Head lice as an OHS risk to primary school teachers in Australia

Counahan, M., Walsh, H., and Speare, R. (2009) Head lice as an OHS risk to primary school teachers in Australia. Journal of Occupational Health and Safety: Australia and New Zealand, 25 (6). pp. 477-481.

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Head lice are common in primary school children in Australia, but the risk to teachers of becoming infected at school has not been addressed. In a questionnaire study of 275 primary school teachers from 16 schools in Victoria and 23 in North Queensland, almost three-quarters felt that head lice posed a risk to them, and this risk concerned over 81 %. Of the teachers, 14% in North Queensland and 4% in Victoria reported work absenteeism as a result of head lice. In Victoria, the number of days absent from school ranged from one to three (median = one day) and for all North Queensland teachers it was one day. Over half of the teachers used methods to prevent them from acquiring head lice at school. This study indicates that head lice infection is a common, but apparently unacknowledged, OHS risk to primary school teachers.

Item ID: 10788
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0815-6409
Keywords: head lice, teachers, pediculosis, primary schools, hazards
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2010 22:25
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110304 Dermatology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920117 Skin and Related Disorders @ 100%
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