Incident Notification

Has an injury, illness or dangerous incident occurred at your workplace?

Do you know what to do if it does, or even under what circumstances you need to complete an Incident Notification?

This post is a very condensed, summary of Incident Notification and Incident Notification 2what you are required to do.   Both the Safe Work Australia and the Queensland Government websites have great fact sheets and information, which I have linked at the end of the post.

 Legally you are required to notify Worksafe Queensland of incidents that are serious/critical and dangerous in nature.

 

 So, what is a Notifiable Incident and what do you have to do?

A Notifiable Incident includes:

  • the death of a person
  • a ‘serious injury or illness’, or
  • a ‘dangerous incident’

arising out of the conduct of a business or undertaking at a workplace.

Notifiable Incidents may relate to any person—whether an employee, contractor or member of the public.

 

What is an injury or serious illness?

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 sets out that a serious injury or illness of a person is:

  • an injury or illness requiring the person to have immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • immediate treatment for the amputation of any part of a person’s body
  • a serious head injury
  • a serious eye injury
  • a serious burn
  • the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping)
  • a spinal injury
  • the loss of a bodily function
  • serious lacerations

There are some others, however these are the most common examples that will affect those of us in the cane industry.

 

What is a dangerous incident?

A dangerous incident is an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
  • electric shock
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • the collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • the inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel.

 

Who do I notify and how do I contact them?

You are legally required to notify both Worksafe Queensland (or the equivalent in your state) and Workcover (or your alternative insurer).  These are two separate entities and both need to be notified.

Notifications can be made in several ways.

  • Call Worksafe Queensland (or the equivalent in your state);
  • Lodge an incident notification online;
  • Print a form from the website and fax the notification through, or
  • Email

Every business will have access to at least one of these means.  Notification can be made 24 hours per day (there is always an inspector on call – for telephone notifications).

 

 Who is responsible for notifying and is there a time limit of the notification?

A PCBU must make the notification and this must be done immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising from the business or undertaking has occurred.

 

Can work continue where the incident occurred?

Work should cease where the incident occurred except in the following circumstances:-

  • to assist an injured person
  • to remove a deceased person
  • to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident
  • to facilitate a police investigation
  • a Worksafe Queensland Inspector has given permission

 

What records do I need to keep?

The person conducting a business or undertaking must keep a record of each notifiable incident for at least 5 years from the date notified to Worksafe Queensland.  This includes printing a copy of your incident report before sending it.  If you can’t print it take a screen shot or photo with your phone.

My advice is not to throw anything away.  When you do inductions and training with your employees, always keep a dated copy of any documentation or training books etc you use as these may be required by a Worksafe inspector.  This is why training and induction records are so critical to a business.

 

Electrical incidents and notifications

Electrical incidents are also notifiable.  These should be reported to the Electrical Safety Office once you become aware of a serious electrical incident or dangerous electrical event  that occurs because of the conduct of your business or undertaking.

Notification is required where a person:ergon clip

  • is killed by electricity
  • receives a shock or injury from electricity, and is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor
  • receives a shock or injury from electricity at high voltage, whether or not the person is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor.

A dangerous electrical incident is:-

  • whenever a person, for any reason, is electrically unsafe around high voltage electrical equipment, even if the person does not receive an electric shock or injury
  • significant property damage caused by electricity or something originating from electricity (e.g. electrical fire)
  • unlicensed electrical work
  • unsafe electrical work
  • unsafe electrical equipment or electrical equipment that does not have electrical equipment safety system (EESS) approval markings.

 

 Notifying authorities in case of an incident

With a non-electrical incident you must notify the Electrical Safety Office.  This can be done via the telephone, email, fax or completing an online form.

 

 Can work continue where the incident occurred?

As with a non-electrical incident, work should cease.  The difference with an electrical incident is that you never touch anyone who is receiving an electric shock.  Call 000, then turn off the power (if possible).  If you cannot do this, try to separate the person from the power source using a non-conductive item (e.g. a wooden broomstick). Do not use metal items.  Administer first-aid. If the person is not breathing, start CPR.

 

What records do I need to keep?

This is the same as a non-electrical event.  Keep you records for at least 5 years and make sure you keep a copy of everything related to the event (this includes the training etc that the employee received regarding the task they were undertaking at the time of the event).

Don’t forget, both the Safe Work Australia and Queensland Government websites have more comprehensive information on this topic, so check out the link below, you never know when you might need it.

Stay safe.

 

Acknowledgments:  www. safeworkaustralia.gov.au, www.worksafe.qld.gov.au,  www.ergon.com.au

 

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/workplace-health-safety/incident-reporting/notifying

 

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/690/Incident-Notification-Fact-Sheet-2015.pdf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *