I’m asked from time to time, “What sort of injury or event should be reported to WorkSafe.” Meaning : How bad does it need to be, to report.
To go back a step. Work related injuries or near misses (or health issues) need to be recorded, internally. Its not just for the purposes of recording. (More paperwork!)
1)It’s to formally analyse what happened and why it happened and perhaps more importantly, “What we plan to do to prevent reoccurrence”. This sort of investigation should be carried out impartially and without “blame”. In a small firm it would usually be the business owner or manager that carries it out.
2)It’s important to review incident and accident records on a regular basis. Is there a pattern emerging? eg Is the same event repeating? If so, it’s important to sort it.
So, at what level do I report it to WorkSafe? There are some guidelines outlined on the WorkSafe website here. It outlines specific injuries, events, and health concerns.
This helps sum it up (From WorkSafe)
All injuries or illnesses that require (or would usually require) a person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment are notifiable.
Admitted to a hospital means being admitted to hospital as an inpatient for any length of time – it doesn’t include being taken to the hospital for out-patient treatment by a hospital’s Emergency Department, or for corrective surgery at a later time, such as straightening a broken nose.
However, it’s important to read the webpage above. (Scroll down the page) There are circumstances where a person may not be admitted to hospital, that need to be reported.
Bottom line, if in doubt, report it. You can go online and answer a few simple questions that will clarify if it needs to be reported, or not. Here
If you have a minute, go online now, and check it out. You will get a better idea.
Health and Safety is not something you are thinking about constantly. There are so many pressures you face in a day, around staff, productivity, customer expectations, financial concerns, the list goes on.
However it is important to assess whether the safety (and health) controls you have in place are effective and being used by your staff.
1)ACT : Take action on lessons learnt
2)PLAN : Assess the risk and identify suitable control measure (Talk with staff about this. )
3)CHECK : Monitor the performance of the control measure. (This includes workers reporting incidents and accidents. These may well show an ineffective control)
4)DO : (implement control measures that effectively eliminate or minimise the risk)
WorkSafe point out that PPE should not be the first or only control. In other words, the risk needs to be reduced or eliminated by other means first.
Here’s the recognised method as outlined in the HS Regulations:
1)Eliminate the risk altogether. If not possible :
2)Substituting a safer method or piece of equipment for the job. (a simple example is using battery operated tools instead of 240v tools. There’s no chance of being electrocuted!)
3)Isolating the risk. This might be fencing off the area being worked on, or putting a noisy piece of kit away from the work area
4)Engineering controls. Eg redesigning the tool to include guards. Or even making sure guards are always used!
5)Administrative controls. Eg Safe methods of work. Rotating jobs to reduce boredom etc
6)PPE. Earplugs, Gloves, Safety glasses etc
Start at the top. Get as many controls as you can in the first five areas. Then “mop up” the residual risk with PPE
Bob is passionate about good workplace Health and Safety. Hes experienced , qualified, easy to talk to and always available.