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Accident, Injury, Incident, Hazard Reporting and Investigation Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University aims to promote the timely reporting and investigation of all accidents, incidents and hazards and to ensure legislative compliance. The aim of this policy is to ensure that all workers are aware of their responsibility in relation to accident/injury/incident/hazard reporting.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(2) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this policy:

  1. Accident - An unplanned event which has the potential to disrupt normal safe operations, such as a system failure, which results in, for example, a fatality, injury, occupational illness, loss of containment, uncontrolled discharge to the environment, legal claim or any other Workplace Health and Safety non-compliance.
  2. Incident - An event (near miss), which could have caused an accident, but did not.
  3. Notifiable Incidents - These are incidents where there is a serious risk to health and safety. Dangerous Incidents are prescribed by the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and must be reported to WorkCover NSW through the University's Work Health and Safety Unit (WHS Unit).
  4. Hazard - Any thing or any condition that causes or has the potential to cause injury, harm or ill health.
  5. Lost Time Injury - An incident where there is an injury that prevents the employee from attending work for one full day/shift or more.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(3) The University requires that an Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Notification Form be completed in regard to all accidents/incidents that occur in areas under the control of the University. This form should be completed and forwarded to the WHS Unit within 48 hours of the occurrence of the accident/incident.

(4) The University also requires that all accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards be investigated and that appropriate strategies be developed and implemented to eliminate or reduce the likelihood of future occurrences. In order to achieve this, the University requires that all accidents, injuries, incidents and hazards be investigated in a timely fashion.

(5) This policy applies to all University staff and students as well as to individuals who visit or work at the university.

Part A - Accountability

Employees

(6) Employees must:

  1. Report all accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards to their direct supervisor and/or Manager.
  2. Ensure the completion of the Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Notification Form.

Direct Supervisors

(7) Direct Supervisor must:

  1. Investigate all reported accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards;
  2. Ensure corrective action is taken to prevent recurrence;
  3. Forward all appropriate documentation to the WHS Unit in a timely fashion.

Work Health and Safety Coordinator

(8) Work Health and Safety Coordinator must:

  1. Review all accident/injury/incident/hazard report forms;
  2. Ensure completion of accident/injury/incident/hazard report forms in a timely fashion;
  3. Provide feedback, advice and support to direct supervisors;
  4. Provide guidance and assistance to direct supervisors to prevent a recurrence of the same or similar accident/injury/incident/hazard;
  5. Monitor the investigation process and control strategies implemented;
  6. Ensure notification to WorkCover NSW of a notifiable incident, immediately, once made aware that a notifiable incident has occurred.
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Section 4 - Procedures

Part B - Scope

(9) This procedure covers the requirements associated with the investigation of accidents/injuries/incidents and hazards, including fatalities, injuries, occupational illnesses, loss of containment, environmental non-compliance (with licence), public complaints and legal claims. This includes events which actually caused or could have caused any of the above. The procedure covers - immediate action, investigation, classification and any corrective action.

(10) The established Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Reporting System is to be used by workers, students or visitors, who identify a hazard, are injured or become ill in connection with their work at or visit to the University.

Part C - Objective

(11) To ensure all incidents and accidents are properly investigated.

(12) To ensure corrective action is taken to prevent re-occurrence and reduce the risk potential of the working environment.

(13) To identify hazards in the workplace.

Part D - Immediate Action

(14) In the event of an accident/injury/incident/hazard workers shall, where it is safe to do so, take appropriate immediate action to minimise the risk of further injury or damage (for example, first aid, fire fighting, contain spills, contact emergency services). Further details can be found in the University's Emergency Procedures Manual.

Part E - Reporting

(15) Reporting of accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards is essential for the identification of hazards in the workplace.

(16) Incidents with the potential for injury or damage (near miss incidents) should also be reported.

(17) The person directly involved in the accident/injury/incident or hazard or, if unable, another person (staff member, worker) shall complete the Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Notification Form. This form should be completed and forwarded to the WHS Unit within 48 hours of the occurrence of the accident/incident.

(18) For accidents, which constitute an emergency, refer also to the Emergency Procedures Manual.

(19) Serious accidents/injuries/incidents and hazards must be immediately reported to the WHS Unit. This will include any notifiable incidents, which are reportable to WorkCover NSW (see Reporting to WorkCover NSW below).

(20) Any accident/injury/incident or hazard involving actual or alleged discrimination/harassment must be reported to the Equity and Diversity Unit to ensure that these claims are assessed in relation to the Anti-Discrimination legislation.

(21) In addition, the responsible line manager or the Work Health and Safety Coordinator has the authority to suspend work in the area where the accident/injury/incident/hazard has occurred, or to suspend similar work, until the investigation has been completed and/or corrective action taken, if there is a risk of a similar accident/injury/incident/ hazard occurring. Workers have a right to refuse to carry out unsafe work where a serious risk to health and safety is a reasonable concern but must notify their line manager immediately of this action.

Reporting to WorkCover NSW (Statutory Reporting)

(22) WorkCover NSW must be notified immediately where a notifiable incident has occurred. This includes:

  1. When, as a result of an accident at your workplace, a person dies or sustains a serious injury or illness which requires immediate hospital treatment or where medical treatment is needed within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.
  2. When a dangerous incident occurs, where there is a serious risk to health and safety. A dangerous incident would include an uncontrolled spillage, escape or leakage of a substance/gas or steam, an implosion/explosion/fire, electric shock, collapse of a structure. More detailed definitions of a dangerous incident can be found in the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) or by contacting the Work Health and Safety Unit (WHS Unit).

(23) WorkCover NSW must be notified even if the person injured or killed is not an employee. You should liaise directly with the Work Health and Safety Coordinator who will assist to notify WorkCover NSW.

(24) It is the responsibility of the immediate manager to ensure completion of:

  1. The Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Notification Form;
  2. Any relevant Workers Compensation documentation within 24 hours of any accident/injury or incident;
  3. Contact the WHS Unit immediately where a notifiable incident has occurred (i.e. a major accident/incident/hazard) - see above on Statutory Reporting.

Part F - Accident/Injury/Incident/Hazard Investigation

(25) All accidents/injuries/incidents and hazards shall be investigated. This investigation shall include consultation with workers affected by the accident/injury/incident or hazard. Consultation may include a Health and Safety Representative (HSR), if one represents the affected workers.

(26) During the investigation, an analysis shall be carried out to identify any Work Health and Safety Management System failure(s). This will involve an examination of the incident, by the manager, along the following lines:

  1. Is there a procedure, which covers this area of activity?
  2. Is the procedure adequate? (i.e. effective, workable, comprehensive, simple, easy to use, etc.)
  3. Was the procedure properly implemented?
  4. Was the procedure followed?
  5. What influences, outside of the immediate process, are evident?

(27) The objective of the investigation shall be to establish the real cause(s) of the accident or incidents, so that corrective action is aimed at preventing recurrence of the event.

(28) It is the responsibility of the immediate manager to ensure:

  1. Timely notification to the Work Health and Safety Coordinator (WHS Coordinator) of:
    1. Accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards within 24 hours;
    2. Major accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards immediately.
  2. The accident/injury/incident/hazard is fully investigated and formally advised to the WHS Unit accordingly or in cases of discrimination/harassment, refer to the Equity and Diversity Unit or, where legal obligations overlap with Workplace Health and Safety, refer to the appropriate Unit/Division.

(29) The WHS Coordinator will monitor trends of accidents/injuries/incidents/hazards and initiate further investigation where:

  1. A number of incidents are noted for similar situations;
  2. A workers compensation claim has been lodged;
  3. The manager has requested assistance to investigate an accident/injury/incident/hazard;
  4. A serious or major incident has occurred;
  5. A situation is deemed to require further investigation.

Part G - Corrective Action

(30) The scope and impact of any corrective action taken shall be appropriate to the magnitude and potential for harm of the accident/injury/incident or hazard.

Part H - Records

(31) Records of all accident/injury/incident/hazard notifications, reporting, investigation and corrective actions shall be kept. Where applicable, records shall be kept for duration as required by legislation.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(32) Nil.