised and their wellbeing matters?
The health, safety and wellbeing of staff is a priority for London Fire Brigade (LFB). LFB Officers have been working with colleagues in academia and other fire and rescue services internationally to better understand the risks to staff from workplace exposure to carcinogens. LFB has been operating a range of practical control measures to minimise the risks to firefighters from workplace carcinogens for many years. This includes: operational policy with regard to the use of respiratory protective equipment and firefighter decontamination; promoting regular changing of structural firefighting clothing; the provision of staff welfare facilities including showers; and actively monitoring known carcinogens in Brigade workplaces, for example workplace surveys of diesel exhaust emissions.