Merseyside bans physical training for firefighters

Firefighters from Merseyside have been banned from any form of physical training to keep them fit for their job after an injured employee won £100,000 in damages.

The ban was imposed by Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service after former firefighter Gavin Bassie slipped during a training exercise and tore the ligaments in his left knee. Bassie said his 13-year career in the fire service was ruined after damaging his leg from running at the service base.

As a result, fire service staff have now been told: “All forms of running as part of physical training will continue to be prohibited for all service personnel until further notice.”

The fire service appealed against the judgment by Liverpool County Court to award Bassie compensation but were unsuccessful.

Union officials have labelled the ban as “ludicrous”. Les Skarrats, secretary of the Merseyside branch of the Fire Brigades Union,  said: “If you are not fit the entire basis of your job as a firefighter is at risk. We have physical training instructors who conduct regular sessions. They should be making sure the workplaces are safe, not banning running.”

Fire crews in Liverpool work 12-hour shifts, of which 45 minutes are set aside for exercise.

A spokesman for the Merseyside said the ban did not apply to crews rushing to respond to an emergency. The spokesman added: “This is a temporary ban and we hope to be able to issue some form of good practice guidance soon.”

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