Certain workplace incidents must be notified under state law to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland by persons conducting a business or undertaking.
At present, there are two triggers which should prompt notification of a COVID-19 case to WHSQ. A PCBU must notify WHSQ of a confirmed case diagnosed by a medical practitioner and arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking:
- that requires the person to have immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
- when work is a significant contributing factor to the infection, including if it is reliably attributable to providing treatment or care to a person, or involves contact with human blood or bodily substances.
As large numbers of positive cases continue in Queensland, if it cannot be determined that work is a significant contributing factor due to insufficient contact tracing, then there is no requirement to notify. However, WHSQ expects to be notified of any cases which are reliably understood to be significantly contributed to by work.
Under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, there is also a requirement to report injuries to insurers, in addition to workers’ compensation claims.
In the context of COVID-19, the employer would need to be satisfied the infection arose out of, or in the course of employment (eg. someone tests positive who works in a close contact office environment and other team members contract COVID-19).