Accidents & Incidents - how should a rep react?

Under Section 58(1)(a)(ii) of the Victorian OHS Act (2004), a rep has the right to immediately inspect the workplace in the event of an accident, a hazardous occurrance or an immediate risk. Reps should ensure that they have requested the employer to notify them, that is, implement a formal notification process, so that they know when such an event has occurred.

Here is a checklist of the action the VTHC suggests reps should take following notification of an accident:

  • Get to the scene of the accident as quickly as they can, after notifying the supervisor if possible.
  • Make sure it is safe to approach the scene of the accident.
  • See that the injured person is receiving appropriate first aid or medical attention.
  • Insist that, as far as is possible, nothing is moved or altered until enquiries are completed. If this has already happened make careful notes about the changes including a statement from the supervisor, if possible.
  • Inspect the scene, making sketches and measurements, and taking photographs where appropriate.
  • Talk to witnesses to get more information. Take written statements on important points of necessary. Reps should remind workers that they are not obliged to give written statements to management except for WorkCover claim forms. Reps should also insist on a private discussion with the workers present, if necessary.
  • Reps may suggest immediate precautions to the employer to prevent any recurrence. This may be achieved through implementation of an agreed or prescribed workplace procedure, issuing of a Provisional Improvement Notice, or by ceasing work (as provided by Section 74 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004).
  • Check the accident book/register to see that the accident has been recorded, and that the description of the accident and its causes are accurate (see document below for a suggested register)
  • Check with your supervisor whether the accident has been reported to relevant authorities if it is a "notifiable incident" under Part 5 of the OHS Act, 2004.  The employer has a legal duty to notify WorkSafe of certain incidents. For more information on this, see Notifiable Incidents, on this site.

Last amended June 2015