Home - What should we do if a former employee has an accident at a work event?
May 03, 2019 on chapter Work functions

A farewell party for some departing employees was held offsite on their last day. One of these employees tripped on her skirt and injured herself at the event.

After being made aware of the incident, I contacted the ex-employee to check she was okay and conducted an investigation.

Is there anything more I should do, particularly as this person no longer works for us? Our business is in NSW.

Following an injury, if you have conducted an investigation and considered what steps could be taken to eliminate or mitigate the risk that eventuated, the other matter to consider is whether any notification requirements are triggered.

Under NSW WHS laws, a person conducting a business or undertaking has a duty to report notifiable incidents to the regulator.

A notifiable incident includes one in which a serious injury has occurred. A serious injury is an injury that requires the injured person to have:

    • immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital; or
    • immediate treatment for:
      a. the amputation of any part of his or her body, or
      b. a serious head injury, or
      c. a serious eye injury, or
      d. a serious burn, or
      e. the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping), or
      f. a spinal injury, or
      g. the loss of a bodily function, or
      h. serious lacerations; or
    • medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

It includes any other injury or illness prescribed by the Regulations.

It may be that the injury sustained by your former worker is not a serious injury, as defined above, in which case, there is no obligation to report the incident.

The person who is injured does not have to be an employee or worker, it can be any other person, so long as the incident arises in the conduct of your business or undertaking. A work social event will likely be considered to be ‘in the conduct of a business or undertaking’.


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