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Workplace Bulletin
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What to do if a safety incident occurs in 

your workplace

Wednesday, 22nd October 2014, by Loran McDougall

In today's Workplace Bulletin:
  • When you must report a safety incident
Dear Reader,

October has been Safe Work Australia Month around Australia. This initiative encourages employers to focus on workplace safety to reduce death, injury and disease. But just because October is nearly over, that doesn’t mean your focus on safety can waver.

Under health and safety legislation, every Australian employer is obligated to ensure the health and safety of anyone who is affected by their business. This includes:
  • employees;
  • contractors;
  • contractors’ employees;
  • employees of your contractors’ contractors;
  • visitors; and
  • in certain circumstances, trespassers.
This duty extends to a number of aspects of your workplace, including:
  • all aspects of the conduct of your business;
  • your management and control of the workplace;
  • the physical environment, e.g. temperature or lighting;
  • workplace issues that may affect your employees’ psychological welfare, e.g. stress;
  • equipment and systems of work; and
  • facilities, e.g. cooking facilities or air conditioning.
Although you will not be held liable for breaching your health and safety duty if you could not have reasonably foreseen a health and safety risk, or if a risk arose due to something over which you had no control, it is important to be aware of what you need to do if an incident does occur in your workplace.
Today, Charles Power will fill you in on what you need to know.
But before he does…

The laws that govern long service leave vary depending on your jurisdiction.
As a result, there’s a lot of confusion around the rules for employers and the rights of your employees.
To make things clearer, Portner Press have a brand new eBook that explains how long service leave entitlements accrue, how to calculate long service leave pay and which laws apply to you. Click here to find out more.
Until next time,
Jessica Oldfield
Loran McDougall
Workplace Bulletin
There is a simple way to get your head around the laws that govern long service leave entitlements for every jurisdiction.

When you must report a safety incident
by Charles Power
Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook
If an injury, illness, incident or fatality occurs in your workplace, you are required to:
  • undertake an investigation; and
  • if the incident is serious, report it to the relevant safety regulator in your State or Territory.
Undertaking an incident investigation
The purpose of an incident investigation is to identify the underlying cause of an injury, illness or fatality. With that information, you can take steps to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks, and thus comply with your duty of care.

Reporting an incident
What is considered a serious incident and what therefore must be reported differs between States and Territories, as below.

In the ACT, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, you must provide notice of:
  • death;
  • serious injury or illness; and
  • dangerous incidents.
In Victoria, you must provide notice of:
  • death;
  • a person requiring medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance;
  • a person requiring immediate treatment as an inpatient in a hospital;
  • a person being exposed to an immediate risk to health and safety from a collapse, explosion, fire, escape of dangerous goods, a fall from a height etc; and
  • a person requiring immediate treatment for:
    • the amputation of any part of their body;
    • a serious head or eye injury;
    • the separation of their skin from an underlying tissue;
    • an electric shock;
    • a spinal injury;
    • the loss of a bodily function; and
    • serious lacerations.
In Western Australia, you must provide notice of a person suffering an injury that either results in their death or is prescribed under regulation, such as:
  • a fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis;
  • a fracture of any bone in the arm (other than in the wrists or hand) or leg (other than in the ankle or foot);
  • an amputation of an arm, hand, finger, finger joint, leg, foot, toe or toe joint;
  • the loss of sight of an eye; and
  • any other injury that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days following the injury.
Charles Power
Charles Power

Employment Law Practical Handbook

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