Firearm use under review after council worker shoots vehicle

AN INVESTIGATION is under way after a council worker accidentally fired a shot into a council van.

A source told The Chronicle he was concerned the incident was a "serious safety breach" which called into question the Toowoomba Regional Council's current weapons policy and training procedures.

"While Toowoomba Regional Council pest management staff were undertaking deer culling operations at Cressbrook Dam, there was an accidental discharge of a firearm, a .308 calibre Remington rifle," the source said.

"They put a hole through the front mud guard of the vehicle. They shot the vehicle.

"From there, they've sent it through to internal council fleet to be sent off to be repaired. As I understand there was no report made, no notification made to the WHS division."

The source said one of the workers involved was the Toowoomba Regional Council's weapons nominee and another council worker was in the vehicle when it was shot.

"Where I have serious concerns is the safety component as regards to accidental discharges... (they) shouldn't happen."

"Whether that's a breakdown in training for staff, I'm not sure."

Toowoomba Regional Council general manager (environment and community services) Nick Hauser said the council was reviewing safety protocols around the use of firearms after the incident.

"An error in judgment by an officer saw a bullet pass through the bonnet of a council vehicle," Mr Hauser said.

"Council's safety protocols were being observed when the incident occurred during routine feral animal control operations."

He confirmed the incident happened at 6pm on Wednesday, April 15, and said it was reported the next day.

"The incident was logged and reported at 6am on April 16 and an incident/hazard report was filed as required by the officer and his supervisor.

"The incident/hazard report and its recommendations were reviewed and signed-off by me in line with the council's procedures.

"The recommendations included a refresher course in firearms training for the officer involved and the development of a standard operating procedure for use of firearms."

A Workplace Health and Safety spokesperson said the incident (as described) was not notifiable to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

"However, WHSQ has requested a copy of the incident investigation report from Toowoomba Regional Council for review."



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