Why it’s so important to report workplace injuries

Public news

How many times has an employee sustained an injury at work and not reported it only to find out later that it keeps getting worse and worse to the point that they now cannot go to work.

Ever had the thought, “Oh my shoulder is a bit sore, she’ll be right mate I’ll keep an eye on it, it should get better in the next few days.”

These are the type of comments the MTA’s WHS and RTW Coordinator Cos Lamberto hears while investigating an incident from workers that have either run out of sick leave, or haven’t presented for work for a period of time due to their injury.

For workers it is all about reporting the incident as a record, to not only prevent injury to others, but also early intervention, seeking the treatment they need to get back to normal duties. For the employer, it is a direct responsibility under the WHS Act.

Our policy for apprentices states that you must report injuries as soon as possible to the host and with 24 hours to the MTA. The most important reason that we ask to report all injuries is to allow us to arrange for prompt medical treatment. Proper medical care is important to reduce the possibility of a minor injury becoming worse.

Beyond the need for immediate medical treatment, there is another equally important reason to report all accidents and injuries. Accidents must be investigated and their causes found to prevent the same injuries from happening again to someone else.

The immediate result of an accident may be classified as minor, serious, or major, but they are all accidents. However, if the causes are not identified and corrected, the same conditions that caused the accident in the first place are still there waiting to cause another injury, perhaps with more severe consequences.

Experience tells us that for every serious accident, there are a greater number of minor accidents and near misses. When we ignore a minor accident or near miss, we are increasing the odds that a serious accident will occur. Accidents, whether they result in injury, are warnings that there are uncontrolled hazards.

If an injury / incident requires notification to SafeWork SA and requires them to conduct an investigation at your location, prohibition notices and penalties including fines could be on the cards if you have not taken reasonable steps to reduce the risk of injury or illness to your workplace. Below is an example of a “Staff Incident Report Form” for your information.

For notifiable injuries, call SafeWork SA on 1800 777 209. You can get more information from SafeWork on reporting by clicking here.

If you are unsure of a workplace injury being notifiable or not, contact the MTA's Workplace Relations team by calling 8291 2000.

If you require any assistance in reporting incidents involving apprentices, please contact MTA’s WHS & RTW Coordinator by clicking here or by calling 8241 0522.

The below image can be used as a guide for creating your own injury report form for your workers.