Australian Surf Life Saving is the peak body for all surf lifesavers and surf lifesaving clubs around Australia. Its role includes the implementation, review and ongoing management of surf lifesaving initiatives, safety, education and training.
I believe this site is a an invaluable resource for Riley and others to utilise to keep up to date with the latest safety information, guidelines and initiatives in his field. The site not only emails it's members with the most upto date advice, it provides industry links, up-to-date safety information, event updates, valuable statistics, risk management policies, newsletters and education and training seminar dates. This website is a valuable tool for all lifesavers and should be regularly checked to stay informed with current events and safety initiatives.
SLSA is proud to release the first version of its online beach safety portal. Visitors to the site can access detailed information about Australia's 11726 beaches including weather and forecast's, tide, swell, service patrol periods, Lifesaving Clubs, regulatory and hazard information. Click to learn more.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
Rip currents are the number one hazard on Australian beaches being responsible for at least 21 drownings on average per year, as well as being responsible for the cause of many more rescues. Rips are a constant battle for Riley and other lifesavers who put their lives on the line to rescue distressed and panicked victims often caught in rip currents. Lifesavers are well trained in identifying rips and often educate the community about them. It is important that swimmers only swim between the red and yellow flags to avoid getting caught in a rip current and putting not only their own life at risk but those of our volunteer lifesavers, such as Riley.
THE Australian Surf Life Saving Championships, which begin this week, could be considered the safest in history, largely due to the legacy left by Matt Barclay.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
In the past few years Surf Life Saving has seen the tragic deaths of three young competitors competing at the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships on the Gold Coast.
This year the annual event was held in Perth and included the introduction of compulsory high-visibility pink Lycra vests and the presence of an on-site risk manager who can assess the suitability of competition conditions and have the authority to suspend an event on the spot are now a permanent inclusion in the event. "You can't remove risk entirely from this sport," Mr Hight said. "We are working in a change able dynamic aquatic environment. "It's about educating members about the risks. If we can build a collective culture of risk management and make good decisions, then plans and equipment become a structure of that which is really underpinned by safety."
It is important that Surf Life Saving Australia can protect the safety of Riley and all those competing at its events. These new risk management measures promote a greater culture of safety within the organisation and are a legacy to those tragically lost.
Darren is a father of two and a former local scuba diving instructor. Darren began scuba diving in his late teens and his love of the ocean grew. When Darren was 22 he began working on fishing trawlers however, it wasn’t until he was 25 he realised his desire to become a scuba diving instructor. Darren then became a fully qualified dive instructor and took up a full time position with a local dive company here in Bundaberg. Darren said he loved that each day was different and that he got to interact with many different people on a regular basis. He maintained that safety was a top priority not only for himself but for all the people in his care. Language barriers often had to be overcome in order to make sure everyone was aware of their safety responsibilities. Darren has since left his job to pursue other career options but still enjoys scuba diving on a regular basis.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
Common hazards and risks Darren faced on a daily basis include but are not limited to the following:
HYPERTHERMIA AND HYPOTERMIA: Exposure to cold conditions in which the heat loss from the body is greater than the heat production results in the body temperature falling and the diver experiencing hypothermia. Hypothermia side effects can include, rapid uncontrollable breathing, un-coordination and respiratory problems and may prove fatal for divers.
OXYGEN POISONING: Too much oxygen in the body can arise with increasing pressure can be detrimental to the diver. Symptoms of oxygen poisoning include, tingling of fingers and toes, visual disturbance, hallucination, confusion, muscle tension, vertigo, nausea and convulsions.
MARINE CREATURES: Sharks, stingers, jellyfish and other marine creatures pose a threat to divers. Divers may be bitten or stung by marine creatures resulting in severe injuries and possible allergic reactions.
INFECTION AND CROSS-CONTAMINATION: Divers are exposed to a number of pathogenic organisms when in contact with water. Water borne pathogens may enter the body through damaged skin, eyes, ears, mouths and noses and may result in the ingestion of polluted water causing the diver to be at risk of hepatitis, typhoid and other gastrointestinal diseases. Cross-contamination may also occur through the common use of equipment and diving apparatuses.
BAROTRAUMA: Occurs when divers descent too rapidly and are unable to equalise. This results in severe pain and injury in the middle ear for the diver.
DECOMPRESSION SICKNESS: This occurs when divers absorb more nitrogen in their body tissue due to increased underwater pressure. When pressure is unexpectedly reduced, the nitrogen forms damaging bubbles in the blood stream which can result in aching joints, skin rashes, paralysis and death.
DROWNING: The ever changing nature of the sea poses hazardous conditions for divers. The sea coupled with diving equipment and breathing apparatuses may cause to become disoriented and possibly drown. To avoid this divers must ensure they are strong swimmers and physically fit enough to handle the demands of scuba diving.
Lucy began her culinary apprenticeship after two years of travelling throughout Europe. She has a passion for food and thought what better way to share it with others. She began working on the Sunshine Coast before heading north to Bundaberg where she joined a local café, specialising in fresh vegetarian food. Lucy enjoys the fast paced nature of the food industry and maintains she likes spreading healthy eating habits throughout the community. Lucy mentioned that she is the workplace health and safety officer and takes great pride in this role educating other employees about potential risks and hazards in the workplace.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
Common hazards Lucy faces on a daily basis include but are not limited to the following:
BURNS: Burns are common injuries in the food industry and result from hot liquids, surfaces or steam. Chefs are at risk from burns and scalds when cooking food or removing food from elements such as ovens, deep fryers, stoves and grillers.
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND APPLIANCES: Electric equipment is widely used in restaurants and cafes. Frequent, long term use or use other than that intended by the manufacturer can make electrical equipment unsafe and cause serious injury such as burns, electric shock, eye damage and memory loss
HEAT STRESS: working in hot conditions such as kitchens, can lead to heat stress, especially if there is a low level of air movement or poor ventilation. Heat related injuries and illnesses such as headaches, weakness, nausea and vomiting can occur in hot conditions.
KNIVES AND SHARP TOOLS: Cuts from knives and sharp instruments are common in the food industry. Chefs must be trained to use knives are sharp tools safely to avoid cuts and abrasions. Another common injury for chefs is repetitive strain injuries from continuous repetitive actions. This can result in surgery and prolonged periods away from the workplace.
INDUSTRIAL NOISE: Gas stoves, coffee grinders, chopping and cutting of meat or bones, amplified music systems and patrons talking are examples noise hazards within the food industry. It is common for chefs to have impaired hearing from exposure to hazards such as these. Noise can permanently damage hearing and affect health in other ways, such as increase blood pressure, heart rate and stress. It can also affect morale and concentration levels which may lead to incidents.
SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS: Poor housekeeping practices such as, spilt water or oil often result in slips, trips and falls in restaurants and cafes. The inappropriate placement or storage of materials in passageways can also lead to an increase in the likelihood of an incident.
Luke works part-time at a local club in town. Luke loves interacting with patrons and takes great pride in providing them with excellent customer service and a killer cosmopolitan. Luke deals with hazards on a regular basis and these can include environmental, chemical and physical hazards. Luke’s workplace maintains a high level of occupational health and safety and trains all staff thoroughly in safety protocols.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
Luke finds himself exposed to numerous risks and hazards with every shift. Some of the daily hazards Luke faces include but are not limited to:
SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS: Patrons spilling drinks is a major issue for many clubs and pubs. Not only are staff exposed to a greater risk of slipping, so too are patrons. Poor housekeeping practices and incorrect warning signs to indicate spillages can lead to increased incidents.
INDUSTRIAL NOISE: Exposure to loud excess noise on a busy night, from the band or DJ can result in hearing loss for employees and patrons. Exposure to noise for prolonged periods of time on a regular basis can result in permanent loss of hearing leading to deafness.
CHEMICALS: Staff are required to flush and clean beer lines using toxic chemicals in order to break down and remove any build-up in the lines. Staff are exposed to toxic fumes and these same chemicals may result in severe skin reactions. Patrons may become exposed to these toxic chemicals if staff perform this process incorrectly. Staff are also required to clean at the end of their shifts exposing them to numerous cleaning chemicals. Staff must be properly trained and appropriate personal protective equipment applied to avoid chemical hazards.
BIOLOGICAL HAZARDS: Intoxicated patrons may produce some form of bodily fluids e.g. vomit. Often bar staff are required to clean and sanitise the affected area exposing themselves to possible disease and illness as a result.
VIOLENT AND INTOXICATED PATRONS: Intoxicated patrons may become disgruntled for many reasons. Often staff have to refuse service to intoxicated patrons which in turn, increases the chances of staff getting both verbally and physically abused and threatened.
There is a lot Riley needs to be trained and qualified in, to keep himself and the community safe from harm. The Australian Government document, published in 2008 titled Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water.
The primary purpose of these guidelines is to protect the health of humans from threats posed by the recreational use of coastal, estuarine and fresh waters. Threats may include natural hazards such as surf, rip currents and aquatic organisms.
The recommendation is that the guidelines should be used to ensure that recreational water environments are managed as safely as possible so that as many people as possible can benefit from using the water.
It didn't matter what friend or family member I had chosen to focus this third quest on, First Aid and CPR would have been a risk management and prevention guidance Scoop applicable to all.
As for Riley, first aid and CPR are a major factor of his profession and could be the difference between saving someone's life. Surf Life Saving is Australia's major water safety, drowning prevention and rescue authority. They aim to create a safe environment on Australia's beaches and coastline through patrols, education and training, public safety campaigns and the promotion of health and fitness. They provide all active members with regular education courses such as First Aid and CPR to ensure all members can react swiftly and correctly when facing an emergency. Common first aid issues Riley and other surf life savers deal with on the beach include: dehydration, sunburn, stings, drowning, cuts and abrasions, heat stroke, allergic reactions and choking. Knowing CPR and First Aid may not necessarily negate these risks, but correct management can prevent future harm or death.
Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia. In 2010, 11, 405 cases of melanoma were diagnosed in Australia, accounting for nearly one in ten cancer diagnoses. Melanoma risk increases with exposure to UV radiation, particularly with episodes of sunburn. Riley, along with other lifesavers are at a higher risk of developing melanomas with their increased exposure to the sun. To minimise the risk, it is important to avoid sunburn by minimising sun exposure, seeking shade, wearing protective clothing including a hat, long-sleeve shirt and sunglasses and regularly applying a SPF30+ sunscreen. It is not only important that lifesavers themselves practice these measures but educate the community in safe sun practices.
Meet Jack, one of our local plumbers. During high school Jack’s love of plumbing grew as he completed school based work experience with Baldwins Plumbing. Once Jack had completed high school he began his plumbing apprenticeship. Jack has continued his employment with a local plumbing and civil engineering company after his apprenticeship. The physical requirements of his job require Jack to maintain a high level of personal fitness and strength. Jack states that while he is a qualified plumber his occupation requires him working on projects that involve: earthworks, landscaping, civil engineering, machine operation, traffic control and construction.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
As a plumber Jack finds himself in different environmental settings with each job and with that, comes an ever changing list of hazards and risks. Common hazards Jack faces daily include but are not limited to:
SUNBURN AND HEAT STRESS: working for prolonged periods of time in the sun and in periods of high humidity often on rooftops, in trenches, pits and confined spaces increases temperature and decreases ventilation. This can lead to long term issues such as skin cancers and premature ageing.
MANUAL HANDLING: handling heavy and awkward objects for prolonged periods of time can result in musculoskeletal injuries, repetitive strain injuries, cuts, abrasions and fatigue.
SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS: environmental factors such as the weather impact on working conditions. Rainy conditions increase the likelihood of slips, trips and falls especially when working with heights.
INDUSTRIAL NOISE: constant vibration and noise from power tools being used on a construction site has been known to lead to industrial deafness and hearing loss.
WORKING WITH HEIGHTS: falls are a major cause of workplace injury and death each year. Working on roofs, installing or repairing gutters and downpipes and accessing cavities through manholes all pose potential risks of falling.
DISEASE AND INFECTION: exposure to biological hazards including raw sewage when working on sewage pipes or septic tank outlets can lead to potential disease and infection including tetanus, hepatitis A and parasites.
POWER TOOLS: the use of power tools, including electric drills, welding equipment, grinding tools, pipe cutters and hacksaws can cause injuries to hands, fingers and eyes which can lead to long periods away from work and permanent disability.
Riley volunteers his time as a surf lifesaver for our local club here in Bundaberg. Riley began surf lifesaving when he was nipper and remains an active member to this day. Riley mentioned that he joined the club for social enjoyment and to follow in the footsteps of his older siblings. However, he has enjoyed success at a competitive level representing his surf club at numerous branch, state and Australian surf lifesaving titles. Riley commented that being a life saver has allowed him to maintain a high level of physical fitness and enjoy his love of the ocean, while giving back to the community.
Caitlin Nash's insight:
Every year thousands of Australians volunteer their time and services to keep Australia’s beaches safe. Common hazards and risks Riley and other volunteer surf life savers experience on a regular basis include but are not limited to:
HEAT STRESS, FATIGUE AND DEHYDRATION: Lifesavers may be exposed to fatigue, heat stress and dehydration. Prolonged periods outdoors exposed to the sun can increase the chance of getting sunburnt which may lead to skin cancer. Chronic sun exposure and looking at glare from the ocean can irritate the eyes. Lifesavers must stay well hydrated, wear the correct uniform, apply and reapply sunscreen and remain in the shade or undercover where possible to avoid heat related issues.
STRESS AND TRAUMA: Lifesaving involves high risk situations, such as ocean rescues and the treatment of injuries. Such incidents require lifesavers to respond quickly putting them under pressure both physically and mentally. Lifesavers can suffer psychologically after the event of a rescue and may require counselling and support to deal with such traumatic issues.
DISEASE AND ILLNESS: Lifesavers may be required to provide first aid. Treating injuries may result in exposure to disease or illness. Blood borne diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and tuberculosis pose major risks to lifesavers. It is important that lifesavers use protective equipment such as latex gloves and face masks and avoid direct contact with blood, wounds and bodily fluids.
DROWNING: Exposure to rips, big waves, rough swell and debris increases the likelihood of drowning for lifesavers. To ensure they are in the best position to face such conditions lifesavers must maintain a high level of physical fitness.
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