Go Away Pies! (and not just the Collingwood Football Club)


Collingwood is the team that everyone “loves to hate”. It’s not just the team that can really stir up some trouble but their mascot too.

Earlier this month, I was cutting through a suburban park to get to a client site when all of a suddenly a black blur was in my periphery. I only just managed to duck out of the way of one such dreaded bird. It took me a moment to figure out what had happened… but by then then another one was coming at me! What a day! I panicked and took off like my life depended on it, tearing across the park as fast as I could in heels (I can report that heels are not ideal shoes for escaping birds that are out with a vengeance).   

I had gone a solid distance, then paused to reassess the situation and looked for what other devilish birds might come my way when… oh no my ankle! A bull ant must have been kicked up from the dirt in the flurry and was making its presence very well known. Next thing you know I’m kicking my feet around like a lunatic in a park in the suburbs, I’m sure people in the cars nearby watched and laughed. But it doesn’t stop there. Next (and you guessed it) – my shoe goes flying.

Frazzled, I made it to the client site eventually and had quite a story to tell.

This event, coming off the back of a more public case at Kiama Shopping Centre earlier this year, serves as a pertinent reminder of the importance of evaluating risks within the 3 Concentric Circles of Site Risk.

The iSafe Program’s 3 Concentric Circles of Risk

1.       The work activities - What are the risks of the nature of work conducted?

2.       The work site - What are the risks of the site where work is undertaken?

3.       The external environment - What are the risks of the outside environment and how they might affect workers?

The case at Kiama Shopping Centre involved a supermarket worker, on their way to work, being injured quite badly by a magpie. The resulting expense to the supermarket chain was $17,000 in lost wages to the injured worker.

The risk of wildlife to workers in the two outer concentric circles are important to consider as these risks change with season, weather conditions and other factors. Regular assessment of the risks in and around the worksite is important and once identified, steps should be taken to control them. For example: at this same client site, they occasionally had snakes enter their work site from the parkland. First Aiders were trained to effectively treat snake bites and the general workforce were often reminded of the steps to take when such an event occurs.

But it’s not enough to identify a risk and then leave it be. Regular reassessment and revaluation of the risks and whether the conditions have changed is just as crucial. After all, just like magpies, risks can come out of nowhere and leave you with a bump on your forehead.