Bugs Ed - RISK ASSESSMENT

Description of Activity: 
Description of Activity:  Our workshops consist of a PowerPoint Presentation; display cases of dead insect specimens and a live insect display.

PowerPoint Presentation:
This is conducted using your school’s computer or laptop; data projector & screen.  Any problems incurred whilst using this equipment is beyond the scope of our company’s risk assessment.

Insect Display Cases:
These cases are held by the presenter and are not to be handled by the students.  The open topped cases contain dead insects, spiders & scorpions from around the world.  Exotic material has been imported under the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service Guidelines.  Specimens are treated with ordinary household naphthalene (moth balls), a type of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), to combat damage against pests & moulds.  It is used in extremely low levels and while students do not come into any direct contact with the substance, a faint smell is often detectable.  The Australian Government Department of the Environment & Water Resources has more information on PAH.  WorkSafe Australia Health Guidelines state that short term exposure to naphthalene should not exceed a concentration of 15 parts per million.  The levels used in our display cases are unlikely to exceed 1 part per million and are therefore regarded to be well within safety guidelines. 
Several of the dead insect specimens feature sharp spines, fangs or itchy hairs.  These only pose a risk if they are directly touched by a student.  The cases are therefore held a safe distance from students at all times and the presenter outlines specific rules against touching specimens.  If in the event a specimen is touched, due to their brittle nature it is more likely that they will crumble & break than pierce or scratch a child’s skin.

Live Insects:
All of the live insects featured in our workshops are flightless and considered to be harmless.  The workshops usually feature a preying mantis which is held by the presenter only.  Whilst they do possess sharp spines, they will in no way come into contact with students.
The species of stick insects used in the workshops may be one or more of the following: Spiny Leaf Insect (Extatosoma tiaratum); Goliath Stick Insect (Eurycnema goliath), Children’s Stick Insect (Tropidoderus childrenii), Rentz’s Stick Insect (Onchestus rentzi), Titan stick insect (Acrophylla titan), or tessellated stick insect (Anchiale austrotessulata).These species are native to Australia and are completely herbivorous, feeding on a diet of Eucalyptus leaves.  These insects do not possess a stinging apparatus and can therefore not inflict a venomous sting.  The jaws & mouthparts of these insects are so small that they are unable to inflict a bite upon a human being.  They are not toxic in any way, nor do they possess any itchy hairs, secrete any toxic chemicals or carry any documented diseases or bacteria which are harmful to humans.

Other Live Insects:
At certain times of the year it may be necessary (or desirable) for our presenters to bring along other insects for the children to see.  These may include Rhinoceros Beetles, Giant Burrowing Cockroaches, butterfly or beetle larvae and a Native Stingless Bee hive.  Any specimens brought into the classroom are totally harmless and do not possess a stinging apparatus.  If you would like more information on what specific insects will be included in your visit, please contact Michelle Gleeson (michelle@bugsed.com).

Holding Stick Insects: 
At a point in the workshop, students are given the opportunity to hold a Children’s Stick Insect, Rentz's Stick Insect (or another similar species such as the Tesselated Phasmid). This species is a very gentle, slow moving insect which lacks any kind of spines, itchy hairs or stinging apparatus.  They have a small pair of claws or hooks at the end of each leg for climbing.  These are highly unlikely to pierce the skin or inflict any other injuries.  Students are given extensive instructions on how to handle the insects correctly & the presenter retains contact with the insect at all times.

Contents of the Activity Bags:
We have avoided using any sharp or harmful objects in our activity bags.  The magnifying glasses & forceps are made of plastic and are suitable for children aged 4 years and up.  A choking hazard would apply if any of the contents were put in a child’s mouth or used in any other inappropriate manner.

Last updated: December, 2016.  Bugs Ed.


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