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Enforceable undertaking to improve safety for the taxidermy industry

An enforceable undertaking (EU) entered into by the Board of the Queensland Museum (BQM), will see more than $2.3 million to improve safety for workers, the workplace, industry and the community. In addition, almost $100,000 has been spent on rectification work that has provided Q fever vaccination, screening and improved policies, procedures and risk management for the taxidermy industry.

BQM is a statutory body that governs the Queensland Museum Network (QMN), who perform taxidermy the art of preserving the skin, fur, feathers or scales of an animal to display or study.

The EU follows the 2019 diagnosis of two employees of the Queensland Museum (QM) South Bank with Q fever.

It’s alleged that between 1 June 2015 and 22 February 2019, workers were exposed to the risk of serious illness from work performed in the evisceration area of the QM to prepare exhibits for display.

The source and cause of Q fever has not been identified, however, taxidermy of native animals and field work associated with collecting specimens are potential causes.

As an alternative to prosecution, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland can accept an EU to deliver health and safety benefits to workers, the industry and the community, which may not have been achieved if the matter was prosecuted.

The enforceable undertaking, worth $950,224, will see BQM:

  • refurbish and upgrade the biological specimen preparation laboratory (BSPL) at the QM
  • ensure the BSPL and other laboratories in QMN are beyond compliance
  • provide free access to BSPL for assessment, assignment, research and other professional or industry related purposes
  • provide training for QMN laboratory staff members in Certificate III Laboratory Skills Laboratory Professional Development Training
  • implement work health and safety leadership and culture surveys
  • recruit and train a project manager and form a QMN risk and compliance team with qualified employees
  • convene an EU project board to govern the EU activities
  • complete a third-party audit to assess and validate QMN’s current work health and safety systems
  • implement third party auditing of a new work health and safety management system
  • develop and promote resources for the industry including:
    • a best practice museum biological specimen preparation toolkit
    • a small museum work health and safety toolkit
    • a free educational resource profiling zoonotic diseases found in animals
  • develop an industry placement program for tertiary students
  • pay recoverable costs associated with the EU.

Further information

Find out more about enforceable undertakings.