Appropriate Duty of Care or Over-Complication?

A volunteer sent us an email and a document that was circulated from a Fire Control Centre recently. We have decided to share this information in a quest to discover if this Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma documentation is widespread and are there other injury specific forms in use.


Report of Workplace Injury or Illness Form

Any type of bite or sting suffered by a volunteer firefighter needs to be reported using the procedure as per Service Standard 1.1.28 Injury / Accident Reporting and Investigation. (Ref: My RFS – login required)

The NSW RFS uses a Report of Workplace Injury or Illness Form, for injury and accident reporting. The instructions on the form state that all injuries and illnesses are to be reported to the manager or supervisor immediately and the form is to be submitted within 48hrs. This documentation is simple and appropriate. Click on the image (below) to open a pdf version.

Report of Workplace Injury or Illness Form
Report of Workplace Injury or Illness Form

Introducing a seemingly new, injury specific form….


Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma

The Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma is dated August 2016 and the document control states that it is version 1.3.

The questions being asked on the form are:

  1. Was insect repellent containing Picaridin (e.g. Johnson ‘OFF!’ repellent) available to the injured member on the day of injury? If yes, did the injured member apply the repellent before commencing work and reapply as necessary during work?
  2. On the day of injury did the Supervisor remind the injured member that repellent MUST be applied prior to work, then reapplied at regular intervals (particularly when sweating)?
  3. When the tick was found was the removal undertaken by a competent first aider and can you confirm that the whole tick was removed (i.e. No head left behind)? If more than one tick, specify number of ticks.
  4. What part(s) of the body were bitten by the tick(s)?
  5. Has the injured member had any medical complications from the tick bite(s)?

What is the volunteer perception of this form?

Is it a good display of NSW RFS duty of care or does it over-complicate a situation that could easily be managed using the standard form?

Is this seen by volunteers as being another level of bureaucracy that does not reflect the real environments that volunteer firefighters may encounter?

Are we going to see injury specific forms for mosquitoes, wasps, sunburn, heat stress, snake bite, spiders and many other situations or should we continue to train our volunteers to deal with a wide range of risk management and emergency situations and use the generic workplace injury and illness reporting form?

The pro-forma also raises other issues, such as:

  • Is Johnson ‘OFF!’ repellent readily available to all volunteers?
  • Do volunteers need to be reminded by a supervisor to apply a repellent prior to work, and reapply it at regular intervals (particularly when sweating)?
  • Are supervisors happy to micro manage every aspect of volunteer safety or are there many aspects of safety that are managed by the individual?
  • Does the first aid cloth patch worn by some volunteers indicate a “competent first aider”?

Click on the image (below) to open a pdf version of the Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma.

Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma
Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma

Fee free to add a comment or share this post.

One Reply to “Appropriate Duty of Care or Over-Complication?”

  1. MUST be worn? Says who?
    What about Corymbia citriodora oil?
    How the tick is removed is probably the most important part of the whole “tick equation”. Current best practice is probably freezing. Removing the tick by mechanical means is problematic and can have serious long term consequences.
    Given the RFS workers comp scheme is no fault, one wonders just what the real purpose of the form is?

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