Types of serious illness or injury

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Employer

If a serious injury or illness occurs at a workplace the regulator must be notified immediately.  For a fatality or very serious injury, PCBUs should notify the regulator by calling 1800 678 198 (24 hours) and then notifying online. For all other serious injury or illness notifications, please notify online.

Online reporting

General workplaces (not a mine or a petroleum/geothermal operation)

Notify an incident online

Mining

If the incident occurred on a worksite covered by the Work Health and Safety (Mining) Regulations 2022, details of the incident should be submitted to the regulator via the Safety Regulation System (SRS).

Before you can access SRS, you must register to use the system. Once this is done, you will receive a department account number which you will then use to access SRS.

SRS allows users to lodge documents and data with the Department electronically. This includes approvals, compliance, notifications, health and hygiene sampling information, levy assessment and licence and certification management. Some functions also enable customers to monitor the progress of their submissions and to upgrade and manage their licence details online.

Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Operations

If the incident occurred on a worksite covered by the Work Health and Safety (Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Operations) Regulations 2022, details of the incident should be submitted to the regulator using the Petroleum Notifiable Incident form online

If a notifiable incident occurs at or near a facility arising from a petroleum or geothermal operation, the registered operator / PCBU must report the incident to the regulator immediately after becoming aware of the incident occurring.

Reporting to the regulator can be performed by:

A guide providing operators additional information regarding their reporting obligations under both the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 and WHS (Petroleum and Geothermal Operations) Regulations 2022 are currently being drafted and will be available shortly.

In order to report an injury or illness, you will need:

  • Name and occupation of the injured or infected person
  • Details of the injury or illness/disease
  • Your contact details as the person reporting the injury or disease
  • Employer details

Types of serious illness or injury

Serious illness or injury of a person means an injury or illness requiring the type of treatment indicated in the table below, or the work related infections or zoonoses listed on this page.

Definitions

‘Immediate treatment’ means the kind of urgent treatment that would be required for a serious injury or illness. It includes treatment by a registered medical practitioner, a paramedic or registered nurse.

‘Medical treatment’ refers to treatment by a registered medical practitioner (a doctor).

Even if immediate treatment is not readily available, for example because the incident site is rural or remote or because the relevant specialist treatment is not available, the notification must still be made.

Types of treatment

 
Types of treatment Example
Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital

Admission into a hospital as an in-patient for any duration, even if the stay is not overnight or longer.

It does not include:

  • Out-patient treatment provided by the emergency section of a hospital (i.e. not requiring admission as an in-patient)
  • Admission for corrective surgery which does not immediately follow the injury (e.g. to fix a fractured nose).
Immediate treatment for the amputation of any part of the body Amputation of a limb such as arm or leg, body part such as hand,
foot or the tip of a finger, toe, nose or ear.
Immediate treatment for a serious head injury
  • Fractured skull, loss of consciousness, blood clot or bleeding in the brain, damage to the skull to the extent that it is likely to affect organ/face function.
  • Head injuries resulting in temporary or permanent amnesia.

It does not include:

A bump to the head resulting in a minor contusion or headache.

Immediate treatment for a serious eye injury
  • Injury that results in or is likely to result in the loss of the eye or total or partial loss of vision.
  • Injury that involves an object penetrating the eye (for example metal fragment, wood chip).
  • Exposure of the eye to a substance which poses a risk of serious eye damage.

It does not include:

Eye exposure to a substance that merely causes irritation.

Immediate treatment for a serious burn

A burn requiring intensive care or critical care which could require compression garment or a skin graft.

It does not include:

A burn that merely requires washing the wound and applying a dressing.

Immediate treatment for the separation of skin from an underlying tissue (such as de-gloving or scalping)

Separation of skin from an underlying tissue such that tendon, bone or muscles are exposed (de-gloving or scalping).

It does not include:

Minor lacerations.

Immediate treatment for a spinal injury

Injury to the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral vertebrae including the discs and spinal cord.

It does not include:

Acute back strain.

Immediate treatment for the loss of a bodily function

Loss of consciousness, loss of movement of a limb or loss of the sense of smell, taste, sight or hearing, or loss of function of an internal organ.

It does not include:

  • Mere fainting
  • A sprain or strain.
Immediate treatment for serious lacerations
  • Deep or extensive cuts that cause muscle, tendon, nerve or blood vessel damage or permanent impairment.
  • Deep puncture wounds.
    • Tears of wounds to the flesh or tissues—this may include stitching to prevent loss of blood and/or other treatment to prevent loss of bodily function and/or infection.
Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance

‘Medical treatment’ is treatment provided by a doctor.

Exposure to a substance includes exposure to chemicals, airborne contaminants and exposure to human and/or animal blood and body substances. 

Injury or illness in a remote location that required urgent transfer to a medical facility for treatment
  • Includes any injury or illness not specified previously that cannot be treated at or near the site of the incident;
  • A remote location is any location that is not served by ordinary ambulance services, and may include mines and offshore facilities, rail camps, geological surveys, and isolated holiday facilities;
  • A medical facility includes a hospital and any other facility that provides medical services.
Injury or illness that a medical practitioner considers likely to prevent the person from being able to do their normal work for at least 10 days
  • Captures any illness or injury not specified previously that prevents a person from doing their normal work for at least 10 days;
  • This determination may only be made by a medical practitioner and may be in the form of a medical certificate or letter;
  • Notification must be provided even if the worker is capable of light duties (e.g. a warehouse worker who is moved to desk duties for the duration of their recovery).

 

Notification is also required for the following serious illnesses and diseases:

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

PCBUs in general, petroleum and geothermal energy industries must notify WorkSafe when it is confirmed that a person has contracted COVID-19 through carrying out work and:

  • the person dies; or
  • the person is required to have treatment as an in-patient in a hospital; or
  • the person contracted COVID-19 while carrying out work that involves providing treatment or care to a person; or involves contact with human blood or body substances. In this case, the carrying out of work must be a significant contributing factor to the infection being contracted.

For WA mining operations, positive COVID-19 cases on-site are considered a potentially serious occurrence, and notification is required in accordance with Regulation 675V of the WHS (Mines) Regulations 2022.  

Notification of psychological injuries, sexual assault or harassment

Psychological injuries must be notified where they meet the above criteria, including where the psychological injury is a result of sexual assault or harassment. There are additional reporting requirements at mine sites 

Report an incident to WorkSafe poster

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