The recent media release by WorkSafe serves as a timely reminder to check that your Health and Safety reporting processes include clear directions on the how's and when's to notify WorkSafe of serious accident or illness events.
In brief, WorkSafe reported on a company that was fined over $98,000, plus ordered to pay reparations of $24,000, for an incident where a worker required surgery and hospitalisation for head injuries and a skull fracture, sustained after 200kg of plasterboard fell on them.
The company failed to report the incident to WorkSafe at the time it occurred. The company also downplayed the seriousness of the incident when they did report it to WorkSafe, noting probable concussion from impact with no reference to the head injuries, fractures or surgery.
Health and safety laws in New Zealand have had a few changes over recent years but one thing that hasn't changed is the requirement to notify WorkSafe of all serious events that happen to people carrying out work, or as a result of work that your business is responsible for.
WorkSafe state notifiable events are:
DEATH - If a worker dies whilst carrying out work. WorkSafe must be notified immediately using their 24/7 0800 number.
INJURY - If a worker is injured as a result of work, or in a place of work.
ILLNESS - If a worker falls seriously ill as a result of work.
INCIDENT - If someone faces serious or immediate risk to their health and safety due to unplanned/ uncontrolled work incidents.
The 'Notify WorkSafe' tool on WorkSafe's website provides further information and guidance when reporting accidents and incidents.
Having good Health and Safety practices in place goes a long way to reducing the chances of mishaps and accidents, but should the unimaginable occur don't risk further penalties by not following reporting procedures.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact us - we will be happy to assist.
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