When is an incident notifiable?

By on June 12, 2008

A sound understanding of the incident reporting obligations is particularly important.

AT the recent CMPA Industry Briefing, Allan Beacon from the Construction & Utilities Program within WorkSafe gave a detailed presentation on incident notification.

Following is an extract from the ‘Guide to incident notification’ available from WorkSafe (both online and by calling 1800 136 089).

Incidents at a workplace which result in the consequences described below (notifiable incidents) must be reported to WorkSafe.

If you are uncertain about whether an incident is notifiable under any of the legislative provisions referred to below, contact WorkSafe on 132 360 to seek advice.

If an incident does occur, in summary, Part 5 of the Act requires:

  • Immediate notification of a notifiable incident to WorkSafe by phoning 132 360;
  • Written notification within 48 hours; and
  • Preservation of the incident site until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise.


The notification duty also applies to incidents that expose a person in the immediate vicinity to an immediate health or safety risk through incidents including:

  • The collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, plant that is required to be licensed or registered;
  • The collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation;
  • The collapse or partial collapse of a building or structure;
  • An implosion, explosion or fire;
  • The escape, spillage or leakage of any substance including dangerous goods; or
  • The fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or object.


Notification is required where an incident at a workplace results in:

  • Death; or
  • Serious injury.

Serious injury is used in this context to describe those incidents that result in the consequences described in section 37(1) of the Act.

They include, but are not limited to, incidents that result in a person requiring:

  • Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance
  • Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • Immediate medical treatment for:
    • Amputation
    • Serious head injury
    • Serious eye injury
    • Separation of skin from underlying tissue (for example de-gloving or scalping)
    • Electric shock
    • Spinal injury
    • Loss of bodily function
    • Serious lacerations

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