Serious apprentice incident results in SafeWork SA notification

Public news

A 4th Year Apprentice was assisting two other workers in unloading a high performance vehicle off the tow. Because the vehicle was quite low and difficult to push off the tow truck tray, the apprentice attempted to move the vehicle by inserting his hands into the vehicle’s front right alloy rim, when suddenly the vehicle moved quickly and the apprentice got his left index and middle finger caught in between the spokes and brake calliper. The apprentice was immediately taken to hospital and surgery was performed to repair both fingers that were broken as a result of the incident.

What is a workplace incident?

Incidents that occur at the workplace are defined as an unplanned or undesired event that may cause death, injury or illness, property damage or a dangerous event.

Under the law, an incident is defined as:

  • An incident resulting in someone’s death
  • An incident causing a serious injury or illness
  • A dangerous incident that is the direct result of a work environment or work-related activity

Depending on the seriousness or severity of the incident, these may have to be reported to Safework SA by the MTA as it is a requirement to notify the regulator under some circumstances.

The only way the workplace can be made safer is to ensure all incidents and injuries are reported.

What is a Notifiable Incident?

South Australia's work, health and safety laws require a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to notify SafeWork SA of certain serious injuries or illnesses, dangerous incidents or deaths that occur at work immediately after becoming aware that one has occurred.

Incidents are notifiable if they arise out of the conduct of a business or undertaking and may relate to anyone at a workplace which includes a worker, contractor or member of the public. While anyone at a workplace can report a notifiable incident, PCBUs are legally obligated to do so.

Failure to report a notifiable incident to SafeWork SA is an offence and penalties apply.

Notification by the PCBU must be done as soon as practicable after having become aware of the incident and via the fastest means available. In most cases, this is by telephone. SafeWork SA may request confirmation of an incident in writing within 48 hours of your telephone notification. Where a workplace accident has occurred, the PCBU must investigate it to establish all of the factors involved and determine the appropriate actions to prevent a recurrence. By collecting incident information and analysing it within a risk management process to identify and control risks, everyone can learn from it and improve safety practice.

Serious injuries or illnesses

A serious injury or illness of a person includes:

  • Immediate treatment as an in-patient in hospital for any duration, even if the stay is not overnight or longer
  • Immediate treatment for:
  • Amputation of any body part
  • Serious head, eye or burn injury
  • Degloving or scalping
  • Spinal injury
  • Loss of bodily function
  • Serious lacerations
  • Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.

If you require further information or assistance in notifiable incidents, do not hesitate to contact the MTA’s WHS and RTW Coordinator by clicking here.