Workplace safety

Workplace Accidents Occur

Did you know that you actually have a legal obligation under health and safety laws to report any serious illness, injury or death or any dangerous incident that happens within your workplace?

A dangerous incident is also known as a near miss which is either something that causes a serious risk to someone’s safety or health or exposure to hazardous substances like asbestos. All hazardous substances that can cause serious risks to health and safety, whether now or in the future, need to be reported right away.

Here we outline the steps that you need to take if there is a notifiable incident:

Seek medical advice or assistance

When an incident happens and results in serious illness or injury, then you need to seek medical attention for the individual by calling emergency services if needed and performing CPR if you know how and you are advised to do so. A first aid CPR course can help workers in the event of any emergency. 

You need to take control of the site

When an accident occurs, you need to arrange for the rescue of those who are still in the vicinity, but only if it is safe to do so. The area needs to be made safe by barricading it off and putting signage up to avoid others entering the area and becoming at risk of injury. When doing this, you need to make sure that you don’t disturb the site where the accident occurred.

Report the accident internally

You will need to report every incident from major to minor and even near misses internally straight after they have occurred. An internal notification procedure will need to be established for this. Internal reporting of accidents ensures that:

  • The external notification requirements are met with the right information
  • The assistance has been provided to the employees and site managers
  • Immediate safety is assured
  • Legal advice can be taken
  • The incident site has been preserved properly
  • The right prevention activities are implemented
  • Internal investigating can be commenced

You must determine who will contact health and safety regulators about the incident. In certain cases, there will be many parties involved in the accident, who were aware of the accident or witnessed it. Those who have knowledge of the accident are obligated to ensure that the health and safety regulators have been notified. Not every party will always need to fill out a notification report; some will report on behalf of others.

Notify the regulator about the accident

The person who runs the business or a manager must notify the regulator about the accident as soon as possible. In Victoria, employers must notify the regulator once the incident has occurred.

Make a record of the incident

The injury and accident compensation laws make it a requirement for injuries to be recorded. You can keep a register of any accidents in an electronic file with back-up, a diary or book. All the workers need to know that accidents and near misses need to be reported and documented in the book. The supervisor or the first aid provider should enter the information into the book or file.

Notify the insurer

If a serious injury has occurred from an accident, there is a law that states that the worker’s compensation insurer must be notified within 48 hours of the accident occurring. Ensure you know what the laws and regulations are for the workplace before starting operations and make sure you update yourself on any changes. An emergency services officer should be hired in case an emergency occurs.