In regards to incident notifications requirements, what constitutes ‘immediate treatment’? Does it include when an employee who sustains a workplace injury is taken to the site medic?
Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation does not define what constitutes immediate treatment when an employee sustains a workplace injury and is taken to the site medic. However, in a 2015 document, Safe Work Australia stated that, “Immediate treatment means the kind of urgent treatment that would be required for a serious injury or illness. It includes treatment by a registered medical practitioner, a paramedic or registered nurse… Even if immediate treatment is not readily available, for example because the incident site is rural or remote or because the relevant specialist treatment is not available, the notification must still be made.”
WHS legislation primarily refers to immediate treatment when defining serious injuries in the context of incident notification obligations. Specifically, WHS legislation refers to immediate treatment when defining serious injuries as injuries that require “immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital”. In addition to this category, WHS legislation also refers to immediate treatment when describing serious injuries like a serious head injury, a serious eye injury, a spinal injury, or an amputation of any part of one’s body.
For further information regarding immediate treatment and serious injuries in the workplace, we recommend reviewing the Health & Safety Handbook chapter Notification of Incidents.