When should I notify WorkSafe?

By Craig Carlyle, director at Maintenance Transformations

We often get asked by clients about when to notify WorkSafe after an incident. While a good rule of thumb is to err towards notification, a few simple guidelines can help as not all events or incidents require notification.

A notifiable event is any of the following arising out of business activities:

  • a death;
  • a notifiable illness or injury; or
  • a notifiable incident.

Notifiable illnesses or injuries include serious injuries resulting from accidents in the workplace. All injuries or illnesses that require a person to be admitted to hospital as an inpatient are notifiable. These may include accidents such as amputations, serious head injuries, burns, exposure to toxic chemicals, etc. For a full list of notifiable illnesses or injuries check the WorkSafe website.

A notifiable incident is an unplanned or uncontrolled incident caused by workplace activities that exposes workers or others to a serious risk arising from immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • a substance escaping, spilling, or leaking;
  • an implosion, explosion or fire;
  • gas or steam escaping;
  • a pressurised substance escaping;
  • electric shock;
  • the fall or release from height of any plant, substance, or thing; etc.

A notifiable incident may also include any other incident declared in regulation to be a notifiable incident, or an incident which may have only resulted in minor injuries but had the potential to cause serious injury, illness or death.

If you need to notify WorkSafe there are three steps to take:

  1. Preserve the site;
  2. Notify WorkSafe;
  3. Keep records.

Take all reasonable steps to ensure the site is not disturbed. Exemptions would include helping an injured person, removal of a deceased person (by an authorised individual), to minimise additional risks or under the direction of a police official.

To ensure that the site is not disturbed the work set-up should not be changed and any plant, substances, etc. involved in the event should stay where they are. You may need to suspend work in the area although work can continue elsewhere.

Notify WorkSafe as soon as possible either by phone or by form, (https://www.worksafe.govt.nz/notify-worksafe/)

Craig Carlyle is director at Maintenance Transformations. His expertise lies in the practical application of maintenance and health and safety management systems in the workplace. He is also a life member of the Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Xpress Engineer NZ, NZ Engineering News or the parent company, Hayley Media.