• Wayne Nicholl
    24
    We recently had a person off work for 4 days - turns out it was a white tail spider bite. Do we call this a work related incident? I remember a few years back we have a couple of guys that received bee stings and I was told they were not to be classed as work related - but I am not so sure about spider bites. certainly didn't expect them to be on site and wasn't considered at all in the risk register. Keen to hear your thoughts
  • Sheri Greenwell
    196
    I know of one large international company where the NZ division had just celebrated 2 years LTI-free, then a worker unloading a container was bitten by a white-tail spider and ended up having treatment and time off work.....a rather uncomfortable occurrence right after their recognition, and the regional H&S Manager was quite angry about it!

    Biological agents such as insects definitely should be included in the list of hazards where workers can come into contact with them in the course of their work, with relevant insect control programmes and consideration of PPE where relevant. Glasshouses, for example, include bee sting prevention measures in their controls and require workers to notify them if they are allergic to bee stings so first aid kits and first aiders can be prepared.
  • Matthew Bennett
    12
    Similar to Sheri's comments: Biological agents are hazards / create risk and need to be represented / accounted for in the workplace. For me, an important factor is 'does the nature of the work generate the exposure'. Bees are a naturally occurring feature and people are exposed to them through the act of living. For an apiarist bees are an occupational hazard and work must be designed to reflect that. Great question to explore.
  • Andrew
    306
    I've had a couple of "spider bites" At least that is what the med cert said - could have been exposure to oil.

    Either way they both resulted in time off work so the event got recorded in the usual manner. Work place injury and X no. of hours of productivity lost.

    Spiders are already in the risk register as we handle containers.

    I don't report LTI's.

    (If I had my hand forced I would have recorded bee stings as a work place event. My test being, but for being at work would the person have been stung. That said I would have given that event about 13 seconds worth of attention.)
  • Phil Garratt
    1

    If the spider bite was during the worker employment then yes it should be considered to be a work related incident. We treat bee stings and wasp stings in the same manner.
  • Teena Cleary
    3
    I agree - if it occurs during the course of their work then it is deemed a work related incident.
  • Matt Ward
    9
    Agree with all, we had a worker suffer a leech bite to the stomach in a Victorian rainforest some years ago and he had a severe reaction to the anticoagulant released from the leech around the bite area. His stomach swelled up and had a rash the size of a dinner plate. 48 hours in hospital and some days off work to recover. This was our one and only LTI on the pipelaying project. A preventable injury through better hazard identification and risk mitigation.
  • Denise
    12
    Agree with both spider bites and bee stings as work related risks if received during the work day particularly when your staff could be stationed in isolated areas or areas of known risk (near beech forests, near apiaries, in vegetation or in storage areas etc) would require adequate controls to be in place in an emergency situation - e.g. anaphylactic shock. With bees not everyone knows they are allergic beforehand.
  • Craig Marriott
    173
    My standard response to these - why does it matter how you classify it?
    If it is likely to be a not-infrequent issue in your work environment, put some appropriate mitigations in place, as per Sheri's comment above. If it isn't, don't. All based on what is reasonably practicable risk reduction, of course.
    If it's a discussion about classification to meet some arbitrary corporate reporting requirement, spend the time and effort making that system is value adding instead of arguing over which box to report it in.
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