In a recent OHS matter, a firm pleaded guilty to failing to notify WorkSafe of a serious head injury sustained by an employee in a stock room and for failing to maintain & preserve the incident site for when the inspector arrived.
Under health and safety legislation what is critical for you as an Employer to note is; you are required to notify the major health and safety body in your state or territory of all notifiable incidents that occur in your workplace.
Why this case is important and why we wanted to bring it to your attention is that it highlights a critical need for you to have a process to identify when an incident is notifiable and whether to maintain/preserve the workplace following the incident.
Accordingly, you need to give clear instructions to supervisors & managers on what is a notifiable incident and once established who should be notified in the event that one occurs.
To reinforce why it is important – here are what penalties are prescribed!
If a notifiable incident occurs in your workplace and you fail to notify the regulator, you could face penalties ranging from $8,856.60 to $25,000 for an individual, or from $44,283 to $50,000 for a corporation.
If you disturb the incident site – the same penalties apply unless you can demonstrate you had a good reason for doing so.
Lesson: ensure your OHS procedures are in place and supervisors & managers are aware of what is required by them in the event of an incident which impacts on your companies & employee’s safety.