Fire Response and Readiness and Pest Animal and Weed Management Workshops

By on May 5, 2019

GAVIN MOREIRA, Member Services Manager for CMPA reports on the successful day recently held in the North East area of Victoria for CMPA members.

On 22nd February 2019 the CMPA held two workshops to develop two Templates / Guidelines on Fire Response and Readiness and Pest Animal and Weed Management Plans. These will enable Members to gain an understanding of how to manage fire and pest animals and weeds on and surrounding your sites, ensuring you are compliant with legislation in addition to assisting with work plan applications.

The day commenced at the Gateway Hotel in Wangaratta with about 20 CMPA members and others in attendance. The first presentation was a joint one made by Wes Douglas, Regional Manager Gippsland, Mine Fire & Emergency for Earth Resources Regulation Victoria Department Jobs, Precincts and Regions and Kevin Hayes, Manager Earth Resource Program Hazardous Industries & Industry Practice for WorkSafe Victoria.

PHOTO: Wes Douglas (ERR) and Kevin Hayes (WorkSafe Victoria), presenting during the Fire Response and Readiness Management Workshop.

They focused on the concept of working together in regulating the extractive industry and looked at the regulatory responsibilities of business owners to ensure a safe, stable and sustainable site for all concerned. Key questions posed to attendees included:

  • What are your fire risks onsite?
  • What internal ignitions and or combustion sources do you have onsite?
  • What controls do you have in place?
  • When do you shut down the site?
  • Do you have a plan in place when bush or grass fires occur near your quarry?
  • Can you defend your property, or do you need to evacuate?

Next up was Stewart Kreltszheim, Operations Manager / Officer in Charge CFA District 23/ Hume Region – Fire and Emergency Management. He spoke to the group in the form of different scenarios that could occur in or around the quarry (fixed and mobile plants, exhausts, electrical, hot works, vegetation, grass or bush fires). Staff need to know their surrounds, what needs to be protected, understand local risks to the area, their family, the business and the local community. Identify your risks based on the fire danger rating, know what the fire is going to do in relation to your site.

Are your staff trained and assigned tasks in case of a fire on or surrounding the site?

A worker’s lunch brought opportunities to network with fellow members and to discuss what had been learned during the morning’s presentations.

After lunch was the Pest Animal and Weed Management workshop beginning with Terry Barnard, Leading Biosecurity Officer-North East Plants Chemical and Invasive Unit Biosecurity; Agriculture Services Branch for the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions presentation.

Terry focused on preventing the introduction and spread of noxious weed and the control of pest animals in Victoria. He looked at the cost-effective ways of managing the site as well as the legal responsibilities for owners and the benefits to surrounding communities of keeping them under control. Vehicle and machinery hygiene are the keys to stopping the movement of weeds. Agriculture Victoria is keen to work with and support the CMPA to help prevent the introduction and spread of pest animals and weeds.

PHOTO: Site Visit to EB Mawson & Sons – Glenrowan Quarry.

Andrew Wheelen, a weed management contractor to EB Mawson & Sons provided a technical presentation on his background and how he manages the quarries in relation to pest animals and weeds.

He also discussed the safety and administrative aspects of his role from what is the best PPE gear to wear to his method of keeping records of the weed management program. Andrew also came out on the quarry visit to talk to members.

David McKelvie from Safemix facilitated a questions and answers session at the end of each workshop to help provide headings and topics for the development of templates / guidelines. Working groups were also formed to put the documents together.

A site visit by coach was held at EB Mawson & Sons – Glenrowan Quarry to gain a practical understanding of how to respond to fires surrounding the quarry and inspect how the pest animal and weed program is managed onsite.

Thanks again to all presenters and to EB Mawson & Sons for allowing the group to visit the Glenrowan Quarry.

About Gavin Moreira

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