Fines issued in fire protection industry for breaches of ozone protection laws
13 SEPTEMBER 2021
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has issued three infringement notices for non-compliance within the fire protection industry for breaching regulations under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989.
A Queensland company was fined for engaging an unlicensed technician to undertake fire protection work, resulting in the discharge of the regulated fire extinguishing agent and synthetic greenhouse gas, HFC-227ea.
The unlicensed technician was allowed to work on the fire suppression system of a tugboat leading to the release of 247 kg of HFC-227ea into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to over 795 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
To read up on more details relating to these penalties, please refer to our latest GasBag newsletter.
Verifying dual licensing in Queensland
17 AUGUST 2021
The FPIB is encouraging fire protection end users in Queensland to verify the qualifications of their contractors if they are installing or replacing fire suppression systems containing or connected to scheduled extinguishing substances.
While a special hazard fire system licence is recognised under the Queensland system, technicians in the state holding this licence are not exempt from the national Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme.
If you are a technician or fire protection company based in Queensland and the opportunity arises, we would encourage you to educate your fellow industry professionals about the important requirement to hold dual licences.
This same message should also be extended to industries that rely on fire protection professionals such as building, mining, boating etc. Companies that fall under these industries in Queensland should verify that their fire protection contractors hold a national licence if they are required to handle scheduled extinguishing agents on site.
This can be done quickly by calling the FPIB on 03 8892 3183
Ozone layer on the road to recovery, but further research and monitoring needed
2 AUGUST 2021
For the first time since 2017, a group of leading ozone experts from around the world have come together for a five-day virtual meeting to discuss the changing impacts of climate change and the role that ozone depleting substances (ODS) and synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) play in this.
According to the Ozone Research Managers (ORM), the stratospheric ozone layer is on the way to recovery thanks to actions taken under the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The research presented during the meeting of the ORM only serves to reinforce the valuable role that the Fire Protection Industry Permit Scheme plays in helping to reduce Australia’s emissions of scheduled extinguishing agents.
Although we are only one nation among many doing our part to prevent further damage to the ozone layer and reduce global warming through legislative measures, our contribution is still making a difference to the collective effort. With this in mind, it is important that fire protection companies and individual technicians continue to demonstrate compliance with the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Regulations 1995.
Requirement to submit quarterly usage reports on time
20 JULY 2021
Extinguishing agent trading authorisation holders (EATA) are required to keep up-to-date records showing the amounts of extinguishing agent acquired, disposed of, and recovered from equipment during each quarter.
It’s a condition of holding an EATA that quarterly usage reports are supplied within 14 days of receiving a request from the FPIB to do so.
To make this process more efficient, we suggest that if you hold an EATA, you put a reminder in your calendar before the close of each quarter to supply your usage report to the FPIB inside the 14 days following that quarter’s completion.
New training facility opens its doors
15 JUNE 2021
On 30 April 2021, the ribbon was officially cut on the Barry Lee Training Room within the NSW Emergency Services Academy. The new facility was a joint collaboration between Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).
It is the first of its kind in Australia – a dedicated room that showcases a range of equipment covering both wet and dry fire systems. The room is designed for practical training on how to perform work on fixed gaseous suppression systems, including installing and routine servicing in line with AS 1851. At the moment, FPAA uses this room to deliver face to face training for a licence type 3 Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence.
Click here to take a fully interactive peek inside the Barry Lee Training Room.
Other registered training organisations that deliver relevant fire protection training modules include:
Fire Industry Training (FIT)
Think carefully before importing ODS & SGG from overseas without a valid licence
7 JUNE 2021
Scheduled extinguishing agents are available for purchase from overseas, sometimes at a much cheaper price than in the Australian market. However, they could end up costing more in the long run.
A licence is required to import scheduled extinguishing agents, either in bulk form or in equipment. Import without a licence is an offence under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989, and carries high penalties (see example below).
Also, scheduled extinguishing agents are designed to standards relevant to the country in which they were developed. This could mean products purchased from overseas may not be approved for use in Australia.
Take the time to improve compliance at your worksite
20 MAY 2021
Completing the FPIB’s self-assessment checklist is an easy way to ensure your company is meeting the conditions of your licence/permit/authorisation and complying with the Regulations.
The checklists for an extinguishing agent handling licence, extinguishing agent trading authorisation, and halon special permit can be found here. They can be completed on your desktop or printed out and filled in manually.
Free ODS & SGG warning stickers available upon request
5 MAY 2021
The FPIB is still offering our warning stickers for scheduled extinguishing substances. Two types of stickers are available – one for fire panels and the other for containers. Pop these stickers on your fire panels and containers to help prevent accidental discharges of scheduled extinguishing substances.
To place an order, simply email email@example.com stating which type of sticker you require and how many units specifically and we will mail these to your preferred address, free of charge.
FPIB launches Alternative Technology Recognition Program
2 MARCH 2021
The FPIB is pleased to advise that nominations are now open for the newly created Alternative Technology Recognition Program. The program aims to recognise businesses that have transitioned away from using scheduled extinguishing substances (ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases) in favour of cleaner alternatives. The program extends to decommissioning a system that used a scheduled substance.
Updated Good Practice Guide now available
8 FEBRUARY 2021
The FPIB has updated its Good Practice Guide – a useful resource for fire technicians and companies seeking best practice advice when it comes to the use of scheduled agents in gaseous fire suppression systems and portable extinguishers. The updated guide provides greater clarity around the definitions of what is legally required of fire technicians and companies, compared to what is considered purely best practice. You can download a copy of the updated version here.
Stronger penalties in place for breaching permit conditions
4 SEPTEMBER 2020
From 19 August 2020, it is a criminal offence under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995 to breach any condition of your fire protection industry permit. Individuals who are found guilty of the new offence can be fined a maximum of $2,220. Corporations that are found guilty face a stiffer penalty of up to $11,100. In the past, if you breached a condition of your permit, you could have your permit cancelled or suspended, or be denied a renewal of your permit.
This can still happen now, in addition to being fined. The new offences are ‘strict liability offences’. This means fines can be applied without proof that you intended to breach permit conditions.
To read the new offence provisions in full, view: www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020L01029