Notify WorkSafe ACT

Two ways to notify WorkSafe ACT

There are two ways you can notify WorkSafe ACT when you observe issues in the workplace.

Serious events or incidents

If a serious event identified under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) has occurred in your workplace, you must notify WorkSafe ACT by completing a Notification of incident form.

Workplace concerns or complaints

If you have a concern or complaint about a workplace or have seen something that doesn't feel right, then you can submit a report to WorkSafe ACT. When reporting a workplace concern or issue, you can either choose to identify yourself or remain anonymous.

Notify a serious event

Any person conducting a business or undertaking from which the notifiable incident arises must notify WorkSafe ACT immediately after becoming aware that it has occurred.

If the 'notifiable incident' arises out of more than one business or undertaking then each must ensure that the incident has been notified to WorkSafe ACT. In these circumstances the duty holders must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult, cooperate and coordinate to put appropriate reporting and notification arrangements in place.

For example contractors at a construction workplace may agree that the principal contractor for the workplace will notify of all notifiable incidents that occur at the workplace.

When and how to notify

Immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) or dangerous occurrence under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 has occurred, a person in control of a business or undertaking or person in control of premises respectively must ensure that WorkSafe ACT is notified of the notifiable incident or dangerous occurrence by the fastest possible means, either by:

Within 48 hours of the initial notification, WorkSafe ACT must be notified in writing of the notifiable incident or dangerous occurrence by completing the Notification of Incident form.

Completed forms are to be forwarded to PO Box 158, Canberra City ACT 2601.

In general a person conducting a business or undertaking becomes aware of a notifiable incident at the time that any of their workers in supervisory or managerial roles become aware of that incident. For example if a worker suffers a serious injury and notifies their immediate supervisor it is at this point that the person conducting a business or undertaking is considered to be aware of the incident. The person conducting a business or undertaking should have procedures in place to ensure compliance with their notification obligations.

It is essential that persons conducting a business or undertaking develop appropriate internal communication systems to ensure safety incidents are promptly brought to the relevant persons attention.

What is a notifiable incident?

Notifiable incidents include:

  • the death of a person
  • a serious injury or illness of a person
  • a dangerous incident

A serious injury or illness includes:

  • an injury or illness that requires immediate treatment as an in-patient in hospital (An in-patient in hospital is a person who has been admitted to hospital and requires at least one overnight stay)
  • amputation
  • serious head, eye or burn injury
  • degloving or scalping
  • spinal injury
  • loss of bodily function
  • serious laceration
  • exposure to a substance which requires medical treatment within 48 hours

A dangerous incident means any incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person's health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
  • electric shock
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the Regulation)
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • the collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • the inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • another event prescribed in the Regulation

What is a dangerous occurrence?

Reporting of a dangerous occurrence under the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 must be made if;

  • a person in control of premises believes there is a substantial likelihood of a dangerous occurrence happening at the premises; or
  • there is a dangerous occurrence as defined under the Act.

A dangerous occurrence includes:

  • an incident causing or creating a substantial risk of:
    • death or serious harm to a person, whether at the premises or elsewhere
    • substantial damage to property or the environment, whether at the premises or elsewhere
  • anything declared by regulation to be a dangerous occurrence
  • any other incident involving a serious and immediate risk of anything mentioned above

Examples of dangerous occurrences include:

  • a spill or other loss of containment of a dangerous substance
  • an uncontrolled emission of a dangerous substance
  • a fire, explosion or release of energy

What information will be requested?

A clear description of the incident with as much detail as possible will help WorkSafe ACT assess whether or not the incident is notifiable and the need for a follow-up investigation by WorkSafe ACT.

Where insufficient details are provided in a telephone notification, WorkSafe ACT may contact the notifier if further information is required. All work health and safety regulators have agreed that the following information should be collected as a minimum at the point of incident notification:

  • nomination of the type of notifiable incident such as death, serious injury or illness, or dangerous incident
  • incident address, date and time
  • details that describe the specific location of the notifiable incident such as section of the warehouse or the particular piece of equipment that the incident involved to assist instructions about site disturbance
  • description of the notifiable incident
  • injured person's name, salutation, date of birth, address and contact number
  • injured person's occupation
  • relationship of the injured person to the entity notifying
  • description of serious injury or illness
  • initial treatment of serious injury or illness
  • where the patient has been taken for treatment (if applicable)
  • legal and trading name of the person conducting a business or undertaking
  • business address (if different from incident address), ABN/ACN and contact details (including phone number and email);
  • action taken or intended to be taken (if any) to prevent recurrence
  • notifyee's name, salutation, contact phone number and position at workplace
  • name, phone number and position of person to contact for further information (if different from above)

All of this information may not be available at the time of notification. If this is the case you must still immediately notify WorkSafe ACT and provide the information you have. The rest of the information will still be collected at a later time.

Upgrading a notification

If a notifiable incident escalates from a serious illness or injury to a death, the person conducting a business or undertaking must provide separate notification to WorkSafe ACT immediately after becoming aware that the person has died.

Explore the following pages under this section to obtain more specific information:

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