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Understanding incident notification requirements

In NSW, the work health and safety laws require a person in control of a business or undertaking (PCBU) to notify SafeWork NSW of certain injuries.

What is a notifiable incident?

SafeWork NSW must be notified of:

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

What is a serious injury or illness?

A serious injury or illness includes an injury or illness which requires the person to have:

  • immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital, or
    • immediate treatment for:
    • amputation, or
    • a serious head injury, or
    • a serious eye injury, or
    • a serious burn, or
    • the separation of skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping), or
    • a spinal injury, or
    • the loss of a bodily function, or
    • serious lacerations, or
  • medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance

What is a dangerous incident?

An incident that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety because of 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, or the collapse, overturning, failure or 
    malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the 
  • 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, or
  • the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel. 

When do you need to notify SafeWork NSW?

It is critical that notification occurs immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident has occurred and by the fastest means possible. The phone number for SafeWork NSW is 13 10 50.

If notice is given by phone SafeWork NSW may request written notice within 48 hours. If the injury or illness relates to your employee, you must also notify your insurer.

Record keeping

You need to keep records of notifiable incidents for at least 5 years from the day the notice was given to SafeWork NSW.

"For guidance on record keeping for incident reporting, contact our Safety Solutions team for a incident reporting template or check out how HIA SafeScan can help with real time incident reporting onsite using QR Code technology."

Register of injuries

If an injury occurs and a workers compensation claim will be made, workers compensation laws require that a register of injures be kept, in written or electronic form, which records the following details:

  • the name of the injured worker,
  • the worker’s address,
  • the worker’s age at the time of the injury,
  • the worker’s occupation at the time of the injury,
  • the industry in which the worker was engaged at the time of the injury,
  • the time and date of injury,
  • the nature of the injury,
  • the cause of the injury.

Duty to preserve incident sites

You must ensure so far as reasonably practicable that the incident site is not disturbed until an inspector arrives or an earlier time as directed by the inspector.

What happens if you don’t notify

Penalties apply for not notifying incidents. The maximum penalty for failing to notify is $10,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a body corporate. 

What about other workplace injuries?

If a workplace injury has occurred, and it is not a notifiable incident as detailed above, you need to: 

  • provide first aid and make sure the injured person gets the right care;
  • notify your claims service providers (insurer) of any injury or illness within 48 hours;
  • record the injury in the register of injuries; and
  • maintain contact with your employee and support the injured person to recover at work

To find out more, contact HIA's Contracts and Compliance team

Email us

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