Preservation of Incident Sites

The person with management or control of a workplace at which a notifiable incident has occurred must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the site where the incident occurred is not disturbed until an inspector arrives at the site or directs otherwise (whichever is earlier).

Requirements to preserve the incident site apply to any plant, substance, structure or thing associated with the notifiable incident. This means that any evidence that may assist an inspector to determine the cause of the incident is preserved.

An incident site may be disturbed:

  • to assist an injured person;
  • to remove a deceased person;
  • to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident;
  • to facilitate a police investigation; or,
  • an inspector has given permission either in person or by telephone.

The sooner WorkSafe ACT is notified, the sooner the site can be released.

If after arriving at the incident site an inspector considers that it should remain undisturbed in order to facilitate investigation of the incident they may issue a non-disturbance notice. This notice must specify the period for which the notice is to apply (no more than seven days).

Penalties apply if an individual or body corporate fails to preserve a site.

Requirements to preserve a site only apply in relation to the immediate area where the incident occurred, not the whole workplace.

If you are unsure about what you need to do to preserve a site, ask the telephone operator when you notify the incident.

You can also ask to be relieved of your legal obligations to preserve the incident site at this point (even if you don't meet the strict criteria above).

Penalties apply for failure to comply with site preservation requirements.

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