General Office WHS Manual – Chapters 05-07

Joshua Easton

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5. Consultation

What is consultation?

Consultation is the sharing of information and the exchange of views between two or more people.In the workplace we are generally referring to the interaction
between employers and employees.

Why is consultation necessary?

Consultation between employers and employees is a fundamental element of a positive approach to health, safety and welfare in the workplace.Through consultation,
managers and supervisors can become more aware of hazards and WHS issues experienced by employees.Employees can also provide suggestions about how
to resolve health and safety problems.

Consultation during the planning of new work or work processes and the identification, assessment and control of risks provides practical and effective
information for the prevention of work-related injury, illness and disease.

Who should be involved?

Consultation should take place between employers and employees, and/or their elected representatives.

Legislation allows groups of employees in certain circumstances to elect Health & Safety Representatives (HSR’s).HSR’s can provide the key focus for
consultation under legislation.Where applicable, HSR’s should be the first point of contact for employers consulting with employees on health and safety
issues.Similarly, employees should make their HSR aware of any health & safety issues identified.

Health and safety committees can also be established to allow joint consultation between management and employee representative/s.The main role of committees
is to consider policy issues and to try and find a solution for any unresolved issues.

6. Resolution of health and safety issues

It is important to address health and safety issues as soon as possible to minimise the risk of harm from hazards.

We have notification and investigation processes which are provided to ensure that health and safety matters are reported, investigated and resolved effectively.These
processes follow sequential, escalating steps for resolution of issues.

The relevant Work Health and Safety Authority can be notified if there is a risk of imminent and serious harm.

Where a worker has a health and safety issue or problem that needs to be resolved the following steps shall be followed.

Report the matter to Supervisor of the affected workplace for resolution.

If not resolved, where there is a workplace Health and Safety Representative, the Supervisor shall advise and consult with the Health and Safety Representative
with a view to developing a strategy for resolving the issue.Otherwise the Safety Officer for the area should be consulted.

If the issue remains unresolved then the workplace Health and Safety Representative or Safety Officer shall refer the issue to the Manager.

If the issue remains unresolved the workplace Health and Safety Representative or Safety Officer shall refer the issue to the Principal for resolution.





7. Action if an incident or accident happens

If a person is injured or becomes sick at work, the quality and speed of treatment provided and access to rehabilitation are all important for minimising
the severity of the injury or illness.

Within the workplace, provision of appropriate first aid helps reduce the severity of an injury or illness.Employers have a legal obligation to ensure
that competent and suitable first aid services are provided.This depends on the number of employees, the nature of the work, the hazards involved and
access to emergency medical services.

To prevent a similar injury happening again, the occurrence should be properly investigated and preventative action taken.

If time off work or medical treatment is required, then the employee may be entitled to workers compensation to cover loss of pay, medical and related

Fatalities, serious injuries and dangerous occurrences must all be reported to the relevant Workplace Health and Safety Authority, which will conduct an
investigation.An investigation by the employer must be conducted and a record must also be kept at the workplace of all injuries that occur.

If an injury does occur, the following steps must be carried out:

Administering of emergency first aid

Recording of the occurrence at the workplace

Notification to the relevant HSR

Investigation of the occurrence and preventative action taken

Provision of compensation and rehabilitation

The provision of timely and appropriate first aid treatment in the workplace can save lives and reduce the severity, the degree of pain and suffering,
and the amount of lost work time due to work-related injuries and illness.


7.1 Definitions

Dangerous incident An incident that exposes a person to a serious health or safety risk from immediate or imminent exposure a number of situations.
Emergency Any situation or event that poses an imminent and/or high/extreme risk to a person or people at the business premises, while working or while
using a business service
Incident Includes: §any event that results in injury, ill-health/illness and/or disease §all serious incidents


§all near miss/potential events

Infectious disease or illness Means an infectious disease or contagious condition that is designated under a law or by a health authority as a disease or condition that
would require a person to be excluded from being at the business premises, working at or using a business service
Near miss / potential event An event that nearly occurred, or an event that did occur but did not result in any injury, illness or disease, but had the potential to do
Notifiable hazards or incidents The seriousness of these events requires that the relevant statutory authorities be notified within prescribed time limits
Serious illness Means any infection to which the carrying out of work is a significant contributing factor
Serious incident Means: §the death of a person on the premises, while working at the business premises or while using a business service, or following an incident
while at the business premises, working or while using an business service §any incident involving injury or trauma to, or illness of,
a person at the business premises, while working or while using a business service, where: 

othe attention of or treatment by a registered medical practitioner was sought, or ought reasonably to have been sought, or

othe person attended, or ought reasonably to have attended, a hospital and includes the occurrence in a person of an infectious illness
or disease

any incident on the business premises, while a person is working at the business or while a person is using a business service, where the
attendance of emergency services was sought, or ought reasonably have been sought

a dangerous incident


What injuries must be reported?

The following work-related injuries must be reported to the Work Health and Safety Regulator in the relevant State immediately (Refer Emergency Contacts

Any death

Any injury which has immediate and serious symptoms associated with exposure to a substance at work e.g. the employee is burnt by acid or a solvent, they
develop a serious rash after coming into contact with a chemical, they become unconscious after breathing in a substance

Any injury that requires treatment as an in-patient in a hospital immediately after the injury.




All accidents are considered incidents. However, an accident report form focuses more on the injury, whereas the incident report form focuses on the cause
and prevention of further occurrences. Both the Accident and Incident Forms can be merged into the one document.

All injuries, incidents, hazards and near misses must be properly reported, investigated and recorded:

Incident – when an injury to a person or ill health, damage and loss has occurred it must be investigated, and an Incident Report compiled;


Near Miss – a Report must be compiled where an event occurs which had the potential to cause injury, ill health, damage or loss;

Hazard – a Report is required where there is potential for an incident, accident or near miss.

The main objective of investigating incidents and hazards is to:

  • Find out the cause to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future
  • Identify new hazards
  • Identify and choose suitable controls to eliminate or reduce risk

Investigations should begin as soon as possible – the less time between the incident and the investigation, the more accurate is the information obtained.
While concern for an injured person takes precedence over everything else, when incidents involving injury or illness occurs, early investigation is



Ideally someone experienced in accident causes, investigative techniques, who has knowledge in the work processes and procedures of a situation.

Some jurisdictions provide guidance such as requiring that it must be conducted jointly with both management and employees, or that investigators must
be knowledgeable about the work process involved.



The Accident Investigation Process should involve the following steps:

  • Provide First Aid and Medical Care
  • Report the accident to a designated person within the business
  • Provide First Aid and Medical Care
  • Investigate the Accident
  • Identify Accident Causes
  • Report Findings
  • Develop Corrective Action Plan
  • Implement Plan
  • Evaluate Effectiveness of Corrective Action Plan
  • Make Changes for Continuous Improvement


In the event of an injury those involved should:

  • Seek first aid or medical attention
  • Inform their supervisor as soon as possible
  • Complete the relevant section of the Incident / Near Miss Report Form
  • Employee details
  • Injury details
  • Medical treatment required
  • Details of events leading up to the injury

The Supervisor of the persons involved in the incident is required to:

  • Ensure that any injured person is promptly attended to
  • Conduct an initial investigation into the cause of the incident
  • Complete the relevant section (Supervisor’s Section) of the Report:
  • Witness details
  • How the accident happened
  • How a recurrence can be prevented

It is important to show outcomes of the investigation and to document what actions can or will be taken to prevent another injury occurring in a similar

Investigations of incidents, injuries or hazards should not be used to allocate blame. Incident investigation requires everyone’s cooperation to prevent
possible recurrence.




It is a requirement of the various States and Territories Work Health and Safety Legislation that all serious injuries, illnesses or diseases be reported
to the relevant Regulator as soon as possible. Most Regulators have a 24-hour reporting line for any injury at work involving an employee. If you are
unsure about whether a particular incident or injury should be notified to a Regulator, contact the Regulator for advice.

Overview of reportable incidents and injuries that may need reporting to the Regulator (check with fact sheet on Reportable Incidents put out by the relevant
Regulator in your State or Territory):

  • Admission as an in-patient in a hospital for any duration – even if the stay is not overnight
  • Immediate treatment for the amputation of a limb or body part
  • Immediate treatment for a serious head injury
  • Immediate treatment for a serious eye injury
  • Immediate treatment for a serious burn injury
  • Immediate treatment for a spinal injury
  • Immediate treatment for the loss of bodily functions (consciousness, loss of sense of smell, taste, sight, hearing or loss of an internal organ)
  • Immediate treatment for serious lacerations
  • Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance

Notification is also required for any serious illnesses and dangerous incidents arising from infections where work is a significant contributing factor:

  • Occupational illnesses contracted in the handling of or contact with animals etc.
  • Uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • Uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • Uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • Uncontrolled escape of pressurised substance
  • Uncontrolled electric shock


A dangerous incident includes both immediate serious risks to health and safety, and also a risk from an immediate exposure to a substance which is likely
to create a serious risk to health or safety in the future, e.g. asbestos, hazardous chemicals.