Mandatory reporting for safety incidents under new WA Worksafe laws

The WA Parliament has recently passed changes which requires the mandatory reporting of serious injury, illness and dangerous incidents (including near misses) to Worksafe under the new WA WHS laws.

The data collected through this reporting will also assist the industry and Worksafe to monitor the industry’s progress and highlight trend areas that may require specific attention and support, with a goal to build a culture of continuous improvement, not a blame game.

Under Part 3, s38 of the Work Health and Safety Act (2020) a person who conducts a business or undertaking must ensure that the regulator is notified immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred.

A notifiable incident (s35) means the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person or a dangerous incident.

A serious injury or illness (s36) means an injury or illness:

  • that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the person from being able to do the person’s normal work for at least 10 days after the day on which the injury or illness occurs,
  • that requires the person to have immediate treatment as an in‑patient in a hospital; or
  • that requires the person to have immediate treatment for amputation, serious injury to the head, eye or spine, loss of a bodily function or serious lacerations; or,
  • that requires the person to have treatment by a medical practitioner within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

A dangerous incident (s37) means an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk (including near miss) to a person’s health or safety such as exposure to:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance; or
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire; or
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam; or
  • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance; or
  • electric shock; or
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations; or
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure.

The incident report must be given by the fastest possible means – telephone or in writing (including electronic means). The regulator may order notice in writing within 48 hours of a telephone notification.

Having reported an incident the person conducting a business or undertaking must keep a record of each notifiable incident for at least five years from the day that notice of the incident is given to the regulator under this section.

Penalties do apply for failure to report. For an individual, a fine of $12,500 and for a body corporate, a fine of $55,000.

To report a fatality, serious injury/illness or dangerous incident contact WorkSafe 24hr reporting line on 1800 678 198.

For serious injury/illness: https://wise.commerce.wa.gov.au/wise-online/noi

For a dangerous incident: https://wise.commerce.wa.gov.au/wise-online/ndi

For further information visit: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/report-incident-0