We all understand the importance of workplace safety, the tenets of which are enshrined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), making employee safety and wellbeing a legal requirement for all Australian employers.
The benefits to both employers and employees extend beyond compliance: access to appropriately and fully stocked first aid kits and automated defibrillators can mean the difference between life and death; the use of wet area rubber floor mats or anti-fatigue mats can prevent accidents occurring in the first place.
However, the employer’s responsibility doesn’t end there. The WHS Act also requires persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to notify the regulator immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred.
Significant penalties apply to PCBUs who fail to notify: up to $10,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a corporation.
But how do you determine what constitutes a ‘notifiable incident’?
Only the most serious safety incidents are intended to be notifiable, and they trigger requirements to preserve the incident site pending further direction from the regulator.
Under the WHS Act the following type of incidents that arise out of the conduct of a business must be notified to the relevant regulator:
- The death of a person
- A serious injury or illness of a person
- A dangerous incident
A “serious injury or illness” requires a person to have:
- Immediate hospital treatment as an in-patient in a hospita
- Immediate treatment for:
- An amputation of any part of his or her 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
- Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.
“Dangerous incident” means 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 pressurised substance
- An electric shock
- A fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
- A collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations
- A collapse or partial collapse of a structure
- A collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
- An inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, into an underground excavation or tunnel
- An interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel.
To learn more about Incident Notification, download the fact sheet from the Safe Work Australia website.
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It’s important that you respond promptly! Give us a call to find out all the details.
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