Published on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 17:17 Written by Joy Barrett
The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires all employees to report work related injuries or harm to the health of themselves or others and to report all hazards in the workplace to their employer.
Incident reporting is an essential part of creating a safer workplace. It allows the opportunity for investigation, risk assessment and for appropriate control measures to be applied. The recently revised Department of Education Accident/Incident Report Forms have been designed specifically to ensure Principals or line-managers go through a risk assessment process following any safety incident or accident. The Department have also issued an Eddymail instruction regarding this matter following enforcement action from WorkSafe.
When an accident or incident results in an injury for which the employee makes a workers’ compensation claim, the claim must be accompanied by a completed Accident/Incident Report. The SSTUWA is recommending that members send copies of Accident/Incident Report Forms to the Department of Education Employee Support Bureau even if a workers’ compensation claim is not made. This meets the requirements of the OSH Act.
When completing Accident/Incident Report Forms for incidents of physical violence, threats of physical harm or serious verbal abuse, that has an impact on an employee’s health which is perpetrated by a student, it is recommended that you do not include the name of the student. The perpetrator should just be referred to as “student”. The reason for this is that should WorkSafe choose to investigate an incident on receipt of a complaint or in response to a “notifiable injury”, they cannot access reports that include a named minor.
Incident reporting is also essential to:
There are additional Department of Education reporting requirements. Any incident that results in harm to a staff member or student, or may have an ongoing impact on the school community or may result in media interest, must be reported “on-line” through the Department’s intranet system by the Principal. This information is immediately transmitted to Regional Office and several different Departments in Central Office. OSH representatives or employees that have been injured can request a print-out of the electronic report. OSH representatives can only make this request if they have the permission of any staff member named in such a report.
There are some considerable issues with the current on-line reporting system. The Department is currently considering a new system which is used in Victoria. This would only require the Principal to contact a call centre to record the relevant information.
The SSTUWA would also request that members, Union representatives or OSH representatives send copies of Accident/Incident Reports to the Union office. We accept the reports in any form, such as copies of incident reports or police statements but you cannot send us copies of SIS reports. We also have an electronic reporting system on our website. This allows us to follow-up with members who require assistance with workers’ compensation or school based issues.
We also encourage members to report all violent incidents to the police. You must do this as an individual. Neither the Department nor the Principal can do this on your behalf.
The Principal can call the police at any time to deal with a criminal incident on school premises and should do so.
It is recognised that numerous incidents of harm or potential harm to staff occur on a daily basis and the current reporting requirements are burdensome. Nevertheless it is a legal requirement and the situation will not change until the true extent of the impact on staff is recorded. Consider making bulk reports on a weekly or monthly basis for the less serious incidents to the Employee Support Bureau at the Department of Education and to the SSTUWA.
Record these in a diary, these may prove valuable at a later stage to support a case of escalating behaviour for Education Department, WorkSafe or police action.