View Current

WHS P007 Incident/Hazard Reporting and Investigation Protocol

This is the current version of this document. You can provide feedback on this policy to the document author - refer to the Status and Details on the document's navigation bar.

Section 1 -  Overview

(1) All incidents relating to work, study or living on campus at the University must be reported within 24 hours, no matter how minor they are.

(2) All hazards relating to work, study or living on campus at the University must be reported as soon as reasonably practicable.

(3) It is the responsibility of UNE Representatives, students, and visitors to report any work health and safety related incidents they are involved in. University of New England staff may report incidents on behalf of contractors, volunteers, students, and visitors.

Top of Page

Section 2 -  Scope

(4)  This Protocol applies to all work or study-related incidents and hazards impacting on health and/or safety, along with incidents involving residential students who live on campus. The Protocol applies to UNE Representatives and staff of UNE Life, students and visitors when they are either on or off campus, and engaged in University work.

Top of Page

Section 3 - Protocol

Incidents – Initial Response

(5)  The first priority in response to an incident is to ensure that all affected persons are attended to, and anyone requiring first aid or medical treatment is provided with treatment as soon as possible.

Emergency Response

(6) If a serious incident occurs that requires emergency services, call ‘000’ and then inform UNE Safety, Security and Information (on 6773 2099) to assist while emergency services respond. Any other incident or hazard that requires IMMEDIATE response by the University should be reported through Safety, Security and Information on 6773 2099.

(7) All emergency situations must be managed in accordance with the University’s Emergency Response Plans, located on Safety Hub or through the UNESAFE mobile application.

Hazards – Initial Response

(8) The first priority in response to a hazard is to take any immediate precautions or actions to control the hazard, and inform others of the hazard that may be immediately affected. The actions may include isolating the hazard by tape or other barriers, or through removing the hazard itself. This may only be a temporary measure and require the hazard to be reported for a more permanent control or repair.

Scene Preservation

(9) Areas subject to (or possibly subject to) an incident or a hazard investigation must be made safe and preserved int he event that the scene is required to be attended by Police or the Safety Regulator (SafeWork NSW). The scene may be barricaded to restrict access if appropriate (eg. by using tape or other barriers in accordance with WHS G002 Temporary Barricading of Pedestrian Access Guideline). Scene preservation would occur in the event of a notifiable incident as defined in Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and/or an incident of a serious nature where the scene will assist in determining the cause of the incident. The requirement to preserve an incident scene is legislated and will be directed by the Work Health and Safety Manager or another person in control of the work environment.

Reporting Incidents and Hazards – Staff (SkyTrust)

(10)  All staff are required to report incidents through the University's online system, SkyTrust. SkyTrust is a secure online portal that allows the University to monitor and review incidents, investigations and all associated corrective actions. Guideline WHS G024 Incident and Hazard Reporting provides assistance with completing these processes.

(11) If the injured person is unable to complete the report, their supervisor or attending University First Aider (if there is one), must complete the report on their behalf.

(12)  The incident notification and report will automatically be sent to the Work Health and Safety team and the supervisor of the staff member involved in the incident. Any questions regarding the privacy of incident details can be directed to whs@une.edu.au.

Reporting Incidents and Hazards – Students, Contractors, and Visitors

(13)  In the event that an incident occurs or a hazard is identified on site and under the supervision of a staff member, the supervising University staff member is responsible for submitting a report through SkyTrust.

(14)  In the case of incidents or hazards occurring within the University grounds (but not under the supervision of a University staff member), UNE Representatives, students and visitors are able to report the incident via the manual reporting forms available on the University Safety Hub reporting page and forwarded to the Work Health and Safety team at whs@une.edu.au.

(15) Contractors who regularly work at the University or Contract Managers (not employed by the University) may find it useful to have access to SkyTrust to ensure all incidents are reported directly with efficiency. Requests for contractor access to SkyTrust should be forwarded to whs@une.edu.au for the consideration of the Work Health and Safety team.

Reporting Incidents and Hazards – Students on Placement and Other Approved Activities 

(16) The University requires that students involved in any study-related incidents report the matter to their University supervisor or liaison contact point. 

(17) Students are also required to report the incident to the placement provider according to their processes. On occasions where the placement provider can provide a student with a copy of the incident report, a copy should be provided to the University.

(18) The University placement office/team, or academic in receipt of the incident notification, must enter the incident details into SkyTrust as per the reporting instructions found on the Safety Hub Reporting Page.

(19) The category for all student incidents is classified as a 'third party' in the SkyTrust system and this can be further specified by selecting 'student'.

(20)  A copy of the placement provider incident report should be attached to the documents section in the SkyTrust incident report, if available.

(21) A SkyTrust report should be submitted immediately upon receipt of incident details, even if details are minimal. If more information is forthcoming in the following days, the Work Health and Safety team shall add this information to the SkyTrust report, or further information will be added to the report by the reviewing supervisor in the investigation stage. 

(22) Incident notifications involving students are submitted to the University Work Health and Safety team, the University Insurance Office, and the supervisor of the staff member that submits the report.

(23) UNE International is to be notified if an international student is involved in an incident.

(24) Staff submitting incidents pertaining to Nursing students should email their supervisor to notify them that the incident should be immediately forwarded to the Clinical Coordinator - Academic, who will investigate and close out the incident. 

(25) Responsibility for communication with the student with regard to the incident and their health and wellbeing rests with the University placement office/team and/or the student's supervisor. Advice may be sought from the University Work Health and Safety Team with regard to appropriate corrective actions implemented by the placement provider.

(26) Services available to students involved in incidents include counselling via UNE Counselling Service and in some cases, access to insurance coverage. For enquiries about insurance, please email insurance@une.edu.au 

(27) If the investigation and follow up of the incident is more appropriate or better suited to a different member of the placement team, the notification email may be forwarded to the University staff member best placed to follow up and investigate.

(28) On occasions where student input is required but not forthcoming, University staff are obliged to attempt contact with the student three times before closing out the report and investigation. Details regarding attempted communication should be recorded in the investigation notes of the SkyTrust incident report.

Notifiable Incidents

(29) Part 3 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, provides the definition of a notifiable incident as being:

  1. “The death of a person, or
  2. A serious injury or illness of a person, or
  3. A dangerous incident”.
  4. Definitions of a ‘Serious injury or illness’ and a ‘dangerous incident’ are provided in the Act .

(30) If an incident is notifiable to the regulator, the Work Health and Safety Team are to be contacted directly and will notify SafeWork NSW or the appropriate state regulator as soon as reasonably practicable. All notifiable incidents are to be reported to the Chief Operating Officer at the University as soon as reasonably practicable.

Sensitive Incident Reporting for Staff and UNE Residential Students

(31) Incidents of sexual assault and harassment are not to be reported via SkyTrust but can be reported via a number of ways through the Police, UNE Safety, Security and Information, UNE Counselling Service, and the Student Grievance Unit. The University’s Respect.Now.Always webpage provides contact details and further information to assist and support staff and students reporting an incident of sexual assault and harassment.

(32) Incidents of self-harm and suicide should be reported to the relevant College Head for students. Email is the current method of reporting and communication in these instances. Incidents relating to staff are to be reported to the supervisor and the UNE Wellbeing Officer.

(33) For incidents that relate to campus security, the University Safety, Security and Information team will respond to any call-out, and generate a report that will be circulated to the relevant College Head, Residential staff, and relevant University staff. Where the incident involves vandalism, theft, suspicious persons and other instances that do not involve interaction with University students/residential students, no SkyTrust report is required.

(34) Any incident that involves interaction with, or an injury to a student, visitor, or residential student in the residential precinct requires that a SkyTrust report is lodged by an appropriate member of College staff. Where University Safety, Security and Information staff respond to the incident, they will generate their response report as per above, and a SkyTrust report will be created for the same incident. The SkyTrust reports will be forwarded to the University Insurance office by the Work Health and Safety Team for consideration and reporting to University insurers.

Historical Reporting

(35) Injuries that relate to workplace incidents may become known after an extended period of time or after the worker has changed roles within the University, or ceased employment. Incidents can be reported via the SkyTrust system if available or directly to the University through the Work Health and Safety Team. There is a statute of limitations relating to reporting of historical injuries, which needs to be considered.

Investigations

(36) The purpose of all investigations is to: 

  1. identify factors that contributed to the incident (what went wrong);
  2. assess the risk (what was the potential for harm); and
  3. determine what can be done to prevent a reoccurrence (control measures).

(37) The investigation needs to look beyond the immediate causes, to the underlying or lost cause of an event. The investigation should consider the impact of multiple causes rather than a single cause.

(38) Investigations of incidents are divided into two (2) categories, Level 1 and Level 2:

  1. A Level 1 incident is an incident that is not notifiable to the regulator and of a less serious nature, these incidents are to be investigated generally by the supervisor of the person reporting or involved in the incident.
  2. A Level 2 incident is an incident that is notifiable to the regulator, or of a ‘serious nature’, and the investigation should be conducted by a suitably trained ICAM Investigator. The determination of what incidents are deemed to be of a ‘serious nature’ is at the discretion of the Work Health and Safety Manager, in consultation with the Work Health and Safety Committee and the Work Health and Safety Management Group.

(39) Investigations into hazards that are reported are conducted by the Work Health and Safety Team who may utilize the assistance of local supervisor(s) or specialist staff during this investigation.

(40) Guidelines WHS G021 Incident Investigation Level 1 and SkyTrust Close-out; WHS G022 Incident Investigation Level 2 ICAM and SkyTrust Close-out; and WHS G023 Hazard Investigation and SkyTrust Close-out, provide assistance for completing these processes.

Incident Cause Analysis Method (ICAM) Investigations

(41) To investigate Level 2 incidents, the University has a number of staff trained in the use of ICAM investigations. ICAM is designed to ensure that the investigation is not restricted to the errors and violations of operational personnel. It identifies the local factors that contributed to the incident and the latent hazards within the system and the organisation.

(42) ICAM analysis can be broken into six steps: 

  1. Prepare and gather evidence;
  2. Identify absent / failed defences e.g. interlocks, isolation, guards, barriers, standard operating procedures, job safety analysis, supervision, emergency response, personal protective equipment;
  3. Identify individual/team actions e.g. errors and violations;
  4. Identify task / environmental factors e.g. working conditions, time pressures, resources, tool availability, job access, task complexity, fitness for work, workload, task planning;
  5. Identify organisational factors e.g. staff selection, training, procedures, equipment selection, equipment design, operational vs. safety goals, contractor management, management of change; and
  6. Develop recommendations that directly link back to the incident and achieve prevention of reoccurrence and reduction in the level of risk.

(43) ICAM incident investigation should be viewed as a process in which safety within the organisation will be improved. The organisational factors should be addressed in order to prevent error downstream (e.g. operator error).

(44) The WHS G022 Incident Investigation Level 2 ICAM and SkyTrust Close-out Guideline will assist with this process.

Hazard Investigations

(45) The Work Health and Safety Team will conduct investigations into hazards reported to the University and may recommend controls or measures be implemented through allocation of Actions to appropriate departments within the University or external organisations.

(46) The WHS G023 Hazard Investigation and SkyTrust Close-Out Guideline will assist in this process.

Identification and Allocation of Corrective Actions

(47) The identification and implementation of appropriate corrective actions are critical to the success of reducing the risk of incidents in the workplace. Corrective actions need to be implemented to eliminate or reduce the risk to an acceptable level utilising the hierarchy of controls of ‘elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)’.

(48)  Corrective actions should:

  1. be determined in consultation with workers who will be directly affected by the implementation of the corrective actions in the workplace;
  2. be implemented in a timely manner;
  3. be appropriate for the root cause;
  4. eliminate or control the risk to an acceptable level; and
  5. not introduce any new hazards or risks (that cannot be adequately controlled).

Immediate Actions/Controls

(49) When an incident occurs it is the responsibility of the person(s) involved, or the supervisor, to implement any immediate actions or controls to reduce the risk of any re-occurrence of a similar incident (if appropriate).

(50) When an investigation is allocated to a supervisor or ICAM investigator, it is the responsibility of the investigator to review and implement any appropriate immediate actions or controls to reduce the risk of any re-occurrence of a similar incident.

(51) When a hazard is reported it is the responsibility of the person(s) reporting the hazard to implement any immediate actions or controls, to reduce the risk of injury or near-miss incident from the hazard.

(52) When the Work Health and Safety Team investigates a hazard it is the responsibility of the Work Health and Safety Team member to review and implement any appropriate immediate actions or controls, to reduce the risk of injury or near-miss from the hazard.

(53) Implementation of these immediate actions or controls may involve other areas of the University (such as Facilities Management Service Directorate). Where this is the case, an action is to be created in the SkyTrust investigation and allocated to the relevant area/person.

(54) These immediate actions or controls are to be recorded in the investigation notes in SkyTrust.

Long-Term Actions/Controls

(55) At the conclusion of an investigation, the investigator may identify or recommend actions or controls that are required to be implemented to address the root cause of the incident, reduce the level of risk, or address the hazard. These long-term actions or controls may require other areas of the University to implement and include repairs, maintenance or training, and be subject to external factors including financial and resource restraints. In this situation, an action is to be created in the SkyTrust investigation and allocated to the relevant area/person.

(56) These immediate actions or controls are to be recorded in the investigation notes in SkyTrust.

Closing an Incident or Hazard Report

(57) Once an investigation has been conducted and corrective actions have been identified, and all additional incident information saved into SkyTrust, the person responsible for the corrective actions or controls must update the action item allocated to them and indicate when this has been or will be complete.

(58) The Work Health and Safety Team will review this information and close the incident or hazard report when they deem the corrective actions or controls have been implemented effectively, and the risk of re-occurrence mitigated, or in the event that long-term actions or controls have been identified and are being planned for, implementation of any immediate actions or controls satisfactorily addresses the incident or hazard.

Workers Compensation and Other Insurance

(59) Staff who are injured while carrying out a work-related activity may be eligible for workers compensation. To lodge a workers compensation claim, please email the University's Health and Well-Being Officer.

(60) You will need to provide a ‘Certificate of Capacity’ (obtained from a hospital or General Practitioner) in order to lodge a claim.

(61) Students, adjunct staff, and volunteers are not eligible for Workers Compensation. Information about public liability and insurance can be obtained by contacting Financial Performance and Analytical Services, via insurance@une.edu.au.

Authority and Compliance

(62) The Director Human Resource Services as Procedure Administrator, pursuant to the University’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Rule, is authorised to make procedures and guidelines for the operation of this University Protocol. The procedures and guidelines must be compatible with the provisions of this Protocol.

(63) University Representatives and Students must observe this Protocol in relation to University matters.

(64) This Protocol operates as and from the Effective Date.

(65) Previous Protocols relating to incident/hazard reporting and investigation are replaced and have no further operation from the Effective Date of this new Protocol.

(66) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this University Protocol, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer may approve an exception to this Protocol where the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer determines the application of the Protocol would otherwise lead to an unfair, unreasonable or absurd outcome. Approvals by the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer under this clause must be documented in writing and must state the reason for the exception.

Top of Page

Section 4 - Definitions Specific to this Protocol

(67) Incident means a work or study-related accident or injury involving students, staff, volunteers, visitors or contractors. This may include injuries, illness, and dangerous incidents, as defined in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, or biological exposures/releases, or non-compliance with the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.

(68) A Worker, as defined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, is a person that carries out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking, including work as:

  1. an employee (staff); or
  2. a contractor or subcontractor; or
  3. an employee of a contractor or subcontractor; or
  4. an employee of a labour-hire company who has been assigned to work in the person's business or undertaking; or
  5. an outworker; or
  6. an apprentice or trainee; or
  7. a student gaining work experience; or
  8. a volunteer; or
  9. a person of a prescribed class.