Most members would be aware that you must notify SafeWork SA or NT WorkSafe of certain incidents that occur in the workplace, but how does that relate to COVID-19?
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must notify the regulator of fatalities and certain serious injuries/illnesses or dangerous incidents that occur at work as a result of the conduct of the business or undertaking. Incidents may relate to anyone at a workplace such as a worker, contractor or member of the public.
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.
Certain serious illnesses are also required to be reported.
A dangerous incident means an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker, or any other person, to a serious risk to a person's health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:
- uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
- uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
- uncontrolled escape of gas, steam or a pressurised substance
- electric shock
- fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
- collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that requires authorisation for use
- collapse or partial collapse of a structure
- collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation
- inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, an underground excavation or tunnel
- interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel
- unplanned loss of control of heavy earthmoving machinery, including brake or steering failure, at a mine.
Notification of a COVID-19 virus case is required if it can be reliably attributed to a workplace exposure and it results in either:
- the person is required to have treatment as an in-patient in hospital; or
It is an offence to fail to report a notifiable incident.
While anyone at a workplace can report a notifiable incident, the PCBU is legally obligated to do so, as soon as practicable after having become aware of the incident.
In South Australia, report a notifiable incident to SafeWork SA:
For life threatening issues or a death
- call 1800 777 209 (statewide – 24 hours)
For non-life threatening injuries/issues
- call on 1300 365 255, or
- use the online notifiable incident form, or
- email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Northern Territory, report a notifiable incident to NT WorkSafe by:
- calling 1800 019 115, or
- emailing email@example.com