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Incident notification

To report an incident contact SafeWork SA by calling 1800 777 209 - this line operates 24/7 - with on-call inspectors available after-hours.

South Australia's work health and safety laws require a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to notify SafeWork SA of any serious injuries or illnesses, dangerous incidents or deaths that occur at work immediately after becoming aware that it 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: 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 incident details in writing within 48 hours of your telephone notification.

You may also notify SafeWork SA in writing by email or fax using the Notifiable Incident Report Form (PDF 205kb) but please do not use this form to report immediately life threatening issues or a death.

If you any questions about a work-related incident: contact our Help Centre on 1300 365 255.

SafeWork SA investigates notifiable incidents. The person with management or control of a workplace must, so far as is reasonably practicable, preserve the incident site until an inspector arrives at the site, or directs otherwise. The site includes any plant, substance, structure or thing associated with the notifiable incident. A number of prescribed reasons enable the person with management or control of a workplace to disturb an incident site to:

  • assist an injured person
  • remove a deceased person
  • make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident
  • facilitate a police investigation
  • follow a direction from a SafeWork SA inspector that the scene may be disturbed.

Where a workplace incident or injury (PDF 119kb) has occurred, the PCBU must investigate it to establish all of the factors involved and determine the appropriate action/s 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.

Safe Work Australia's Incident Notification Fact Sheet provides more information about mandatory reporting requirements plus examples.

Fatalities

SafeWork SA undertakes an investigation of all reported fatalities within or related to a workplace to establish if they are within the scope of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) that we administer.

We investigate the cause of each workplace fatality by obtaining sufficient information to classify the death as either a notifiable fatality, a non-notifiable fatality (e.g. a death that is not work-related), or a non-jurisdictional fatality (e.g. a road traffic death travelling between home and work).

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.

The following prescribed serious illnesses are also required to be reported:

  • any infection where the work is a significant contributing factor or is reliably attributable to:
    • working with micro-organisms
    • providing treatment or care to a person
    • contact with human blood or body substances
    • handling or contact with animals, or animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcasses or waste products
  • occupational zoonoses contracted in the course of work involving handling or contact with animals, or animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcasses or waste products, including:
    • Q fever
    • Anthrax
    • Leptospirosis
    • Brucellosis
    • Hendra Virus
    • Avian Influenza
    • Psittacosis.

Dangerous incidents

A dangerous incident is one that exposes (or imminently exposes) someone to a serious health or safety risk including:

  • 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 the like
  • collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that requires authorisation for use in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA)
  • 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.

Actions following an incident

It is important that you learn as much as you can about why an incident occurred so that you can prevent similar incidents in the future. By collecting information about the incident and analysing it, and following a risk management process to identify and control risks, everyone can learn from the incident and improve workplace safety.