Failing to notify a serious incident is an offence
A Queensland transport company has been fined $5000 for failing to report a serious injury which hospitalised a worker for a week.
The company pleaded guilty in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 by not reporting a notifiable incident to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) immediately. WHSQ first heard about the incident from the injured worker more than a year after it occurred.
Businesses must report serious incidents classed as notifiable to either WHSQ or in some cases the Electrical Safety Office (ESO), as soon as they are aware the incident has happened.
An incident notifiable to the ESO is a ‘serious electrical incident’ (Section 11 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002) and a ‘dangerous electrical event’ (Section 12 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002).
A serious electrical incident includes a person being killed by electricity or receiving a shock or injury from electricity or electricity at high voltage.
A dangerous electrical event includes when a person is not electrically safe, property damage caused by electricity, unlicensed electrical work, and unmarked electrical equipment.
An incident notifiable to WHSQ is a fatality or serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident.
A serious injury or illness includes hospitalisation or immediate treatment for burns, lacerations, eye damage, internal organ damage, spinal damage, amputation, degloving, sever cuts, or loss of bodily function.
If a notifiable incident arises out of more than one business, then each business must notify ESO or WHSQ. Not all duty holders need to notify—only one does, for example contractors at a construction workplace may agree that the principal contractor is responsible for all notifiable incidents.
An incident site must not be disturbed until an inspector arrives at the site or directs otherwise. The person with management or control of the workplace is responsible for preserving the incident site.
Failing to notify a serious incident immediately after becoming aware that it has occurred is an offence and records of the incident must be kept for five years.
Electrical safety and work health and safety inspectors are conducting campaigns to monitor compliance with incident notification requirements and contraventions will result in enforcement action.
Read more on why and when workplaces need to notify.