What Types of Injuries do I Need to Report to WorkSafe?

In 2015, the 1992 Health and Safety at Work Act was updated with stricter requirements. Previously only “serious harm” accidents (resulting in death or significant injury or illness) needed to be reported and the deadline was a vague “as soon as possible.” In the interest of dealing with hazards to minimise the risk of serious harm, you must now report all “notifiable events” to WorkSafe within 48 hours and keep a record of them for at least 5 years. Aside from serious harm, other notifiable events are uncontrolled occurrences resulting in risk or potential risk to someone. For your average builder, tradie, or civil operator these include: a death onsite, amputations or loss of limbs, serious head or eye injuries (beyond what’s treatable with first aid), or serious lacerations or cuts. It is essential that you have a written process in place in advance so that you don’t miss notifying Worksafe or you may find yourself penalised for non-notification.

  • What injuries could occur at my business that could require me to notify Worksafe?
  • What’s our process to do so? Who is responsible and how do they do it?

 

What Could it Cost Me If I Don’t Meet My Reporting Obligations in the Case of a Notifiable Event?

This is a criminal offence, which depending on the seriousness of the effects of the event, could land you with any combination of a heavy fine, prison time or closure of your business. While you might get away with it if no one brings any charges related to the event, if legal action is taken at a later date (for example the initial event was a hazard which didn’t initially cause injury or damage but wasn’t dealt with and there was such an outcome at a later date) when the first incident is discovered you will be immediately liable and face prosecution.

For example, In August 2017 two Auckland / Wellington based companies which were part of the same group had to pay out a combined total of nearly $130,000 for failing to report serious injuries to two staff members. Both workers were cutting wood with a bench saw and their hands came into contact with the blade. Both cases required some finger amputation and several months off work. Although Worksafe was not notified about the incident, they eventually found out when one of the employees lodged a complaint nearly two months later.

The resulting investigation discovered that neither employee had been properly trained to work with the equipment and there were not adequate systems in place to manage such risks. Furthermore, the company had been issued an improvement notice by WorkSafe requiring an implantation of a hazard management and control system prior to the events. We urge every business owner out there to learn from these mistakes and immediately put into place good processes to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.

What Can Nailed It Safety Solutions Offer My Business?

Nailed It Safety Solutions specialises in making Health and Safety simple. Our services include:

  • Health and Safety Policy/Manual built to meet your organisation’s specific requirements, including how to manage any incidents that occur.
  • Incident Investigations and advice on how to prevent reoccurrence
  • And much more.

NOW is the time to build a relationship with someone who you can call on when the worst happens. BEFORE the event is the best time to get your policies and processes in place, otherwise you’ll have to deal with the consequences.

So click here book a free consultation with one of our friendly Health and Safety Consultants now!

 

Chris Brosnan

Chris Brosnan

Chris is the director of Nailed It Safety Solutions, a Christchurch-based Health and Safety company specialising in Residential Construction and Tourism. If you like any of his blog posts and want to catch up for a coffee then it’s a good bet he’s up for that.

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and should not be taken as advice. It reflects the opinions of the writer only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Nailed It Safety. Nailed It Safety Solutions Limited, its directors, and shareholders will not be held liable for the use or misuse of this information.

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