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CALL ON AUSTRALIA'S MOST
Army November 10, 2011
THE Army has implemented
measures to avoid a repeat of a
2009 incident in which an Army
cadet suffered an allergic reaction
after eating a hotbox meal during
a training exercise.
AAC staff evacuated the cadet to
hospital after he was exposed to pea-
nut allergens in the Army-provided
meal on September 24, 2009. After
treatment he was returned to the
exercise and released into his par-
After investigating the incident,
Comcare began proceedings against
the Army for breaching Section 16 of
the Occupational Health and Safety
Act 1991 by exposing the cadet and
others to the risk of allergic reaction
with hotbox meals containing peanut.
Army's Safety Incident
Management staff officer Lt-Col
Peter Davies said Army admitted the
breach and on August 31 this year
Federal Court Justice John Logan
found the Commonwealth had
breached its duty of care and imposed
a penalty of $150,000.
"In delivering his decision, the
judge recognised the efforts of Army,
and in particular AAC, in implement-
ing a comprehensive system to pre-
vent similar incidents in the future,"
Lt-Col Davies said.
Key preventative measures
Improved policies, procedures and
The implementation of a formal
risk assessment, management plan
and medical support plan for all
cadet unit activities. Those mem-
bers with allergic conditions are
required to have an action manage-
ment plan outlining the controls
and interventions required for the
Revised policies and procedures
for catering, including the prohibi-
tion on foodstuffs in which nuts is
a listed ingredient (but recognising
that foods that "may contain traces
of nuts" cannot be excluded com-
Requirement for all active Army
Cadet staff to hold a current first
aid certificate which includes the
management of anaphylaxis.
An extensive program of internal
and external reviews to ensure the
enhanced system is implemented.
Justice Logan said risk was pre-
sent whenever policies and proce-
dures were first implemented, such
as OH&S policies relating to food
"It is not enough to have
health and safety systems in place.
Employers must ensure front line
managers are implementing the sys-
tems at the workplace level," Justice
When delivering his findings,
Justice Logan quoted an extract from
Field Marshal Sir Philip Chetwode's
1932 address to the Indian Military
Academy: "The safety, honour and
welfare of your country come first,
always and every time. The honour,
welfare and comfort of the men you
command come next. Your own ease,
comfort and safety come last, always
and every time."
Army HQ chief of staff Brig
Andrew Bottrell attended the court
proceedings and said he deeply regret-
ted the incident and the potential
impacts on the cadet and his family.
"Justice Logan's comments reso-
nated with me, as they would with all
members of Army and particularly
for commanders," he said.
"The comprehensive response to
this incident highlights that Army
understands and accepts the duties
and responsibilities for the wellbeing
of its personnel; a duty and responsi-
bility that is appropriately exercised
through the chain of command."
in allergy case
Watch what you eat: The Federal Court has found the Army breached its duty
of care when a cadet suffered an allergic reaction to Army-provided hotbox
meals containing peanut.
Photo by PO Damian Pawlenko
Cyclists set for a challenge
On your bikes: Canberra-based Defence cyclists are training and raising money
for the Hartley Lifecare Cycle Challenge. From left, Sgt Lindy Turnbull, Christina
Thorne, OCdt Adam Nelson, Maj Chris Linden and Flt-Lt Jonathon Anderson get
ready to ride 450km from Canberra to Mt Kosciuszko. ACT charity Hartley Lifecare
offers flexible and innovative respite and accommodation support to people with
physical disabilities. The challenge aims to motivate and inspire others to help
children and young adults living with a physical disability. Photo by LAC Bill Solomou
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