Family and Friends at Work
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Scooped by Rebecca Jones!

Bill - Advance Care Corresponder

Bill - Advance Care Corresponder | Family and Friends at Work |

Bill is an Advance Care Corresponder working for the PMS (Paramedical Services) in NSW. He works in rural areas throughout the state and is often on standby for rural events including motocross, rodeo and more. Bill is a one (sometimes two) man crew and drives a Toyota Landcruiser Troopcarrier; often through muddy, rough or difficult terrain. 

I am sure many OCHS11026 students will focus their scoops on the OHS risks and hazards of paramedics so I've chosen to narrow mine right down to the task of loading and unloading the 'stokes basket stretcher' from the roof of the Landcruiser. Bill has slipped and as a consequence, sustained a minor injury but has not been involved in a major OHS incident. Six months after this photo was taken however, a female Advance Care Corresponder broke her neck at this very vehicle when the person on the roof lost their footing and let the stretcher fall back onto her. It was an OHS nightmare and she has never recovered.

Rebecca Jones's insight:

I have been fortunate enough to get a hold of the JSA (Job Safety Analysis) and SOP (Safe Operating Procedure) manual for the Stokes basket stretcher. The first thing I noticed when reading through was that it states that operation 'requires two able bodied personnel minimum, one of which must have been trained in the safe removal and replacement of the roof stored stretcher unit.' The OHS red flag here is that Bill often works alone therefore, the PMS are putting his health at risk but allowing him to load and unload the stretcher outside safety guidelines.

Some of the types of injury to be cautious of when operating the stretcher include:




Head injuries

Pinch injuries

Twist/torsional soft tissue injuries

I found it interesting that the guidelines provide a disclaimer which reads, 'It is accepted that this task contains a moderate risk to personnel and equipment. The following actions would completely remove the risks associated with this task.' One of the recommendations to reduce or remove risk is to change the vehicle design to alleviate the requirement to place heavy and/or awkward objects on the roof or above shoulder level. In the 15+ years this vehicle has been operating however, this has never happened; not even after an Advance Care Corresponder broke her neck and sustained a life long injury.



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Tony - Kayak Instructor

Tony - Kayak Instructor | Family and Friends at Work |

Tony is a cross country cyclist, a triathlete, a runner, tennis player, univeristy student, father, grandfather and kayak instructor! Tony has owned and operated Sunshine Coast Kayaking since 1987 and specialises in introduction courses, half and full day sea instruction trips and guided tours for schools and youth groups.

When asked about any OHS near misses or accidents, Tony says 'No, I am a real stickler for safety, so when incidents arise I am usually prepared.' Tony has kindly provided me with his Risks Analysis and Management Manual which I will discuss further in my OHS insight.  



Rebecca Jones's insight:

This insight was handed to me on a platter by Tony who is an absolute expert in his field. First and foremost it is important to mention that Tony holds the following qualifications in order to keep himself and his clients safe from harm:

Australian Kayak Guides/Instructors/Coaching qualifications.

Current First Aid and Emergency Management Certificate.   

Current CPR Certificate

Surf Lifesaving Bronze Medallion

Surf Lifesaving Advanced Resus Certificate.

Other maritime qualifications. 

Below is an outline of the risks as well as the consequences if the former are not managed carefully. To be honest, SHARKS would have been my absolute without a doubt number one concern if I was going out on the open water in a kayak. Apparently though, they are nothing to worry about and are not mentioned in Tony's OHS Risk Analysis and Management Manual!! Here goes;  

Risk: People:


Inadequate leadership.

Unrealistic goals based on group type.

Inadequate instruction of /and attention to skills, group management rules and clothing requirements.

Non disclosure of trip intention to relevant SAR bodies.

Non disclosure of medical conditions.

Lack of water confidence of participants.

Not eating or drinking as necessary

Risk: Equipment:

Insufficient clothing relating environment.

Equipment in poor condition or not set up correctly (eg hatch covers, bungs, safety lines, buoyancy systems, paddles etc).

Insufficient safety, communications and rescue equipment.

Insufficient food and fluid.

Risk: Environment:

Temperature hot/cold


Wind strength.     



Swell and sea state (chop, wave size)

Tidal effects (littoral currents, streams, rips, waves, eddies)

Surf and shore morphology (drift, rocks, reef, broken glass, other debris etc)

Time re: weather change and daylight duration


Marine stings and bites

Insect stings and bites

Drain outlets

Other vessels


Risks: Accident, Injury and other forms of loss.

Hypothermia, drowning, physical Injury (sprains, strains, lacerations, dislocations and fractures), dehydration, sunburn, hyperthermia, separation of members from group, capsize, electric shock (lightning) group unable to return to shore or start/finish point, collision with other vessels (jet skis, yachts, boats, surf boards etc), emotional injury (fright or embarrassment) that may prevent/impinge on participation and group safety, flora and fauna based bites, stings, irritants.  

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Quest 3 - Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water

Rebecca Jones's insight:

As detailed in my Scoop Insight, there is a lot Tony needs to be trained and qualified in, to keep himself and his clients safe from harm. The attached is an Australian Government document, published in 2008 titled Guidelines for Managing 

Risks in Recreational Water. It is a comprehensive 215 page document. 


The primary aim 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, and those with an
artificial aspect, such as discharges of wastewater.


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.

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Quest 3 - Cancer Council Australia

Quest 3 - Cancer Council Australia | Family and Friends at Work |
Find out about skin cancer, including symptoms and diagnosis, causes, prevention, incidence and mortality and treatment options.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

The Scooped link is to a web page sponsored by Cancer Council Australia. It outlines the importance of awareness and prevention of melanoma. According to the information provided, 


"Every year, in Australia:

- skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers
- between 95 and 99% of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun
- GPs have over 1 million patient consultations per year for skin cancer
- the incidence of skin cancer is one of the highest in the world, two to three times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK."

The information provided by Cancer Council Australia is paramount for Tony and his clients to note and follow. Many of his kayaking excursions are full day from sun up to sun down. Tony provides guided tours and instruction 6 days per week. This is a lot of sun hours over a week, month, year, decade and a lifetime.  

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Quest 3 - Queensland Canoeing Incorporated

Quest 3 - Queensland Canoeing Incorporated | Family and Friends at Work |
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Australian Canoeing is the peak body for canoeing (includes kayaks, canoes, sit on top craft, outriggers, etc.). Its role includes the implementation, review and ongoing management of recreational canoeing accreditation and qualifications as well as setting industry safety standards for paddlers.


I believe this site is a an invaluable resource for Tony to utilise to keep up to date with the latest OHS information and guidelines in his field. The site not only emails it's members with the most upto date advice, it provides industry links, safety checklists, Australian Canoeing risk management policies, newsletters, education seminar dates, templates for risk assessment and more. You could almost consider Queensland Canoeing Incorporated to be a one stop shop!

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Rebecca - Real Estate Sales Support

Rebecca - Real Estate Sales Support | Family and Friends at Work |

My friend Rebecca is a mum of 1 in her late 30's and is currently working in a Real Estate Sales Support role. She has been working for her employer for just under 12 months. According to Rebecca, she in the office 99% of the time, making sure that the sales process is followed properly to ensure the best customer service for the vendors, a smooth process for purchasers, as well as that all legislative requirements are met as far as real estate law. 70% of her time is in front of the computer/photocopier/scanner etc, 20% on the phone with vendors, purchasers and solicitors, and 10% face to face with the sales agents.

She feels that the biggest risks to her health and safety lay not with her job but within the specific building that she works.  Rebecca provided me with these 3 following hazards which she believes leave her safety most at risk:

1)      There is a stairway that creates a hazard because people can bang their head against the low laying ceiling.  (We have had a couple of injuries with people banging their heads, but the landlord hasn’t done anything to make it safer yet.)

2)      There is a small sink in the lunch room that results in water being splashed on the ground which makes the ground slippery.

3)      Due to a spate of recent armed robberies in the area,  we have a sign at our door that says “NO CASH KEPT ON PREMISES” and a policy of locking the front door if anyone is working after hours.

Rebecca Jones's insight:

According to Workplace Health and Safety QLD, the following are the most common health and hazards for clerical and administrative workers:

Workstation layout and equipment 
Office layout 
Hazardous substances 
Slips, trips and falls 
Stress/bullying/occupational violence 

I ran this entire list by Rebecca, however she felt that only 'office layout' and 'slips' were a hazard in her workplace. I once worked in a similar administrative role where I felt stress and bullying was first and foremost from this list. In fact, in the end it was the reason I left. I was in my very early 20's at the time, the lowest paid employee of 9, and sat on the bottom rung if the workplace were a ladder. I worked very hard and was very good at my job however I was spoken down to poorly by those above me and their demands and expectations were unreasonable. I never made a complaint as I am a people pleaser, not a complainer. Workplace bullying, especially of the young is in my experience, is rife. Unfortunately these same demographic are readily available and are easily replaced so making a complaint against workplace bullying is unwise.

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Milissa - Store Manager at KFC

Milissa - Store Manager at KFC | Family and Friends at Work |

Milissa is the store manager of a KFC restaurant in Brisbane. She has worked for the company since leaving high school and is now in her 16th year of service. As manager she works long hours, often double shifts from early morning to late night. She works in all areas of the fast food outlet including front counter service, drive thru, cleaning and tidying of dining room and toilets, cooking, taking deliveries, office/paper work, managing staff, hiring and training staff and more . 

I asked Milissa what her biggest OHS risks were she replied 'most definitely burns and falls.' I asked how often she would burn herself and she answered 'how often I burn myself or how often I report it!!' She went on to say that she comes away with at least one burn as often as every single shift. She has only reported a burn that she received though once in all of her time with the company. She said if she made a report every time she burned herself then she would spend her entire shift filling out endless paperwork. 


Rebecca Jones's insight:

I worked for KFC myself many many (many!) moons ago. From memory I was there for about 18 months and the biggest OHS hazards for me were burns and falls also. Almost 20 years later I still have 2 small scars on my right hand from the deep fat frier. I couldn't tell you the amount of times I slipped on the greasy fatty floor. In addition I wore the drive thru ear piece so often and it was so crackly and loud that I believe I suffered some long term hearing loss in that side. You wouldn't believe how many people during my time there, honked the horn at the drive through practically deafening me in the process. 

Moving on, according to Workplace Health and Safety QLD, the following are the most common causes of injury in the fast food and hospitality industry: 

 Manual tasks including heavy lifting
 Lacerations from knives
 Burns
 Slips, trips and falls.


Other OHS concerns for fast food employees include but are not limited to:

Noise - once your hearing is damaged, the loss is permanent

Biological waste, sharps and hazardous substances
Violence either from dissatisfied customers or criminal activity
Stress - long hours, busy, tiresome and thankless work


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Heidi - Childcare Worker

Heidi - Childcare Worker | Family and Friends at Work |

Heidi has worked in childcare for the past 12 years. She started out as a part time employee in the room with babies and toddlers, then became team leader and is now director of her own child care centre. Although Heidi's role is now administrative, she has worked with children long enough and oversees staff who work directly with children, to have a pretty clear understanding where the OHS risks lay.

First and foremost, Heidi says that kids come to daycare with all kinds of coughs, colds, nits, scabies and other infectious bugs and illnesses that are really easy to catch!  The largest volume of OHS incidents that are reported however, are slips and falls and lifting injuries. Slips on wet bathroom floors, tripping over toys, picking up children, lifting them over cots, lifting furniture etc. Although Heidi has not suffered any OHS injuries of late, her staff report incidents weekly. 

Rebecca Jones's insight:

According to (an Australian online resource for parents, childcare workers and childcare providers), these are the six most common causes of injuries and poor health for staff in child care centres:

- Lifting and moving children in and out of cots and on and off change tables among others. If sleeping and change areas are not properly designed, the risk increases.


- Sitting and working at low levels puts extra strain on backs and knees.


- Moving play equipment and furniture is required in order to maintain a stimulating environment for children – but much of this equipment is unnecessarily heavy and awkwardly designed.


- Inadequate storage areas without walk through space and cluttered with 'accidents waiting to happen'.


- Poor office ergonomics. Office workstations are often in cramped spaces and poorly equipped.


- Poor housekeeping/maintenance of indoor and outdoor areas, such as trips on uneven or damaged floor surfaces, of falling off tables/chairs when hanging artwork

These points seems to match what Heidi was saying she felt were the biggest OHS risks in her workplace. 

From my personal perspective, the point about inadequate storage areas is something I have witnessed myself. I have 3 children ages 8, 5 and 2 and we've used a few centres over the years. None of them seemed to have safe or adequate storage. There are small rooms and cupboards with boxes or piles of toys, craft supplies and more stacked high to the roof and it seems at any moment they could all come tumbling down. It also seems that you would remove something stacked on the middle of the pile at your own peril!!

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Quest 3 - Canoeing & kayaking - Transport Safety Victoria

This page contains an overview of safety rules that apply to operators of canoes or kayaks.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

Transport Safety Victoria provide information to operators of human powered vessels (including kayaks) to help them stay safe when out on the water. Although they are a governing body of another state, the OHS risk management and prevention details appear generic to all kayak users. 

Unfortunately, Transport Safety Victoria report that they have experienced an increase in incidents involving canoes, kayaks, row boats, surf skis and stand up paddle boards of late. I think this is a timely reminder to always remain not only vigilant, but up to date with OHS information specific to your environment no matter how long you have been in the industry. 

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Quest 3 - First Aid: Australian Red Cross

Quest 3 - First Aid: Australian Red Cross | Family and Friends at Work |
Find a Red Cross first aid course near you and book online.
Rebecca Jones's insight:

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.

When taking strangers out in a kayak onto the open waters, there is a huge responsibility on the instructor to keep them safe from harm. Hypothermia, drowning, physical Injury, dehydration, sunburn, hyperthermia, electric shock (lightning), collision with other vessels, bites, stings, irritants, allergic reactions and more, are all a risk. Knowing CPR and first aid may not necessarily negate those risks, but correct management of it can certainly prevent further harm or death. 


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