Incident

An unplanned event which has the potential to cause injury, ill health to people or damage to property and the environment.

Accident

An unplanned event or incident that causes or contributes to personal injury.

All accidents and incidents must be investigated and where possible corrective actions taken. The amount of information that needs to be gathered will vary with the seriousness of the accident or incident, or the potential seriousness of what could have been the outcome.

Who conducts the investigation?

The supervisor or manager of the person injured (or of the area where the incident occurred if there was no injury) is responsible for conducting the initial investigation, except in the case of notifiable incidents.

For more detail, see Accident, Incident and Hazard Reporting and Investigation Procedures.

 

Notifiable Incidents

Notifiable incidents must be reported immediately to Security or the Associate Director, WHS, who will report the incident to the appropriate Regulator.

Note - special provisions around preservation of site apply to Notifiable Incidents. Please see Notification of Incidents (PDF 101KB) for definitions and details. The Notifiable Incident Flow Chart (PDF 47KB) also demonstrates the process. All Notifiable Incidents will be investigated by the WHS Unit.

All other accidents or incidents

When a staff member, student or other person reports an accident or incident on the online FlinSafe system, the supervisor or manager will receive an email advising them of the accident/incident and asking them to take action.  Please see the  Accident/Incident Flowchart (PDF 137KB) for the reporting and accident/incident management process.

The manager or supervisor is then responsible for conducting an initial investigation of the accident/incident and recording this information in FlinSafe. This investigation should be conducted as soon as possible after the accident or incident as this means the conditions of the area at the time can be observed and witnesses can be identified.

Purpose of the investigation

  • To identify the factors that contributed to the accident/incident (ie what went wrong)
  • To assess the risk (ie what was the potential for harm) and
  • To determine what can be done to prevent a recurrence (ie identify and implement control measures/corrective actions).

Information that may be important such as conditions in the work area, procedure or equipment failures, lack of training, system faults etc. should be recorded.

A Senior WHS Advisor/Officer from the WHS Unit will undertake a secondary investigation and also document any additional factors.

Documenting the investigation findings

The person who submitted the accident/incident report may have suggested some actions to reduce the risk of the hazard, or to eliminate it entirely. Managers/supervisors should review the suggested actions and consider whether any further corrective actions are required. These must be entered into FlinSafe.

Documentation (e.g. risk assessments, safe work procedures, photos, emails, training records etc.), where available, should be attached in FlinSafe as evidence of what was in place as controls at the time or what will be implemented as a corrective action.

The Senior WHS Advisor/Officer who conducts the secondary investigation must also document in FlinSafe their findings, attach any further evidence and identify any further corrective actions if required.

For guidance on using FlinSafe to document accident/incident investigation, including corrective actions, see FlinSafe Quick Reference Guide.

Corrective actions 

Emergency &/ or immediate corrective actions

Emergency corrective actions sometimes will be required e.g.  evacuation of an area, barricading, isolation of services, dealing with a chemical spill. In these instances Security must be notified and the details recorded on FlinSafe.

Immediate corrective actions may include removing the tripping hazard e.g. the cords, wipe up the spilt water, tagging out the equipment. These should also be recorded.

Non - emergency corrective actions

If the issue is a non-emergency building, infrastructure maintenance or grounds matter, the recommended corrective action(s) should be logged on the BPRS system. This BPRS number should be crossed referenced in the FlinSafe system. 

All other corrective actions need to be recorded in the FlinSafe system, including who is responsible for completing the corrective action and a time line for completion. An automatic email will be sent to the person responsible for the corrective action and a reminder email is sent if the due date has past. The person responsible for the corrective action must record their actions, attach any evidence (e.g. new risk assessment) and close-off the corrective action when completed.

Role of managers/supervisors

Managers/supervisors need to:

  • Track and monitor the implementation of agreed corrective/preventative actions; and
  • Discuss, monitor and evaluate controls for effectiveness, in consultation with workers in the affected area and any other relevant person(s).