Reporting and investigating industrial accidents
If you are an employer, you have a statutory duty pursuant to section 23I the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, to FORTHWITH report to the Commissioner for Occupational Safety and Health using prescribed forms here.
any accident or disease that results in;
a fracture of the skull, spine or pelvis;
fracture of any bone —
(i) In the arm, other than in the wrists or hand;
(ii) In the leg, other than a bone in the ankle or foot;
an amputation of an arm, a hand, finger, finger joint, leg, foot, toe or toe joint;
the loss of sight of an eye;
any injury which, is likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days of the day on which the injury occurred.
Certain industrial diseases must also be reported
Infectious diseases: tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, Legionnaires’ disease and HIV, where these diseases are contracted during work involving exposure to human blood products, body secretions, excretions or other material which may be a source of infection; and
Occupational zoonoses: Q fever, anthrax, leptospiroses and brucellosis, where these diseases are contracted during work involving the handling of, or contact with, animals, animal hides, skins, wool, hair, carcases or animal waste products.
In some cases eg a fatality, the information can be provided by ‘phone (1800678198) but the Commissioner will require a minimum of the following;
Name and business address of the employer; and
Name, sex and occupation of the employee; and
Address of the place at which the injury was incurred; and
Date and time the injury was incurred; and
Brief description of how the injury was incurred and the type of machine or equipment, if any, involved; and
Nature of the injury or, where applicable, report of death; and
The place to which the employee has been taken.
An employee has a statutory duty to forthwith, report to the employer, any injury or harm suffered at work. When such a report is made, the employer has a statutory duty pursuant to section 23K of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 to investigate the report, determine what action, if any, the employer intends to take and notify the employee of what action is proposed.
The WorkSafe Division of the Department of Commerce (referred to as WorkSafe) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act) and its accompanying regulations, the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the Regulations).
The legislation offers a framework of rules and regulations applying to any workplace as well as a regime for enforcement including prosecuting a party for failure to comply with the legislation.
Worksafe has a detailed Prosecution Policy which aims to ensure decisions in relation to prosecutions are based on appropriate criteria which are public, open, fair and capable of being applied consistently across the broad range of circumstances to which the occupational safety and health laws apply. WorkSafe says it will avoid arbitrary decisions (whether or not to prosecute), and will ensure prosecutions are not conducted for improper purposes, capriciously or oppressively.
The policy reflects the principles in the Statement of Prosecution Policy and Guidelines issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and published in the Western Australian Government Gazette on 3 June 2005. In particular, this policy adopts the principles that, before proceeding, a prosecution must:
Disclose a prima facie case (ie if the available evidence is believed by the court, is it capable of proving, beyond reasonable doubt, all the elements of the offence); and
Be in the public interest (this includes consideration of the prospects of success). The question of whether a prosecution is or could be in the public interest is a complex matter but the policy contains factors which may weigh in favour or against prosecution as well as factor which WorkSafe considers to be irrelevant. For more information go to link
Based on the policy, where a WorkSafe inspector obtains sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case, and there is a reasonable prospect of a conviction, consideration will be given to taking prosecution action, instead of or in addition to applying alternative enforcement actions, where:
The issue of notices is not considered sufficient for ensuring compliance with the Act or regulations;
An alleged breach of the Act or regulations either has resulted, or could have resulted, in a fatality or serious injury;
Alleged failure to comply with an improvement or a prohibition notice;
An inspector alleges a person has repeated the same offence;
In cases of discrimination against an employee for any action in relation to occupational safety and health;
Breaches of the consultative provisions of the Act; and
Obstruction of an inspector.
Prosecutions are conducted by a WorkSafe lawyer or a lawyer from the State Solicitor’s Office.
WorkSafe maintains a public register of prosecutions since 1 January 1997. Read more.