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by the NFCC

Control measure

Safe system of work: Reduced visibility

Control measure knowledge

Working in reduced visibility may require: 

  • Lighting the scene 
  • Illuminating the hazard 
  • Illuminating personnel 
  • Appointing additional safety officers
  • Establishing physical barriers

Making a detailed inspection of the scene of operations may be beneficial if visibility is likely to reduce. 

Generators used for lighting may produce toxic fumes creating irrespirable atmospheres. The impact of fumes and noise produced by generators should be considered when positioning them. Battery powered lighting may be more appropriate in certain situations.  

Lighting may need to be suitable for use in explosive atmospheres. Even if the scene to be lit has been assessed using gas monitoring equipment and does not contain flammable gases, pockets of gas could still be released once operations have commenced. 

The heat generated by lighting should be considered when working in enclosed spaces or near flammable materials. Using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or low heat output lighting systems may be more suitable.

It may be possible to use physical barriers to define routes and indicate the presence of hazards when it is necessary for personnel to work in reduced visibility.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Provide personnel with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and equipment for operating in reduced visibility

  • Provide appropriate scene lighting equipment

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Review the tactical plan as visibility changes

  • Request sufficient lighting of an appropriate type for working in reduced visibility

  • Review the area before visibility reduces

  • Consider using physical barriers to define routes and indicate the presence of hazards in reduced visibility
  • Deploy additional safety officers to take into account the reduced visibility

  • Provide lighting to illuminate routes and hazards in reduced visibility

  • Ensure generators being used to provide lighting are located in an appropriate position to reduce the impact of noise and fumes