• Scheduled Extinguishing Agents in Mining - do you require a license?

    The hazardous nature of most mining operations, coupled with the remoteness of many mine sites, means that site operators must exercise the highest levels of care with regard to fire protection in order to safeguard lives, mining equipment, property and the environment.

  • Scheduled Agents Used in Building Sector

    The importance of fire protection in the building industry relies heavily on correct procedures and proper maintenance of fire protection equipment such as gaseous fire suppression systems

  • Scheduled Agents used in Aviation Sector

    Fire is a major safety hazard for civil, commercial and military aircraft. In Australia, the potential fire zones of modern multi-engine aircraft are protected by fixed fire protection systems. A fire zone is an area, or region, of an aircraft designed by the manufacturer to require fire detection and/or fire extinguishing equipment and a high degree of inherent fire resistance.

  • Scheduled Agents Used in Marine Sector

    The importance of safety at sea relies on correct fire protection procedures and proper maintenance of fire protection equipment such as gaseous fire suppression systems. 

  • Halon Collection Campaign

    The Halon Collection Campaign will be actively promoting the recovery of halon by working through targeted industries and public.The halon campaign will rely heavily on the support and involvement of the key stakeholders to ensure that when the community returns the fire extinguisher, this can be easily facilitated.

The Fire Protection Industry (ODS & SGG) Board

The Fire Protection Industry (ODS & SGG) Board (the Board) administers the fire protection division of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Regulations 1995 (the Regulations) on behalf of the Australian Government.

Functions of the Board include:

  • Identification, promotion, and support of 'best practice' activities throughout the fire protection industry.
  • Management of the permit and licensing system to ensure applicants meet minimum standards of competency prior to granting of Extinguishing Agent Handling Licences (EAHL) and Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisations (EATA).
  • Implementation of effective communication and consultation with the fire protection industry to encourage and facilitate regulatory compliance.
  • Development and distribution of ozone depleting substance and synthetic greenhouse gas (ODS & SGG) learning and assessment resources to support those working in the fire protection industry.
  • Undertaking review and audit activities to ensure fire protection industry compliance with the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act).       

Recent News

Worker Permit required for work during stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne  

5 AUGUST 2020

The Victorian Government has introduced a permit system for Melbourne - effective 11.59pm on Wednesday, 5 August, 2020 - for workers travelling to their workplace. From 11.59pm on Wednesday night, workplaces in Melbourne must be closed unless:  

  • the workplace is part of a permitted activity, or
  • all employees are working from home.  

Employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a signed worker permit for their employees.  This is the employer's responsibility.  

Employees working in permitted industries who cannot work from home, will be required to carry the worker permit when they travel to their workplace.  

Eligibility:

Employers can issue a worker permit to their employee if:  

  • the organisation is on the list of permitted activities; 
  • the employee is working in an approved category for on-site work; and 
  • the employee cannot work from home.  

In rare circumstances an employee does not need a worker permit. This includes:   

  • if an employee is at risk at home, such as at risk of family violence; and 
  • law enforcement, emergency services workers or health workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer.  

An employee must not use a worker permit, even if they have been issued one, if:  

  • they test positive to coronavirus (COVID-19) and are required to self-isolate; or  
  • they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

Penalties

Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.

There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the scheme requirements. This includes employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

New COVID-19 restrictions put in place for Victoria

4 AUGUST 2020

The Victorian Government has introduced further restrictions in light of a second wave of the Coronavirus. Metropolitan Melbourne now has stage 4 restrictions, while regional Victoria is on stage 3 restrictions. Residents in Australia's second biggest city are under curfew between 8pm and 5am and must wear a face covering whenever they leave home. Many businesses are closed or restricted in what they can do. 

All Victorians are required to work from home, except where this is not practicable, while sole operators can continue to operate if they do not have contact with the public, or with people other than those persons living in their primary household. Thankfully, fire protection appears still to be a permitted industry under the  Directions of Victoria's Chief Health Officer.  

All businesses in Victoria must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place by Friday, 7 August, 2020. This may be a good resource for practitioners in other states as well - for help see:  

COVID-19 Plan [PDF 140 KB]

COVID-19 Plan [DOCX 140 KB]

What type of work is still permitted under stage 4 restrictions in Victoria?

Large scale construction

For any building construction project of more than three storeys (excluding basement), a maximum of 25% of normal employee numbers is allowed on site. The project must have a High-Risk  COVIDSafe Plan in place and must demonstrate that shifts are not being blended and workers are only working at one site throughout the period. The installation of fire safety systems would be included in this work.  

Small scale construction

Any building construction project of three storeys or less (excluding basement) can have a maximum of five workers (including supervisors). The project must have a Universal  COVIDSafe Plan in place and must demonstrate that shifts are not being blended and workers are only working at one site throughout the period. The installation of fire safety systems would be included in this work.  

State and state civil construction

Government projects (including time critical new school builds) are exempt from reduction targets but will be required to implement a High-Risk  COVIDSafe Plan. 

Routine Service

Ancillary and support businesses are able to open on-site to ensure the necessary production, supply, manufacture, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. The business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose. 

In addition, residential and commercial services that were booked before 5pm 3 August and are scheduled to be carried out before 5pm 17 August, that are essential to well-being or livelihood, will be permitted.

Other important information 

Construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support these projects is allowed with a  COVIDSafe Plan in place. Critical repairs to residential premises are allowed, where required for emergency or safety, so if you repair fire safety systems your work is still permitted. 

Emergency services, including bushfire prevention, and management, including relief services, are to continue. 

John Nightingale joins the Industry Advisory Body

27 JULY 2020

John Nightingale

John Nightingale has been formally appointed to the Fire Protection Industry (ODS and SGG) Board's (FPIB) Industry Advisory Body (IAB). John currently works for Wormald as a special hazards marine technician and brings a wealth of industry experience to the IAB.

Having fulfilled roles for the Royal Australian Navy (marine technical engineer), SAI Global (Test Station Signatory and Test Station Manager), BCF (cylinder filling and testing) and the National Halon Bank (helping set it up in its formative years), John displays a tremendously diverse skill set that FPIB is eager to utilise.

Importantly, John has extensive experience handling various synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) and ozone depleting substances (ODS) across a range of applications. 

The Board welcomes John and we look forward to working closely with him.

Sydney Metro opts for IG-55    

3 JULY 2020

Do you want to find out why Australia's largest public transport infrastructure project decided to move away from traditional scheduled extinguishing agents in favour of an inert gas?

Head to our Technology Corner to discover what inspired Sydney Metro's decision to use IG-55 in the suppression system at their Rouse Hill control room.

New penalty increase for offences under the Ozone Act and Regulations

30 JUNE 2020

The penalties for offences under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act 1989 (the Act) and the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995  (the Regulations) will increase from 1 July 2020.

Under most Commonwealth laws, financial penalties are expressed in terms of 'penalty units' instead of dollar figures. On 1 July 2020, the value of a penalty unit will increase from $210 to $222.

The change is the result of the automatic indexation of the penalty unit amount under Section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). The increase is designed to ensure that the real value of a penalty unit is maintained. This increase applies to all offences under the Act and Regulations.To learn more about these changes, please refer to the June edition of GasBag

Together we can improve training courses 

24 APRIL 2020

The Fire Protection Industry Board wants to improve training courses for those new to the fire protection industry and those needing additional units of competency. To do this, we need your feedback! If you have completed a training course over the past three years and would like to share your experience with us, you can simply click this link where you will find several questions relating to your training.

HFC quota reduction    

15 FEBRUARY 2020

Australia is gradually reducing the annual import quota on bulk hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) every two years, starting 1 January 2020.The annual import quota will reduce from 8 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent  (CO2-e) for calendar years 2018 and 2019 to 7.25 million tonnes  CO2-e annually for 2020 and 2021.HFCs will continue to be widely available in the short term. 

For more information, please visit  www.environment.gov.au/protection/ozone/hfc-phase-down.

Regulatory amendments   

10 JANUARY 2020

Changes to the  Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995   came into effect on 1 January 2020.  The key changes are: 

  • Charging of fire protection equipment with a scheduled substance that has a higher global warming potential than the equipment was designed to use is banned.
  • Permits can be cancelled or suspended if a permit holder does not have the necessary knowledge, ability and experience to competently carry out work.

  • Application fees can be refunded, subject to certain conditions.

  • Licences can be granted to import equipment using bulk HCFC for test, monitoring, laboratory and analytical purposes where no practical alternative exists.

  • Bulk HCFC can only be used to maintain existing fire protection equipment (manufactured or imported before 1 January 2020).      

2020 permit fees

1 JANUARY 2020

The  Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Regulations 1995  (Regulation 346) provides for the annual indexation of permit application fees.  Consistent with the Wage Price Index figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in November 2019, fire protection permit application fees will increase by 2.231 per cent from 1 January 2020. The following table shows the permit fees and durations for 2019 and 2020.

 Permit type Duration 2019 application fees 2020 application fees
 Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence -
 Qualified Persons
3 years $429 $438
 Extinguishing Agent Handling Licence -
 Experienced Persons
3 years $429 $438
 Extinguishing Agent Trainee Licence 1 year $143 $146
 Extinguishing Agent Trading Authorisation 3 years $720 $735
 Halon Special Permit 3 years $858 $876