Accident at the workplace | LabourBlawg

Accidents at the workplace

by John F. Morrissey Employment Lawyers on September 30, 2013

(Aus employment/injury law and generally) When there is an injury at work, the employer, the injured worker, the nominated treating doctor and the insurer and WorkCover all have roles to play.

If the injury is serious, this can be a drawn-out process.

  • It may be necessary for the injured to receive ongoing treatment.
  • There may be compensation payments.
  • You may have to offer suitable employment if there are any permanent restrictions on the worker’s capacities.
  • If the worker can return to his/her job, there will need to be a return to work plan.

Though these and the other tasks take time and trouble, they do not have to be done on the spot, and they are not as vital as what you do immediately after the incident.

There are three key things to remember when an accident happens.

  • Act at once, whether the injury or illness seems to be severe or not.
  • Cover all the bases – treatment, insurance and WorkCover.
  • Make sure records are complete to prevent further incidents and in case there is an enquiry or court case.


  1. Seek medical attention for everyone in need; this may be as simple as first aid but it could require summoning an ambulance or transporting the injured to where they will get medical treatment (a doctor or hospital).
  2. If any injured are to be taken off-site, they should be given:
    – Name and details of the employer’s insurer
    – The employer’s company name and contact details.
  3. They may also ask for a Worker’s Injury Claim Form. You can see what the form is like here.
  4. Apart from performing first aid and/or treatment, do not disturb the scene. Ensure the facility is secure and that no one else can be harmed or injured.Though you should always keep people away from potentially hazardous equipment, do not discard or destroy it. It is evidence in any future enquiry, investigation or court case.
  5. For incidents involving the death of a person, serious injury or illness, or where a dangerous incident has occurred:
    – notify WorkCover immediately on 13 10 50
    – notify your insurer within 48 hours.
  6. For incidents involving an injury or illness where workers compensation is payable such as lost time and/or medical expenses, notify your insurer within 48 hours.



  1. Record the details of the accident while they are fresh in your mind. Time can change the way you view the situation and your memory of it, so write down all information immediately. Get contact information from others involved whenever possible, and get insurance information where necessary.
  2. Ensure that the register of injuries is completed.
  3. Make sure you understand the WorkCover Certificate Of Capacity. You can download the form here.
  4. Remind workers to keep copies of all documentation relating to their injury
  5. Fill out our checklist. This will provide you with the details that the insurer will expect to be provided with.



  1. If it is a minor injury, the question of alternative employment will arise straight away.
  2. Once the scene is secured and the proper authorities have been notified, the employer should immediately conduct an internal investigation. Preventing further incidents of the same kind is essential.In conduction your investigation, do not ignore the incident that is a ‘near miss’. This could be a useful warning of potential dangers.

Keep this information where you can find it without delay. If the injury/injuries are serious or disabling, there is likely to be panic and the employees near the site are looking for leadership. This list will enable the employer to stay calm and do the best for the injured person and the company.

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