By Joanna Weekes
As there have been numerous queries to the OH&S Helpdesk about when a workplace incident is notifiable and when authorities should be contacted after an incident, I thought it pertinent to address this query for everyone.
How to determine a notifiable incident
Notification of incidents refers to your obligation to report any serious incident that occurs in your workplace. The incident must be reported to the OHS authority in your jurisdiction or State.
11 things to do when a workplace injury occurs
- Ensure that a trained first aid officer administers first aid to the injured worker and notify their family.
- Dial 000 to request an ambulance if necessary.
- Secure and isolate the area to prevent anyone else from being hurt or exposed to the same risk.
- Preserve the scene to assist investigation and prevention activities.
- Notify the relevant parties including your local OHS authority, Workers’ Compensation authority and the appropriate people within your company.
- Contact your legal adviser to help protect your legal rights and to minimise your exposure to unnecessary prosecution.
- Maintain sufficient levels of communication with colleagues and family of the injured worker.
- Nominate a company representative to deal with the OHS Inspector.
- Commence an internal investigation and fully engage employees in the process.
- Commence disciplinary action against relevant employees if investigation reveals breach of company policy.
- Address the risks that have been identified by an OHS expert in order to prevent any similar incident form occurring in the future.
Throughout the investigation, ensure that legal professional privilege of all written communication and reports is upheld, keep copies of all the documents provided by your OHS authority, and if necessary, assert legal professional privilege in interviews during the external investigation process.