Trial of an injury reporting system for surf lifesavers in Australia

Work. 2010;36(2):181-92. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2010-1019.


Objective: To pilot an injury reporting form designed for use in Australian surf lifesaving; the need for such a form is to meet legislative requirements and as an initial step in developing an injury prevention program for volunteer surf lifesavers [4].

Participants: Competitors at the National Surf Life Saving Championships (NSLSC) held at Kurrawa Beach, Queensland, in 1998/1999 who reported to the medical tent over the course of the five-day event. Twenty-five volunteers of varying experience staffed the medical tent and included one paramedic coordinator, two doctors, three nurses, three physiotherapists and 16 first-aid officers.

Method: An injury reporting form was designed using the Australian Sports Injury Data Dictionary [1] and pilot tested at the NSLSC in 1998/1999. The layout and format were based on similar forms used in other sports (eg skiing) with a number of the items altered to be more specific to surf lifesaving competition events. Four strategies were used to assess if the form provided interpretable data: number of forms returned; completeness of data recorded in each section; detailed analysis of difficulties in coding and entering data; detailed feedback from the medical tent personnel about the usability of the form.

Results: A total of 433 completed forms were returned and from these both descriptive and injury incidence data were obtained. Medical tent personnel reported the form to be generally usable, though they suggested some changes to it.

Conclusions: The injury reporting form was found to be an effective tool to describe injuries and calculate injury incidence. Following minor revisions, a modified form was designed to improve the quality and accuracy of the information obtained; this form has been used nationally since 2001.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Records / standards
  • Rescue Work*
  • Risk Management
  • Swimming
  • Wounds and Injuries / classification
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control