Crocodiles - working with crocodiles in captivity by nyut545e2

VIEWS: 248 PAGES: 39

									Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005




      Workplace Health and Safety Guidelines for
                   Working with
               Crocodiles in Captivity.
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY FOR GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH CROCODILES IN
                           CAPTIVITY.

Businesses working with crocodiles in captivity within Queensland perform a diverse range
of activities including the display, feeding, capture, measuring, transportation and
processing of crocodiles. The crocodile industry includes companies, businesses and
individuals working in:
    • wildlife parks and zoos;
    • crocodile farms;
    • universities and other research institutions.

The Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 places obligations on:
   • employers
   • persons in control of workplaces
   • persons conducting a business or undertaking
   • workers and other persons (members of the public, subcontractors, contract
     workers) at a workplace to manage the risks associated with working near and with
     crocodiles in captivity, including the exhibition and farming of crocodiles.

The aims of the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Working with Crocodiles in
Captivity guidelines are:
   • to assist obligation holders discharge their legal obligations under the Workplace
       Health and Safety Act 1995
   • to provide practical advice on how to manage the risks associated with the
       exhibition and farming of crocodiles
   • to make the exhibition and farming of crocodiles healthier and safer activities within
       the crocodile industry.

The guidelines are not legislation and are therefore not mandatory, however it is
recommended that the advice given be followed to assist in discharging legal obligations.

Persons conducting a business or undertaking, including employers have an obligation
under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 to provide information, instruction,
training and supervision to ensure health and safety.

Due to the high levels of risk involved with some activities, information instruction, training
and supervision are of utmost importance in preventing injury and illness in the crocodile
exhibiting and farming industry.

Workplace health and safety induction provides workers with the initial information,
instruction and training needed to function safely and effectively on the job. It is important
to discuss with workers the hazards that exist at your workplace and the control measures
implemented to prevent injuries.

Workplace health and safety inductions for new workers should occur as soon as is
reasonably practicable following commencement of employment.




                                                                                 Page 2 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Working near or with crocodiles

Understanding crocodile behaviour will assist in decreasing the risk of a crocodile attack.
However, crocodiles are instinctive predators and can still be unpredictable animals.

As a minimum control measure, any person working near unrestrained crocodiles over
1500 mm in length should be accompanied by another competent worker who acts as
spotter and guard.

A system of exclusion zones has been developed for working near and with crocodiles.
Crocodile enclosures and pens should be designed with maintenance requirements in
mind. As a general rule, work should be performed from outside a crocodile enclosure if
possible.

If workers are required to enter the pen or enclosure and crocodiles cannot be isolated,
then competent spotters should be used to inform workers of crocodile movement and to
distract crocodiles if necessary.

Under no circumstances should any workers come into physical contact with a crocodile of
a length greater than 1500mm, which has not had its jaws restrained.

Children, generally, should not enter an enclosure. A child’s reflexes, depth perception and
ability to react in an emergency are far less well developed than an adult’s. The only
exception is where the child’s presence is part of a long term structured training program
which recognises and takes into account the physical and mental limitations of the child.
Safety controls must ensure that the child is closely supervised at all times. A child who
does not have appropriately developed physical and mental capacities should never be
placed in a situation where an unrestrained crocodile could come into physical contact with
the child. Generally such capacities are not present in a child under the age of 15.

Exhibiting crocodiles

Employers and self-employed persons have obligations to ensure the health and safety of
members of the public at their workplace. All foreseeable risks in regards to members of
the public should be controlled.

Fencing or barriers with mesh which prevents persons, including children, from placing
parts of their body into the enclosure should therefore be used in conjunction with the
signage.

Workplaces that house small numbers of crocodiles, or have a hire or swap arrangement
with other zoos or farms, may not be required to perform high risk tasks regularly enough
to enable workers to become competent in those tasks.

Workplaces that do not posses adequately trained workers to perform high risk tasks such
as show feeding should engage competent contractors to perform this work.




                                                                                Page 3 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Show Feeding

The purpose of show feeding crocodiles as part of an exhibition is to educate members of
the public about the nature of crocodiles. The exhibition should demonstrate, as far as
possible, how crocodiles behave in the wild. Show feeding should only be undertaken with
conditioned crocodiles. Hand-feeding of crocodiles of any size for educational shows
should be undertaken only by a competent person.

Crocodile Handling

Wildlife parks, zoos and farms may offer to members of the public, crocodile handling as a
part of their visit to the workplace. In these situations the crocodile must be under the
supervision of an experienced person at all times.

If the crocodile is to be held by a member of the public, the crocodile's mouth should be
tied securely. It is recommended that crocodiles handled by members of the public are a
maximum of 1200 mm in total length.

Crocodile farms

Many of the tasks performed at crocodile farms are similar to other workplaces that exhibit
crocodiles, however, workers at crocodile farms generally perform high risk tasks,
including egg collection, more frequently.

Egg collection is a high risk task, due to the risk of crocodile attack from:

    •   the female crocodile guarding the nest
    •   other female crocodiles guarding their own nests in the area
    •   territorial male crocodiles.

When performing egg collection the following control measures should be considered:

   •    isolation of crocodiles e.g. by means of gates, fencing or other barriers
   •    isolation of the worker by physical barrier so that crocodile attack is not possible
        while egg collection is being performed
   •    restraint of crocodile by top-jaw rope
   •    use of spotters in conjunction with workers to distract crocodile(s), using physical
        barriers where required.




                                                                                  Page 4 of 39
                                                                                February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005




Part 1 Workplace health and safety legislation. ..........................................................................6

    Chapter 1 Introduction..................................................................................................................6
1.1 Scope and intent................................................................................................................ 6
1.2 Aim. ..................................................................................................................................... 6
1.3 Definitions. ......................................................................................................................... 6

    Chapter 2 - Workplace health and safety obligations. ...............................................................8
2.1 Meeting obligations........................................................................................................... 8
2.2 Obligation holders. ............................................................................................................ 8
2.3 Obligations. ........................................................................................................................ 9

    Chapter 3: Managing health and safety.....................................................................................10
3.1 Overview........................................................................................................................... 10
3.2 Prioritising control measures......................................................................................... 11

Part 2 Major hazards associated with exhibiting and farming crocodiles..............................12

    Chapter 4 Generic risks across industry. ..................................................................................12
4.1 Information, instruction, training and supervision. ..................................................... 13
4.2 Emergency planning. ...................................................................................................... 13
4.3 First aid............................................................................................................................. 13
4.4 Communication Systems................................................................................................ 13
4.5 Working near crocodiles................................................................................................. 13
4.6 Working with crocodiles ................................................................................................. 13
4.7 Zoonotic Disease. ............................................................................................................ 13
4.8 Medicating and treating crocodiles. .............................................................................. 13
4.9 Incident reporting, recording and investigation........................................................... 13

    Chapter 5 – Exhibiting Crocodiles. ............................................................................................13
5.1 High risk tasks. ................................................................................................................ 13
5.2 Public safety..................................................................................................................... 13
5.3Show feeding and other exhibitions............................................................................... 13
5.4 Fencing and barriers. ...................................................................................................... 13
5.5 Enclosure Design. ........................................................................................................... 13

    Chapter 6 - Crocodile Farms. .....................................................................................................13
6.1 Pen Design. ...................................................................................................................... 13
6.2 Egg Collection.................................................................................................................. 13

Appendix 1 – Workplace Health and Safety References ................................................... 13
Appendix 2 – Hazard Checklist ............................................................................................ 13




                                                                                                                                              Page 5 of 39
                                                                                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Part 1 Workplace health and safety legislation.

Chapter 1 Introduction.


1.1 Scope and intent.

These guidelines have been developed as a tool to assist workplace health and safety
obligation holders manage the risks associated with working near and with crocodiles in
captivity, including the exhibition and farming of crocodiles.

The guidelines do not cover:
   • the capture, hunting or release of crocodiles or the collection of eggs, in the natural
      environment.
   • the slaughter of crocodiles or the processing for sale of crocodile by-products
   • research activities involving crocodiles

The guidelines may not outline every risk at your workplace. It is recommended that these
guidelines be read in conjunction with the Risk Management Advisory Standard. A list of
other useful references is given in Appendix 1.


1.2 Aim.

The aims of these guidelines are:
   • to assist obligation holders discharge their legal obligations under the Workplace
      Health and Safety Act 1995
   • to provide practical advice on how to manage the risks associated with the
      exhibition and farming of crocodiles
   • to make the exhibition and farming of crocodiles healthier and safer activities within
      the crocodile industry.

These guidelines are not legislation and are therefore not mandatory, however it is
recommended that the advice given be followed to assist in discharging legal obligations.


1.3 Definitions.

“Competent – a competent person/keeper/worker is someone who has the demonstrated
ability to safely, successfully and professionally perform to an accepted industry level, a
particular task in a specified circumstance. A person/keeper/worker is only considered
competent if they have documented proof of their training, skills and experience.”

Crocodile – for the purpose of these guidelines means all crocodiles, alligators, caimans
and gharials.

Crocodile Farm - a closed-cycle captive breeding establishment, managed so crocodiles
have artificial housing, veterinary care, artificially supplied food and protection from
predators.
                                                                               Page 6 of 39
                                                                             February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


Crocodile farming – the breeding, rearing and management of crocodiles in artificial
housing for the purpose of producing crocodile meat, skin or other by-products.

Dangerous event - an event caused by specified high risk plant, or an event at a
workplace caused by a workplace activity, if the event involves or could have involved
exposure of persons to risk to their health and safety because of—
   (a) collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, an item of specified
       high risk plant; or
   (b) collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation; or
   (c) collapse or partial collapse of any part of a building or other structure; or
   (d) damage to any load bearing member of, or the failure of any brake, steering device
       or other control device of, a crane, hoist, conveyor, lift or escalator; or
   (e) implosion, explosion or fire; or
   (f) escape, spillage or leakage of any hazardous material or dangerous goods; or
   (g) fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or object; or
   (h) damage to a boiler, pressure vessel or refrigeration plant; or
   (i) uncontrolled explosion, fire or escape of gas or steam.

Exhibition of crocodiles – showing or display of crocodiles to the public for entertainment
or educational purposes.

Serious bodily injury - means an injury to a person that causes—
   (a) the injured person’s death; or
   (b) the loss of a distinct part or an organ of the injured person’s body; or
   (c) the injured person to be absent from the person’s voluntary or paid employment for
       more than 4 days.

Work caused illness - means
  (a) an illness contracted by a person to which work, a workplace, a workplace activity
      or specified high risk plant was a significant contributing factor; or
  (b) the recurrence, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration in a person
      of an existing illness if work, a workplace, a workplace activity or specified high risk
      plant was a significant contributing factor to the recurrence, aggravation,
      acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration.




                                                                                 Page 7 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Chapter 2 - Workplace health and safety obligations.


2.1 Meeting obligations.

Workplace health and safety is ensured when persons are free from death, injury or illness
created by workplaces, work place activities or specified high risk plant.

Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, there are 3 types of instruments made
to help meet workplace health and safety obligations - regulations, advisory standards and
industry codes of practice.

If there is a regulation about a risk – it must be followed.

If there is an advisory standard or industry code of practice about a risk:
   • Do what the standard or code says; or
   • Adopt and follow another way that gives the same level of protection against the risk.

If an incident occurs at a workplace the relevant obligation holder may be asked to show
what has been done to prevent the incident from occurring. A documented risk
assessment is the best way of doing this. Also if a risk management process is used to
identify and manage the workplace risks, the likelihood of an incident occurring in the first
place decreases significantly.

The Risk Management Advisory Standard provides practical advice in relation to
performing the risk management process. The information contained in these guidelines
will also assist in both risk management processes and discharging obligations under the
Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.


2.2 Obligation holders.

The Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 (the Act) imposes workplace health and safety
obligations on people at workplaces to ensure workplace health and safety. The following
persons have obligations under the Act:
    • employers
    • persons in control of workplaces
    • persons conducting a business or undertaking
    • workers and other persons (members of the public, subcontractors, contract
       workers) at a workplace
    • self-employed persons
    • principal contractors
    • designers, manufacturers, and suppliers of plant
    • erectors and installers of plant
    • manufacturers, and suppliers of substances for use at workplaces
    • owners of specified high risk plant
    • designers of buildings or other structures to be used as workplaces
    • persons in control of relevant workplace areas
    • persons in control of fixtures, fittings and plant included in relevant workplace areas

                                                                                Page 8 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
2.3 Obligations.

The following information outlines the main obligation holders found in the crocodile
industry and their responsibilities to workplace health and safety. For further information on
obligations refer to the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 sections 28-36.

2.3.1 Employer.

Definition.
An ‘employer’ is a person who engages someone else to do work, other than under a
contract for service, for or at the direction of the person. A person is considered to have
‘engaged someone else’ to do work even when the person works on a voluntary basis.

Obligations.
   • An employer has an obligation to ensure the workplace health and safety of each of
      the employer’s workers in the conduct of the employer’s business or undertaking
   • An employer has an obligation to ensure the employer’s own workplace health and
      safety in the conduct of the employer’s business or undertaking
   • An employer has an obligation to ensure other persons are not exposed to risks to
      their health and safety arising out of the conduct of the employer’s business or
      undertaking.

2.3.2 Workers and other persons.

Definition.
A person is a ‘worker’ if the person does work, other than under a contract for services, for
or at the direction of an employer. A person may be a ‘worker’ even though the person is
not paid for work done by the person. However, a person is not a ‘worker’ merely because
the person does work for an organisation of which the person is a member.

An ‘other person’ includes any person whose workplace health and safety may be affected
by the business or undertaking. This includes members of the public, subcontractors and
contract workers.

Obligations.
Under section 36 of the Act, a worker, contract worker, subcontractor, or anyone else at a
workplace has the following obligations:
   • to comply with the instructions given for workplace health and safety by the
      employer and, if the workplace is a construction workplace, the principle contractor
      for workplace health and safety
   • to use personal protective equipment if it is provided by the employer and the
      worker is properly instructed in its use
   • not to wilfully or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided for workplace
      health and safety
   • not to wilfully place at risk the workplace health and safety of any person
   • not to wilfully injure himself or herself.

2.3.3 Persons in control of workplaces.

Obligations.
A person in control of a workplace has the following obligations:
                                                                                 Page 9 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
   •   to ensure the risk of injury or illness from a workplace is minimised for persons
       coming onto the workplace to work
   •   to ensure the risk of injury or illness from any plant or substance provided by the
       person for the performance of work by someone other than the person's workers is
       minimised when used properly
   •   to ensure there is appropriate, safe access to and from the workplace for persons
       other than the person's workers.

2.3.4 Person conducting a business or undertaking.

Obligations.
A person who conducts a business or undertaking has an obligation to ensure the
workplace health and safety of each person who performs a work activity for the purposes
of the business or undertaking.

The obligation applies—
   • whether or not the relevant person conducts the business or undertaking as an
      employer or self employed person; and
   • whether or not the business or undertaking is conducted for gain or reward; and
   • whether or not a person who performs a work activity for the purposes of the
      business or undertaking works on a voluntary basis.


Chapter 3: Managing health and safety.


3.1 Overview.

The Workplace Health and Safety Risk Management Advisory Standard is a risk
management standard that applies to all Queensland workplaces to which the Workplace
Health and Safety Act 1995 applies. It provides a risk management process to help
employers meet their health and safety obligations.
The risk management process involves eliminating or minimising the risk from hazards at
your workplace. A hazard is something with the potential to cause injury or disease. A risk
is the probability of a hazard resulting in an injury or disease. For example, crocodiles are
a hazard, but the risk of injury from a crocodile attack may be low if enclosures and pens
are designed so that workers do not have to enter to perform maintenance and other
tasks.

There are three elements which should be considered when performing the risk
management process.
   1. People involved in the activity (e.g. workers, visitors, members of the public need to
      be trained, instructed and supervised)
   2. Environment the task is being carried out in (murky water, hot working conditions,
      physical location of the workplace, the main workplace activity)
   3. Process used to carryout the work (including equipment, tools or plant used in the
      process)

The risk management process should be undertaken:
   • now, if one has never been performed previously


                                                                               Page 10 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
     Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
        •   after a change occurs or is introduced to the workplace (e.g. change to work
            procedures)
        •   after an incident or ‘near miss’
        •   at regular times scheduled according to the level of workplace risk.

     Communication and consultation with workers throughout the risk management process,
     and on an ongoing basis, is a valuable step in ensuring a thorough and effective health
     and safety management system.

     The risk management process is illustrated below:



                      Step 1: Identify hazards



                                                 Is there a regulation, advisory standard, industry code of
                                                 practice or guidance material made about the hazard?
   Step 5: Monitor and review

                                                 Step 2: Assess risks
                                                                                        Follow the information
                                                                                        in the regulation,
                                                                                        advisory standard or
                                                                                        code or guide.
Step 4: Implement control measures


                                          Step 3: Decide on control measures




     Appendix 2 contains a hazard checklist which will assist in identifying hazards. Use this
     checklist in conjunction with the Workplace Health and Safety Risk Management Advisory
     Standard to conduct a risk management process.


     3.2 Prioritising control measures.

     Control measures can be prioritised in terms of effectiveness. This order tells you which of
     the control measures provides a better level of risk control. You should use controls that
     are presented first, wherever possible.

     Priorities of Control.
     1. First, try to eliminate the hazard, if possible. This may mean discontinuing the work
     practices that create the risk or removing hazardous equipment or substances.

     If this is not possible, prevent or minimise exposure to the risk:

     2. Substitute a less hazardous work process, material or equipment; or redesign
     equipment or practices so that work can be done differently.

                                                                                                   Page 11 of 39
                                                                                                  February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
3. Isolate the hazard from the worker by making changes to the work environment or
practices so that exposure is minimised.

If this is not possible, reduce the likelihood of risk with:

4. Administrative controls, including improved supervision/instructions; job rotation;
training; and/or policies and procedures.

5. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a barrier between workers and
hazards.

An example of a substitution control measure that may reduce risk in the crocodile
industry is changing crocodile restraint methods from a noose and rope method to using
electrical stunning equipment.

An example of an isolation control measure that may reduce risk in the crocodile industry
is the use of a gate system within a crocodile enclosure/pen that isolates crocodiles while
maintenance and other tasks are being performed.

Consultation and active involvement of workers in all work and environmental
decisions/tasks may eliminate workers perceptions of lack of control over work tasks and
environment.

Administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) should only be used:
   • when no other practical or permanent control measures are available
   • as temporary measures while a more permanent solution is found or,
   • to supplement other controls.
The control measures chosen should:
   • adequately control exposure to the risk
   • allow workers to do their work without undue discomfort or distress
   • not create additional hazards (e.g. changing to electric stun equipment for crocodile
      restraint without providing workers with adequate training and supervision by a
      qualified operator).

In practice, several control options are often used in combination. Measures such as
administrative controls are often used as interim solutions while more permanent solutions
are implemented.


Part 2 Major hazards associated with exhibiting and farming
crocodiles.

Chapter 4 Generic risks across industry.

This chapter outlines common workplace health and safety risks in the exhibiting and
farming sectors of the crocodile industry. There may be other risks at your workplace that
are not covered in this chapter. Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, these
risks must still be managed. Please refer to the Risk Management Advisory Standard and
specific information developed by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, available on
the Department’s internet site www.whs.qld.gov.au .
                                                                             Page 12 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
    Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


    The table below identifies some common hazards in your industry.

Animal Hazards             Human Hazards                  Environmental Hazards
Physical size              Behaviour                      Crocodile pen/enclosure design
Breeding cycle             Age                            Physical location of workplace
Species of crocodile       Training                       Season
Territoriality             Skills                         Location to other crocodiles
Feeding cycle              Knowledge of animal behaviour Weather patterns
Sex of crocodile           Examples from others           No. of crocodiles in pen/enclosure
Sexual maturity            Individual characteristics     Fencing construction
Temperament                Ability to work under pressure Hazardous substances
Time and past treatment in Experience                     Access to first aid kit and
captivity                                                 personnel
     Table 1: Common hazards in the crocodile farming and exhibition industry

    4.1 Information, instruction, training and supervision.

    Persons conducting a business or undertaking, including employers have an obligation
    under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 to provide information, instruction,
    training and supervision to ensure health and safety.

    Due to the high levels of risk involved with some activities, information instruction, training
    and supervision are of utmost importance in preventing injury and illness in the crocodile
    exhibiting and farming industry.

    Only experienced workers should perform high risk tasks, however building and
    maintaining a strong skill base amongst workers is often difficult due to normal changes in
    the employment of workers. Inexperienced workers require increased levels of information
    instruction, training and supervision over experienced workers.

    4.1.1 Induction of workers.

    Workplace health and safety induction provides workers with the initial information,
    instruction and training needed to function safely and effectively on the job. It is important
    to discuss with your workers the hazards that exist at your workplace and the control
    measures implemented to prevent injuries.

    Workplace health and safety inductions for new workers should occur as soon as is
    reasonably practicable following commencement of employment. The induction should
    cover a variety of topics including:
       • A general overview of workplace health and safety law, including obligations
       • The workplace health and safety responsibilities of the position including, if relevant,
          duties in relation to risk management and staff supervision
       • General safety and housekeeping procedures
       • Off limit areas
       • Instruction in any specific tasks e.g. crocodile pen/enclosure maintenance
       • The workplace health and safety policy for the workplace
       • Procedures for reporting of injuries, illnesses and ‘near misses’


                                                                                         Page 13 of 39
                                                                                        February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
   •   Personal safety including proper work attire and personal protective equipment
       such as correct footwear
   •   Specific hazards that may be encountered and demonstrated safe operating
       procedures
   •    The safe use of hazardous substances, including how to access material safety
       data sheets
   •   How to access workplace health and safety resources and obtain advice on general
       and specific safety topics

Where relevant the worker should be introduced to:
  • The Workplace Health and Safety Officer (if the workplace has more than 30
     workers)
  • The Workplace Health and Safety Representative (if one has been elected)
  • The fire warden
  • The first aid officer

Records of all induction training provided to workers and any ongoing training or retraining
should be kept. To determine the competency of workers to work safely may be tested
through practical demonstration and written or verbal assessment.

Any training provided to workers should involve a theoretical and practical component.

4.1.2 Ongoing training, information, instruction, training and supervision.

Providing information, training, instruction and supervision are administrative control
measures. The Risk Management Advisory Standard outlines a priority of control
measures when dealing with risk. Administrative controls are a lower order priority and
therefore should only be used when risks can not be minimised by other means.

The workplace health and safety induction given to workers will provide most of the initial
information, instruction and training for workers to commence work safely. High risk tasks,
such as egg collection, crocodile transportation and show feeding, however require more
in depth information, instruction, training and supervision.

It is not appropriate for workers to perform high risk tasks until they can demonstrate
relevant knowledge, skills and experience regarding crocodile behaviour and other
relevant issues. Employers must ensure that workers under their supervision are
adequately trained and experienced to undertake the tasks they are required to perform. It
may take weeks or even months for workers to accomplish the required level of
competency. The employer or person conducting the business or undertaking should
assess, or should have someone on their behalf assess, the worker’s competency to
ensure they are satisfied that the worker can safely perform the task.

Where high risk tasks are performed it is appropriate to always have workers accompanied
by another competent person while performing tasks. This is in part due to the requirement
to have someone on hand in case an accident was to occur.

Workers may be required to receive retraining in relation to specific tasks, especially
where these tasks have not been performed for a prolonged duration.

In general, all people exposed to risk should be provided with information about:

                                                                               Page 14 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
   •   the health and safety legislation;
   •   the organisation's workplace health and safety program/policy;
   •   the workplace health and safety risk management process;
   •   the control measures in place to minimise exposure to the risks associated with
       workplace hazards, the correct use of these controls and how to ensure they are
       kept in full working order;
   •   any known residual risk;
   •   safe working procedures;
   •   safe use of workplace substances (including information from the Material Safety
       Data Sheets (MSDS);
   •   how to use and maintain equipment (refer to operators' manuals);
   •   any special safety information needed (such as safety precautions for working
       under certain conditions or how to use safety devices such as emergency stop
       buttons);
   •   any specific conditions and prohibitions on the use of equipment;
   •   inspection and maintenance programs in place at the workplace (such as when to
       request maintenance and who to ask);
   •   procedures for repairs;
   •   how to access information about hazards, such as manufacturer's instructions;
   •   personal protective equipment required (instruction in fitting, use, cleaning,
       maintaining and storing this equipment);
   •   emergency procedures; and
   •   details of how accidents have occurred in the past involving the same work process.

The level of training provided will depend on the:
   • degree of risk associated with each task
   • the worker’s previous experience in the industry
   • the worker’s current skills and abilities (before training)
   • nature of the hazards involved

Persons conducting a business or undertaking, including employers must adequately
supervise workers to ensure they are carrying out the tasks in accordance with the
instruction and training given.

A record of all training provided to workers should be kept at the workplace. Records
should include:
   • names of persons who received training;
   • dates of the training sessions;
   • skills taught;
   • outline of the course content;
   • names of persons who provided the training and their qualifications
   • tasks able to be performed once training has been delivered

The Risk Management Advisory Standard provides further information in regards to
training.




                                                                            Page 15 of 39
                                                                           February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

4.2 Emergency planning.

Emergency planning should take high priority when planning any new enterprise or
performing any renovations to existing zoos, wildlife parks, farms or other relevant
workplaces. Planning should be carried out for emergencies from internal sources such as
a crocodile attack, medical emergency or fire and from external sources such as flooding
or threat of security at the workplace.

Your workplace should have the following:
   • a reliable communication system
   • access for emergency vehicles
   • a system for retrieving injured persons
   • a system for evacuation
   • training in emergency procedures for members of the public and staff
   • staff training for emergency situations with crocodiles or other animals


4.3 First aid.

As required by workplace health and safety legislation, every workplace must have first aid
equipment and facilities readily available for use. Workplace Health and Safety
Queensland also produces a First Aid Advisory Standard, which provides practical advice
on workplace first aid requirements.

4.3.1 First aid equipment.

The contents of a first aid kit should contain supplies and equipment to treat incidents that
are likely to occur at the workplace. The majority of incidents that occur at the workplace
are minor in nature, however the first aid kit should still cater for serious injuries such as
those suffered from a crocodile attack.

First aid kits should be regularly monitored and kept fully stocked. The First Aid Advisory
Standard contains a suggested list of contents for a first aid kit.

4.3.2 First aid personnel.

First aid personnel undertake the initial management of work-caused injuries and illnesses.
They should not be responsible for ongoing medical care. First aid personnel at a crocodile
exhibiting or farming workplace should hold a current qualification in a Senior First Aid,
Occupational First Aid or an equivalent competency.


4.4 Communication Systems.

A reliable communication system should be supplied at each workplace. Any worker who
is expected to work alone or where workers are working in isolated areas should be able to
contact someone at the workplace for assistance at all times. Systems such as 2-way
radios or mobile phones are useful in this instance. If using mobile phones please ensure
that you have mobile phone coverage, and a system for ensuring batteries are charged.


                                                                                Page 16 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005
4.5    Working near crocodiles.

This section deals with work required to be performed near crocodiles. It does not include
work in close proximity or directly with crocodiles. This information is covered in section
4.6 Working with crocodiles.

Understanding crocodile behaviour will assist in decreasing the risk of a crocodile attack,
however crocodiles are instinctive predators and can still be unpredictable animals.
Reliance on understanding crocodile behaviour as the only implemented control measure
at a workplace to prevent injury is not considered as taking reasonable precautions and
exercising proper diligence in meeting workplace health and safety obligations.

As a minimum control measure, any person working near unrestrained crocodiles over
1500 mm in length should be accompanied by another competent worker who acts as
spotter and guard. Regardless of how well a person thinks they know a crocodile, they
should always be treated with extreme caution.

Under no circumstances should a worker work near crocodiles while under the influence of
alcohol, other recreational drugs or medication which adversely affects the judgement and
performance of the worker to work safely.

A system of exclusion zones has been developed for working near and with crocodiles.
Below is a diagram of the exclusion zones from two different angles. The table below the
diagrams explains which zones certain persons are allowed to enter. When working near
crocodiles no person should enter Zone A.




                                                                             Page 17 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005




    Figure 1: Crocodile exclusion zones
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


Figure 2: Crocodile exclusion zones (side view)


   Person entering            Zones allowed entry to         Zones prohibited
      enclosure                                                   entry to
Competent worker              Zone C after assessing       Zone A
                              risks of entering the
                              enclosure.
                              Zone B if accompanied
                              by another competent
                              worker
Worker undergoing             Zones B and C, if            Zone A
training to become            accompanied and
competent                     directly supervised by a
                              competent worker
Other workers                 Zone C, if accompanied       Zones A and B
                              and directly supervised
                              by a competent worker


When working with the following alternative exclusions may be developed and used by
employers:
   • alligators and other species which are not as aggressive and therefore safer than
      saltwater crocodiles
   • saltwater crocodiles with a total length of less than 1500mm.

As a general rule, if work can be performed from outside of a crocodile enclosure it should
be. If this can not be achieved then isolate the crocodile or crocodiles in a separate section
of the pen or enclosure. Isolation will usually require built-in features such as gates,
fencing or other barriers.

The crocodile/s will need to be lured into the part of the pen or enclosure that can be
isolated. This can be achieved by luring the animals with food or with an object, such as a
buoy, attached to a rope. Isolation of crocodiles may not be practicable or possible in the
following circumstances:
     • where enclosures are not designed with built-in features such as gates or other
        barriers
     • during winter and colder months when crocodiles are less active and less likely to
        want to move to another part of the pen or enclosure
     • where large numbers of crocodiles are kept in the enclosure or pen
     • where a crocodiles temperament dictates that such isolation is not possible or is
        potentially dangerous

Crocodile enclosures and pens should be designed with maintenance requirements in
mind. For enclosures it may be possible to design the layout so that vegetation is not
located near the water’s edge, so as to eliminate or reduce tasks such as mowing and
pruning. This will reduce the likelihood of a crocodile attack.


                                                                                 Page 19 of 39
                                                                                February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


If workers are required to enter the pen or enclosure and crocodiles cannot be isolated,
then competent spotters should be used to inform workers of crocodile movement and to
distract crocodiles if necessary. The location of all crocodiles should be identified before
workers enter the enclosure and their movements tracked by the spotter/s. A competent
worker may enter an enclosure without the use of a spotter when work is only to occur in
Zone C, all crocodiles within the enclosure are located and the risks of entering the
enclosure are assessed.

A thorough risk management process should be conducted if using this control measure
as it relies on human performance to sight crocodiles and react quickly to their movement.
Any error in judgement or movement may result in injury and as such other control
measures may be more appropriate.

All workers entering crocodile enclosures should be competent or be accompanied by a
competent worker. Acquisition of competency should involve providing extensive training
and having workers demonstrate their knowledge, skills and experience.

Workers undergoing training and obtaining experience should be directly supervised by a
competent worker. Training should be documented and a copy of training records kept at
the workplace.

A pole, stick or barrier should be carried by workers in case of a crocodile attack. A system
of communication should be maintained by all workers involved in any work task involving
crocodiles. Voice communication may be sufficient in many circumstances; however where
workers are out of ear shot of each other or where noisy equipment is being used, an
alternative method of communication should be used.

The priority of controls to be used when working near crocodiles over 1500mm in length
can be summarised as follows:
   1. Perform tasks outside of enclosure where possible e.g. pruning trees or shrubs on
      the fence line of the pen or enclosure
   2. Isolate crocodile/s from workers e.g. by means of gates, fencing or other barriers
   3. If entering an enclosure/pen the worker may:
      • if competent        - enter Zone C after all crocodiles within the enclosure are
           located and the risks of entering the enclosure are assessed.
                            - enter Zone B only if accompanied by at least one other
           competent person to act as spotter and guard.
      • if not competent - enter zone C only if accompanied and directly supervised by a
           competent person to act solely as guard and spotter. The competent worker
           should perform a risk assessment to determine if additional spotters may be
           required.

Crocodiles are very powerful animals and are capable of very fast movement over short
distances. Crocodiles function much better in the water but can still pivot at fast speeds on
land. The point on which crocodiles pivot to turn or twist is the centre point between their
back legs.

To an extent crocodiles can become conditioned after being treated in a particular way
over a period of time. Despite this, it should never be assumed that any crocodile can be

                                                                               Page 20 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


controlled by a person, regardless of the persons experience and knowledge of crocodiles.
Crocodiles are instinctive predators and so their behaviour can never be guaranteed.

Keeping crocodile behaviour records to detail any variation from usual behaviour may
assist in reducing risk when performing tasks near crocodiles. Records should be readily
available and checked regularly by workers involved in husbandry. Medication or treatment
records should also be completed for each crocodile. All workers involved in the
husbandry of the animals or the relocation of the animals should have access to this
information.

4.5.1 Entry into crocodile enclosures or pens.

Members of the public should not be allowed to enter crocodile enclosures. All persons
entering should do so for work-related purposes.

The following should be considered to ensure the risk of entry to enclosures at the
workplace is managed:
   • the risk of crocodile attack has been minimised
   • the person entering is a competent worker or if a worker receiving training is
      accompanied by a competent worker
   • the person has received an induction to the workplace
   • the person entering has completed an extensive formal on the job training program
      for entering the enclosure and performing the task while in the enclosure
   • the person is considerably experienced in entering enclosures and performing the
      required task
   • the person is supervised by the employer if competent or other nominated
      competent person
   • clear instruction has been given regarding the task to be performed while in the
      enclosure
   • the instructions are understood and the worker has agreed to conform to all safety
      directions given by the employer or representative while in the enclosure

Children, generally, should not enter an enclosure. A child’s reflexes, depth perception and
ability to react in an emergency are far less well developed than an adult’s. The only
exception is where the child’s presence is part of a long term structured training program
which recognises and takes into account the physical and mental limitations of the child.
Safety controls must ensure that the child is closely supervised at all times. A child who
does not have appropriately developed physical and mental capacities should never be
placed in a situation where an unrestrained crocodile could come into physical contact with
the child. Generally such capacities are not present in a child under the age of 15.

4.5.2 Maintenance tasks.

The risk of injury in situations where workers are required to enter enclosures is potentially
high. Maintenance tasks should be conducted from outside of enclosures where possible.

Many maintenance tasks do require the worker to enter the enclosure. In these situations
the same priority of control measures listed previously should be used.
   1. Perform maintenance outside of enclosure where possible e.g. pruning of trees and
      shrubs near fence lines
                                                                                Page 21 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


   2. Isolate crocodile e.g. by means of gates, fencing or other barriers
   3. If entering an enclosure/pen the worker may:
      • if competent       - enter Zone C after all crocodiles within the enclosure are
          located and the risks of entering the enclosure are assessed.
                           - enter Zone B only if accompanied by at least one other
          competent person to act as spotter and guard.
      • if not competent - enter Zone C only if accompanied and directly supervised by
          a competent person to act solely as guard and spotter. The competent worker
          should perform a risk assessment to determine if additional spotters may be
          required.

4.5.3 Do’s and do not’s when working near crocodiles

The table below lists some of the do’s and do not’s when working near crocodiles.

                 Do’s                               Do not’s
Ensure workers entering pens or Enter Zone A for any reason, unless
enclosures are competent to do so the crocodile has been restrained.
and to perform the required tasks    This includes sitting on or placing part
                                     of your body inside the crocodile’s
                                     mouth.
Workers entering pens or enclosures Non-workers       should     not    enter
undergoing training are accompanied crocodile enclosures or pens.
and directly supervised by a
competent person
Conduct work from outside of the pen Enter an enclosure without being
or enclosure where possible.         competent or accompanied by a
                                     competent worker.
Use a control measure when entering Allow someone under the influence of
pens or enclosures such as isolating alcohol or other drugs to work near
gates or use of spotters             crocodiles



4.6 Working with crocodiles

This section provides information on work tasks that require work within close proximity to
crocodiles, including direct contact with crocodiles.

Under no circumstances should a worker work with crocodiles while under the influence of
alcohol, other recreational drugs or medication which adversely affects the judgement and
performance of the worker to work safely.

4.6.1 Crocodile restraint.

There are a number of methods for restraining crocodiles. Whichever method you chose to
use at your workplace, a risk management process should be conducted and documented
outlining the identified risks and the appropriate control measures implemented. The work
method for restraining crocodiles should be documented and available to all relevant
                                                                             Page 22 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


workers. Workers involved in the restraint of crocodiles should have received the
necessary training and be considered as competent to perform the task.

Crocodiles should be moved as quickly and as quietly as possible. Blindfolds should
always be used and the jaws should be securely closed. One person should be nominated
to coordinate the capture and restraint. The procedure used for capture and restraint
should be documented in writing and be available to workers. This procedure should be a
part of all relevant workers training.

Some of the risks involved in restraining crocodiles include:
  • injuries from the crocodile being restrained attacking
  • injuries from nearby crocodiles attacking
  • injuries from manual handling if the rope is caught around the arm or other body
     part of the worker if the crocodile rolls
  • injuries from the swinging tail or head of the crocodile
  • injuries from the teeth of the restrained crocodile
  • slips, trips and falls injuries when moving out of the way of the rolling or attacking
     crocodile

The most popular method of restraining crocodiles is through the use of a noose and a
series of ropes. This method involves:
    • assembling a competent team of people and appointing a leader to coordinate the
       capture and restraint of crocodiles
    • securing the crocodile’s snout with a noose (top jaw rope)
    • blindfolding the crocodile
    • securing the jaws with, cord, tape, Velcro or other means
    • securing the crocodile’s legs with rope
    • securing the crocodile to a tie-down board or sling, if required

There are numerous methods of releasing the noose restraining the crocodile’s jaws. The
method used will depend on the type of knot or other device used with the noose. For
example, if an eye splice has been used than the rope my need to be cut. A wire hook
connected to a pole may also be used to loosen the knot on the noose so that it can be
removed. Whatever method is chosen it should allow for removal of the noose at a safe
distance and in the shortest amount of time possible.

An alternative method is through restraint of the top jaw only and use of a transportation
box. Transportation boxes can be used with or without a winch or other device to pull the
crocodile into the box. It is recommended that a winch or other device be used to minimise
the risk of manual handling injuries.

When used correctly the electrical stunning equipment is considered a safe method for
capturing and restraining crocodiles up to 2000mm in length. Research has been carried
out on the use and safety of this equipment and it meets the requirements of animal
welfare legislation and it produces a lower stress response in crocodiles than the noose
and roping method.

The stunning equipment delivers an electrical impulse of 400hz into the crocodile and
renders it unconscious, allowing enough time to enable full restraint. It should be noted

                                                                            Page 23 of 39
                                                                           February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


that the crocodile must still be partially restrained before using the stunning equipment.
Workers using electric stunning equipment should be competent to do so, as there are
risks associated with the equipment’s use. Stunning equipment should always be used
following the manufacturer’s directions.

It should be noted that electrical stunning equipment is only suitable where crocodiles are
located in the water or are totally saturated with fresh water. For this reason using
electrical stunning equipment is not always possible for all tasks. Workers should not enter
the water to use electrical stunning equipment as this presents an increased risk of
crocodile attack.

There are a number of drugs that can be used to immobilise crocodiles to assist in
restraint. Only qualified persons should administer immobilisation drugs. Workplaces
using immobilisation drugs should have documented and readily available procedures for
emergency treatment, including appropriate antidotes readily available in the case of
accidental injection. Accidental injection of some drugs to handlers can lead to serious
symptoms such as respiratory distress.

Crocodiles immobilised with some drugs can still feel sensory stimulation as these drugs
are not anaesthetics. For the safety of workers and the crocodile, other stressors should
be kept to a minimum e.g. by using a wet bag over the crocodile’s eyes. Information about
administering drugs is given in section 4.8 Medicating and treating crocodiles of this guide.

The method of restraint where workers come into physical contact with crocodile’s, without
first restraining the jaws, is an extreme risk and is not recommended. Under no
circumstances should any workers come into physical contact with a crocodile of a length
greater than 1500mm, which has not had its jaws restrained.

The only activities where it is necessary for a worker to come in physical contact with a
crocodile are those such as veterinary care, relocation and controlled and supervised
public contact by members of the public. In these situations the crocodile should be
restrained first.

Freshwater crocodiles, alligators and other species that represent a lower risk to workers
may be restrained in alternative methods based on the results of a risk assessment.

4.6.2 Relocation of crocodiles.

The safest way to relocate large crocodiles is by using a gate method which is designed
into the enclosure or pen. This should be considered when any new construction or
remodelling is being carried out at the workplace.

If this is not possible because of the design of your workplace you will need to choose
another method and carry out a risk assessment to justify your work method.

Transportation boxes are a safe method of relocating crocodiles and may not require
complete restraint of the crocodile. A top jaw rope may be applied and then pulled through
the box by a worker or mechanical device such as a winch.



                                                                               Page 24 of 39
                                                                              February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


Small and juvenile crocodiles may be relocated in an alternative way, based on the
outcomes of a risk assessment performed by the employer or person conducting the
business or undertaking.

4.6.3 Do’s and do not’s when working with crocodiles.

The table below lists some of the do’s and do not’s when working with crocodiles.

                  Do’s                                   Do not’s
Ensure only competent workers work         Sit or allow others to sit on
with crocodiles                            unrestrained crocodiles
Develop and document procedures            Place part of the body in the
for    restraining    and     relocating   crocodile’s mouth
crocodiles
Nominate a person to lead the         Allow workers under the influence of
restraint and relocation of crocodilesalcohol or other drugs to work with
                                      crocodiles
Conduct a risk assessment for the Enter the crocodile exclusion zone A
methods chosen to restrain and
relocate crocodiles at your workplace


4.7 Zoonotic Disease.

Zoonotic diseases are diseases which can be transferred from animals to humans.
Animals infected with zoonotic diseases do not always show symptoms and may not
appear to be sick.

The main zoonotic disease risk for workers handling crocodiles is salmonella. The
bacteria are shed in the faeces of the animal, so in an aquatic environment the entire
enclosure and water could potentially harbour the organism. The bacteria can be
accidentally ingested by humans following contact with contaminated animal faeces, soil,
water and food. Workers handling poultry used for crocodile food can be exposed to
infections such as psittacosis, salmonellosis and campylobacter enteritis.

To manage the risk of exposure to zoonotic diseases, workers should be provided with
information and training on issues such as zoonotic disease risks, modes of transmission,
health effects and incident and illness reporting mechanisms.

Workers handling crocodiles should also be given instruction in preventative infection
control practices such as washing hands after handling crocodiles, crocodile equipment
and before eating. Workers should also be instructed to cover open wounds with a water
proof dressing and to wear gloves if any cuts and scratches are present.




                                                                             Page 25 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005



4.8 Medicating and treating crocodiles.

The Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996, administered by Queensland Health
sets out the authorities to obtain, possess, dispense and administer scheduled drugs and
poisons. The administration of scheduled medications to animals by persons other than
qualified veterinary surgeons requires written authorisation from the Chief Executive,
Queensland Health. This is to ensure that persons administering medications have
received appropriate training by a veterinary surgeon, have adequate knowledge of the
medications that are used and are competent to administer these medications. All queries
regarding medication management should be sought from your nearest Environmental
Health Service.


4.9 Incident reporting, recording and investigation.

A key part of a workplace health and safety management system is the collection, analysis
and assessment of incidents at the workplace. Employers should investigate incidents and
near-miss incidents as soon as possible to get factual information to determine if the
incident was preventable and to introduce control measures to prevent further incidents.

The Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997 requires employers and self-employed
persons to make a record of every work injury, work-caused illness and dangerous event
that happens at their workplace. These records must be held at the workplace. However if
there is a serious bodily injury, work caused illness or dangerous event, Workplace Health
and Safety Queensland must be notified. When notifiable event occurs, the scene must
not be interfered with.
For non-notifiable injuries you can use the following steps to carryout your own
investigation:
   • get the facts
   • determine the cause
   • decide the method of prevention
   • take appropriate action to correct the situation
   • keep everyone informed

The workplace health and safety committee should review all injuries and dangerous
events at the workplace to determine whether there are any patterns. It is also important to
use information from other workplaces within your industry to prevent an occurrence of a
similar nature at your workplace. Information from all incidents can be used to modify work
practices or to show how your work practices manage such risks. All of this information
can also be used in staff training and shared with other workplaces to prevent similar
injuries across your industry.


Chapter 5 – Exhibiting Crocodiles.

This chapter provides information for persons conducting a business or undertaking,
including employers and self-employed persons and other obligation holders who exhibit
crocodiles at workplaces. Most crocodile exhibition occurs at zoos and wildlife parks,

                                                                              Page 26 of 39
                                                                             February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


however there are instances where crocodiles may be exhibited at farms, schools,
shopping centres and other locations where the general public can view them.


5.1 High risk tasks.

Workplaces that do not possess adequately trained workers to perform high risk tasks
should engage competent contractors to perform this work. Workplaces that house small
numbers of crocodiles, or have a hire or swap arrangement with other zoos or farms, may
not be required to perform high risk tasks regularly enough to enable workers to become
competent in those tasks.

High risk tasks include:
 • egg collection
 • restraint of crocodiles over 1500 mm
 • relocation of crocodiles over 1500 mm
 • medical treatment of crocodiles over 1500 mm
 • show feeding of crocodiles over 1500 mm

Alternatively these risks can be managed by exhibiting smaller animals, and not having
breeding females present at the workplace.


5.2 Public safety.

Under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, employers and self-employed persons
have obligations to ensure the health and safety of members of the public at their
workplace. All foreseeable risks in regards to members of the public should be controlled.
For example, to control the risk of a crocodile bite by signage only would ignore the risks of
persons placing parts of their body through the fence or barrier. Fencing or barriers with
mesh which prevents persons, including children, from placing parts of their body into the
enclosure should therefore be used in conjunction with the signage.

Any risks that cannot be controlled for by means other than communication should be
clearly communicated to members of the public through a combination of verbal instruction
and written communication, such as brochures or signage. Non-English speaking persons
should also be catered for if relying on verbal or written communication to control risks at
the workplace.


5.3    Show feeding and other exhibitions.

5.3.1 Show feeding.

Hand-feeding of crocodiles of any size for educational shows should be undertaken only
by a competent person.




                                                                                Page 27 of 39
                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


The purpose of show feeding crocodiles as part of an exhibition is to educate members of
the public about the nature of crocodiles. The exhibition should demonstrate, as far as
possible, how crocodiles behave in the wild.

Show feeding should only be undertaken with conditioned crocodiles. In this case, the
show person should feed in such a way that no part of the person's body enters Zone A of
the crocodile exclusion zone.

A risk assessment should be carried out to establish which enclosures are suitable for
show feeding. The risk assessment should take into account pen or enclosure design, in
particular:
    • the size of clear land between the pond and the fence
    • how level the ground is
    • vegetation that may conceal the presence of other crocodiles
    • the number of crocodiles in the pen
    • the sexual maturity of the animals
    • the depth of the pond water
    • the width of the pond.

A spotter should be present during show feeding. The spotter will act as a lookout, monitor
the behavioural reactions of the crocodile and alert the show person to any potential
hazards. The spotter must also be trained and experienced in handling crocodiles and
should be competent to perform the necessary duties. The spotter also assists in crowd
control by preventing spectators from climbing fences, standing in gateways or causing
distraction during the performance.

Sticks, poles or barriers should be available in case of a crocodile attack. If an accident
occurs, the spotter is responsible for alerting other workers and assisting the show person
until help arrives.

If using a feeding bay the fencing should comply with requirements of the Code of Practice
of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria Queensland,
Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles and American Alligators’. Feeding bays built into lagoons are
the best way to demonstrate a crocodile’s natural feeding habits.

In combined workplaces the tour will usually encompass part of the zoo or wildlife park
area and part of the farming area. In this instance you should ensure you have adequate
control over the tour group. The risks associated with the tour must be assessed prior to
commencement. This assessment will include a consideration of the number of workers to
visitors ratio, undertaken as a part of the risk management process.

5.3.2 Crocodile handling by members of the public.

Wildlife parks, zoos and farms may offer to members of the public, crocodile handling as a
part of their visit to the workplace. In these situations the crocodile must be under the
supervision of an experienced person at all times.

If the crocodile is to be held by a member of the public, the crocodile's mouth should be
tied securely. The size of the crocodile should be matched to the age and physical

                                                                              Page 28 of 39
                                                                             February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


capabilities of the person wishing to hold it. It is recommended that crocodiles handled by
members of the public are a maximum of 1200 mm in total length.

Protruding teeth can cause cuts and other injuries and should be considered along with
other risks.


5.4 Fencing and barriers.

Fencing requirements for zoos, wildlife parks and other establishments will vary depending
on individual requirements. Fencing should comply with requirements of the Code of
Practice of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria
Queensland, Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles and American Alligators’.

Many workplaces exhibiting crocodiles have walkways over creeks, ponds and enclosures.
Consideration should be given to guardrails or other barriers. Some design considerations
include:
    • barriers that prevent children from placing parts of their body, such as hands, into
       the enclosure
    • guardrails that cannot be sat upon due to their shape
    • barriers that cannot be climbed or used as a foothold to obtain a better view
    • viewing areas that do not require visitors to have supervision to ensure their safety
    • ensuring access to ponds or enclosures is not possible

In many cases it is more appropriate to implement more than one control method to
ensure safety. Having a safe fence is important, but you cannot ensure the safety of the
public unless they are aware of the risks. Administrative controls such as signage, public
address and supervision are sometimes also necessary for you to discharge your
obligations under the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.


5.5 Enclosure Design.

Crocodile enclosures can vary significantly in design. Issues such as the size, species,
age, number and sex of the crocodile are all considerations which affect design.

Enclosures should be designed with the health and safety of both workers and members of
the public in mind. Enclosure design should take into consideration:
   • maintenance requirements of the enclosure such as lawn mowing and cleaning
   • animal husbandry tasks
   • exhibition requirements e.g. show feeding

A well designed enclosure can isolate crocodiles from workers when carrying out some
tasks. This may be achieved through sliding or hinged gates or other barriers.

Ponds that are able to be drained can also assist in minimising risk when performing tasks
inside the enclosure. Most ponds are difficult for crocodiles to exit when drained.

If it is necessary to have a deep pond, provide an increased land area which requires
minimal maintenance between the pond and the fence, to allow the worker to remain
                                                                             Page 29 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


outside the most dangerous zones. Pond width should also be considered in the design.
Narrow width ponds can reduce the risk of crocodile attack when show feeding by limiting
the animal’s ability to lunge.

Where feeding bays are used they should be well constructed to protect workers from
crocodiles. The feeding bay may be on ground level with secure fencing between the
crocodile enclosure and the worker, or at an elevated level for lagoon style ponds.

All pens that may be accessed by visitors should be fenced to comply with the
requirements of the Code of Practice of the Australasian Regional Association of
Zoological Parks and Aquaria Queensland, Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles and American
Alligators’.

To minimise the risk of injury to workers the following design aspects should be considered
when designing or redesigning an enclosure:
   • Entry points
           Access points to the pen remain free and are wide enough for vehicles to enter
           Workers are able to move around freely
   • Pond design and location
           Shallow water, especially near entrance to enclosure
           Consideration of pond width to reduce the crocodiles’ lunging abilities
           Maximum land area between entry and water’s edge
           Clear water to maintain visual contact with crocodiles
           Enclosures are able to be drained after heavy rain or have built in overflow
           capacities
   • Landscape design
           Strategically locate nesting material and areas so that females are more likely
           to nest in chosen areas, allowing workers greater access
           Workers have enough room to move freely, with good distance away from
           ponds
           Grass and other plants that require maintenance are not located near the
           water’s edge (a concrete barrier can be installed around the water’s edge to
           eliminate the need for grass)
   • Slips, trips and falls hazards -
           Water points, hoses, drains etc are underground services or are fixed to
           fences
           Slippery ground surfaces are avoided

Through a risk management approach you may find that you need to redesign your
enclosures to manage the risks. When redesigning enclosures you should consult with
workers, workplace health and safety officers, workplace health and safety
representatives, management and industry associations to ensure safe design.




                                                                             Page 30 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005



Chapter 6 - Crocodile Farms.

This section is designed to assist persons conducting a business or undertaking, including
employers and other obligation holders at crocodile farms to discharge their obligation
under workplace health and safety legislation.

Workers should be considered competent to perform all the relevant farming tasks they
are involved in. Appendix 3 outlines a suggested training program to ensure that workers
are competent.


6.1 Pen Design.

A well designed pen is one of the most effective control measures in reducing the risk of
injury to workers. The safest pen designs do not require workers to enter the enclosure to
perform tasks whilst crocodiles are present. An added bonus of this design is lower stress
levels for crocodiles.

Breeding crocodiles need adequate space to establish territory and therefore minimise
fighting. Fighting crocodiles may require veterinary care, which introduces additional risks
to workers. Large enclosures with lots of space per crocodile may still be dangerous due to
aggressive crocodiles trying to dominate and protect their environment.

Pens should be designed so they can not be easily accessed by persons other than
workers. All pens should be fenced to comply with the requirements of the Environmental
Protection Agency, Code of Practice -Crocodile Farming, Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Regardless of what style of pen or enclosure is used, the basic design principle is to
provide safe access to all parts of the pen, for all activities including all maintenance tasks.
It may be necessary to have multiple gates to allow safe access and egress to the different
parts of the pen.

If you choose to use lagoon style pens, access for vehicles is paramount. If breeders are
going to be held in these pens, you must assess the risk of egg collection. Multiple entry
points may assist in decreasing the risk when collecting eggs.


6.2 Egg Collection.

Egg collection is a high risk task, due to the risk of crocodile attack from:
   • the female crocodile guarding the nest
   • other female crocodiles guarding their own nests in the area
   • territorial male crocodiles.




                                                                                 Page 31 of 39
                                                                                February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


When performing egg collection the following control measures should be considered:
  • isolation of crocodiles e.g. by means of gates, fencing or other barriers
  • isolation of the worker by physical barrier so that crocodile attack is not possible
     while egg collection is being performed
  • restraint of crocodile by top-jaw rope
  • use of spotters in conjunction with workers to distract crocodile(s), using physical
     barriers where required.

The use of spotters and workers for distraction is only a suitable method where there are
small numbers of crocodiles in the pen. This method is unsuitable for confined pens.

Workers entering crocodile pens should be competent or if undergoing training be
accompanied and directly supervised by a competent person.




                                                                           Page 32 of 39
                                                                          February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005



Appendix 1 – Workplace Health and Safety References

The table below is a list of workplace health and safety legislation and supporting
documents which applies to the exhibiting and farming of crocodiles. Other legislation and
documents may apply to risks at the workplace.

Legislation             Topic                                 Section
Workplace Health and    Obligations of employers              28
Safety Act 1995         Obligations of self-employed          29
                        persons
                        Obligations of persons conducting     29A
                        a business or undertaking
                        Obligations of persons in control     30
                        of workplaces
                        Obligations of designer of building   34B
                        or other structure used as a
                        workplace
                        Obligations of person in control of   34C
                        relevant workplace area
                        Obligations of workers and other      36
                        persons at a workplace
Workplace Health and    Registering workplaces, plant and     Part 2
Safety Regulation       plant design
1997                    Prescribed occupations                Part 3
                        Prescribed activities                 Part 3A
                        Workplace Health and Safety           Part 4
                        Officers
                        Injuries, illnesses and dangerous     Part 7
                        events
                        Noise                                 Part 10
                        Asbestos                              Part 11
                        Hazardous substances                  Part 13
                        Confined Spaces                       Part 15
                        Excavations                           Part 17
Advisory Standards      Risk Management                       Whole document is relevant
                        Hazardous Substances                  Whole document is relevant
                        First aid                             Whole document is relevant
                        Manual Tasks                          Whole document is relevant
                        Plant                                 Whole document is relevant
                        Noise                                 Whole document is relevant
                        Prevention of Workplace               Whole document is relevant
                        Harassment
                        Workplace Amenities                   Whole document is relevant




                                                                                  Page 33 of 39
                                                                                 February 2005
    Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005



    Appendix 2 – Hazard Checklist

Hazards                                                                   Tick off   Comments
Providing information, instruction, training and supervision?
Induction training has been performed for each worker?
Have new workers been introduced to key personnel, including:
    • The Workplace Health and Safety Officer (if the workplace has
      more than 30 workers);
    • The Workplace Health and Safety Representative (if one has
      been elected);
    • The fire warden;
     • The first aid officer.
The competency of workers has been assessed?
Specific training has been provided for high risk tasks such as egg
collection?
Workers are adequately supervised, especially those receiving
training?
Records of training are kept and they record:
     • names of persons who received training;
    • dates of the training sessions;
     • skills taught;
     • outline of the course content;
     • names of persons who provided the training and their
       qualifications;
     • tasks able to be performed once training has been delivered.
Emergency Planning
Planning has been carried out for emergencies from internal and
external?
The workplace has the following:
     • access for emergency vehicles;
     • a system for retrieving injured persons;
     • a system for evacuation;
     • training in emergency procedures for members of the public
          and staff;
     • staff training for emergency situations with crocodiles or other
          animals;
First Aid
Does the workplace have a clearly identifiable first aid kit?
Is the first aid kit regularly monitored and restocked?
Does the workplace have trained personnel to administer first aid?
Communication Systems
A reliable communication system is supplied at the workplace?
Working near crocodiles
Work is performed from outside of the enclosure or pen where
possible?
All workers entering enclosures are competent or accompanied by a
competent worker?
Only competent workers are allowed to enter zone B of the crocodile
exclusion zones?
Workers undergoing training are accompanied and directly supervised
by a competent worker when entering crocodile enclosures?
Where workers are required to enter the pen or enclosure appropriate

                                                                                           Page 34 of 39
                                                                                          February 2005
    Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

control measures have been implemented such as isolation of
crocodiles or use of spotters?
Workers have been trained in regards to crocodile behaviour?
Records of crocodile behaviour are kept?
Adequate lighting is provided for tasks to be performed at night?
Working with crocodiles
Pen or enclosure has been deigned with maintenance, relocating and
other tasks in mind?
One person is nominated to coordinate the capture and restraint?
A risk management process is performed to ensure all risks associated
with the capture and restraint of crocodiles are controlled?
Zoonotic diseases
Workers have been informed regarding the risk of contracting a
zoonotic disease?
Workers have been trained regarding how to control the risks
from zoonotic diseases?
Medicating and treating crocodiles
The administration of scheduled medications to animals is
performed by qualified veterinary surgeons or persons with
authorisation from the Chief Executive, Queensland Health?
Entry to enclosures
Person entering the enclosure is there for work purposes?
The following are considered to ensure the risk of entry to enclosures
at the workplace is managed and the risk of crocodile attack has been
minimised:
     • the person entering is a competent worker or if a non-worker
         has reasonable grounds for entering and is accompanied by a
         competent worker;
     • the person entering has completed a formal on the job training
         program for entering the enclosure and performing the task
         while in the enclosure;
     • clear instruction has been given regarding the task to be
         performed while in the enclosure;
     • the instructions are understood and the worker has agreed to
         conform to all safety directions given by the employer or
         representative while in the enclosure;
     • the person has received an induction to the workplace.
Workplace incidents
Notifiable workplace incidents are notified to Workplace Health and
Safety Queensland?
Workplace incidents are recorded and kept at the workplace?
Workplace injuries and dangerous events are regularly reviewed and
the information used to introduce additional control measures such as
improved worker training?
High risks tasks
Documented procedures have been developed for high risk tasks?
All workers involved with the task have received adequate training?

Adequate supervision, instruction and information has been given
regarding the task/
For workplaces lacking necessary experience, knowledge or skill to
perform the task, consideration of using an appropriately qualified
contractor?

                                                                          Page 35 of 39
                                                                         February 2005
    Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Public safety
All foreseeable risks in regards to members of the public are controlled,
including crocodile bite/attack through fencing, barriers, signage or
other controls?
Show feeding and other exhibitions
Shows are set-up so that workers do not have to enter the enclosure?
If using a feeding bay the fencing meets the requirements of the Code
of Practice of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological
Parks and Aquaria Queensland, Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles and
American Alligators’?
Consideration has been given to supervision and size of tour groups?
Members of the public handling crocodiles are:
  • under the supervision of an experienced person at all times;
  • handling a crocodile which has its mouth tied securely;
    •   handling a crocodile of length less than 1200 mm in length.
Fencing and barriers
Consideration has been given to guardrails and other barrier design
including:
     • barriers that prevent children from placing parts of their body,
        such as hands, into the enclosure;
     • guardrails that cannot be sat upon due to their shape;
    •   barriers that cannot be climbed or used as a foothold to obtain
        a better view;
    •   viewing areas do not require visitors to have supervision to
        ensure their safety;
    •   easy public access to ponds or enclosures in not possible.
Other control measures have been considered to be implemented in
conjunction with fencing such as:
    • signage;
    •   public address;
    •   supervision.
Enclosure design
Enclosure design has taken into account:
    •   Maintenance requirements of the enclosure such as lawn
        mowing and cleaning;
    •   Animal husbandry tasks;
    •   Show requirements e.g. feeding;
    •   Restricting access by members of the public;
    •  Fencing which complies with the requirements of the Code of
       Practice of the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological
       Parks and Aquaria Queensland, Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles
       and American Alligators’.
Pen design
Have pens been designed with all tasks in mind?
Has access by non-workers been minimised?
Have pens been designed to minimise care, such as veterinary care, to
crocodiles?
Are pens fenced in accordance with the Code of Practice of the
Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria
Queensland, Part E, ‘Australian Crocodiles and American Alligators’?
Is there safe access to the pen for workers and vehicles?

                                                                             Page 36 of 39
                                                                            February 2005
    Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005

Egg collection
Has a risk assessment been performed to identify the risks involved
and have control measures been chosen and implemented?
Have crocodile pens been designed to minimise the risk from egg
collection?
If not, have control measures been chosen and implemented to
adequately control the risk from egg collection?
Restraining and relocating crocodiles
Does the workplace have a documented procedure for restraining
and relocating crocodiles and have workers involved received
training?




                                                                       Page 37 of 39
                                                                      February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


APPENDIX 3
Example of a Training Program for the Exhibition of Crocodiles.

The training program provided is a suggested one, and may need to be varied according to the needs
of the individual establishment.

The trainee must be proficient in the skills required in each step of the training program before
proceeding to the next step.

Step 1          Ensure the trainee is aware of the company's workplace health and safety procedures and
                the WHS Guidelines: Crocodiles in Captivity. Training may commence with either hatchlings
                or juveniles. Trainees do not enter the crocodile enclosures but may commence “spotting”
                under supervision from outside the enclosure.

Step 2          Once competent in spotting, trainees progress to working only in Zone C within crocodile
                enclosures. Trainees should be taught about crocodile danger zones and to work quietly and
                methodically and to treat the animals with respect.

Step 3          Trainees to progress on to daily chores with adult freshwater crocodiles and then groups of
                sub-adult Saltwater Crocodiles and American Alligators. Trainees should learn how to avoid
                crocodiles within each enclosure based upon the characteristics of the enclosure and the
                physical capabilities of the crocodiles housed within. Institutions that carry sticks or similar
                for protection should introduce this training at this stage.

Step 4          Trainees may assist in cleaning the ponds of adult Saltwater Crocodiles and American
                Alligators. The trainee must be familiar with emergency safety drills and know how to avoid a
                crocodile on land and at the waters edge. Restrictions placed upon the keeper by pen
                design must be explained. During this step the trainee must take part in at least one
                (crocodile) emergency drill.

Step 5          When a trainee has demonstrated an ability to work comfortably in the presence of adult
                Saltwater Crocodiles, he or she may assist in guarding a crocodile show. Trainees will be
                supervised in guarding by a senior keeper for a minimum of ten shows. The training must
                take animal, enclosure and human risk factors into account.

Step 6          The trainee, after successfully completing Step 5 and competent in guarding, may
                commence feeding adult crocodiles under strict supervision. This initially will start with
                throwing food to adults either over a fence or from within the enclosure. Feeding over a
                fence can lead to dangerous jumping behaviour by crocodiles and should only be conducted
                as part of a training process. Once again, the training must take animal, enclosure and
                human risk factors into account.

Step 7          Once competent in feeding adult crocodiles, the trainee may progress to hand-feeding adult
                Saltwater Crocodiles and American Alligators under strict supervision. Every enclosure is
                different and every animal has different characteristics so trainees must be trained for each
                individual adult crocodile. It is recommended that trainees correctly perform this task under
                supervision at least 15 times before they are considered competent for that particular
                crocodile in that particular enclosure.

Step 8          Show Presentations. The show presentation is seen as being vitality important to the
                zoological and crocodile farming industry as it not only is the main activity for achieving
                education, it also brings human/crocodile interactions into a public forum. Therefore all
                procedures and protocols surrounding health and safety must be in place and must be seen
                to be adhered to. The show presenter must have completed all steps above and must
                display excellent aptitude in all areas of crocodile management and enclosure maintenance.
                It is recommended that trainees correctly perform show presentations under the supervision
                of a competent crocodile show presenter at least 15 times before they are considered
                competent for that particular crocodile in that particular enclosure.


                                                                                                Page 38 of 39
                                                                                               February 2005
Guidelines for Working with Crocodiles in Captivity 2005


APPENDIX 4
Example of a Training Program for Crocodile Farm Activities

The training program provided is a suggested one and may need to be changed to suit the needs of
the individual workplace.

Step 1          Six months continuous work with hatchlings
                Minimum risk level. The trainee's duties consist of feeding, cleaning and grading of
                hatchlings by size. These duties enable trainees to become familiar with crocodile behaviour
                in a relatively safe environment.

Step 2          Twelve months continuous work with juveniles
                Medium risk level.
                Pen cleaning: The trainee learns how to perform duties safely in a pen containing large
                               numbers of crocodiles.
                Feeding:       The trainee learns safe feeding practices. Crocodiles this size can jump and
                               are large enough to inflict severe wounds.
                Grading:       Growers have to be continually graded by size. The trainee learns how to
                               restrain, capture and release crocodiles safely, and acquires valuable
                               experience in behaviour of captive animals.
                Culling:       Trainee learns how to cull crocodiles for skinning.

Step 3          Eighteen months work with adults
                High risk level.
                Feeding:         The trainee learns how to feed large crocodiles safely, recognising and
                                 taking into account seasonal and hormonal changes in animal behaviour.
                Shifting:        The trainee learns how to become a member of a team engaged in
                                 relocating animals within the farm boundaries, i.e. from pen to pen.
                Egg collection: The trainee gains experience from being a member of a team collecting
                                 eggs for incubation.
                Show feeding: The trainee learns how to perform duties associated with show feeding
                                 safely.

Step 4          One year’s egg collecting or show feeding
                The trainee acts as assistant to a supervisor and under supervision.

Step 5          Formal assessment of skills, temperament and competence
                This is undertaken by an experienced supervisor before the trainee proceeds to the next
                stage of training.

Step 6          Conducting tours with the visiting public.
                At the beginning of Step 6 the trainee needs:
                  • a working knowledge of the biology and physiology of crocodiles;
                  • knowledge of the company's policy and procedure on how to conduct a show;
                  • ability to control a group of people, for the safety of himself/herself, and other people
                      in the group;
                  • knowledge of all safety procedures
                  • ability to hand-feed an adult estuarine crocodile.

The trainee will be supervised for at least 2 weeks and in this period should conduct at least eight tours.




                                                                                               Page 39 of 39
                                                                                              February 2005

								
To top