Dangerous Occurances / Notifiable Events toolbox talk

A simple, 5 minute outline of what to cover in a toolbox talk on Dangerous Occurances / Notifiable Events.

When certain work-related events happen, these are called notifiable events and must be reported to a regulator for most businesses the regulator is Worksafe. There are two exceptions: Maritime is the regulator for ships at sea & work on ships and Civil Aviation Authority covers  aircraft in flight and operation.

*Note: This Toolbox is written in relation to New Zealand Law and Legislation

Why run a Dangerous Occurances / Notifiable Events Toolbox Talk?

  • Improve awareness about things that can go wrong on worksites and learnings that can come from these 
  • Assist with understanding of legislative aspects and standards
  • Fewer injuries means higher productivity

What is a notifiable event? 

A notifiable event is when any of these events happen at work: 

  • A death
  • A notifiable injury or illness 
  • A notifiable incident 

Deaths, injuries or illnesses that happen at work but are unrelated to a work hazard or risk are not notifiable. For example, a diabetic goes into a coma at work.  

What is classed as a notifiable injury or illness? 

  • If a person needs to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment resulting from a workplace event, then this is notifiable. This does not include visiting emergency department (ED) or for corrective surgery at a later date. 
  • Amputation of any part of the body
  • Serious head or eye injury 
  • Serious burn 
  • Skin injury exposing tendons, bones or muscles 
  • Spinal injury 
  • Loss of bodily function (consciousness, speech, senses, limb movement 
  • Deep cuts/lacerations that have damaged muscle, tendon, nerve or blood vessels. This may include requiring more than a few stitches 
  • An injury or illness that requires medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance (e.g. Inhalation of toxic chemicals) 
  • Serious infection from work place (e.g. infection caught from animals (zoonoses), or working with compost, soil etc.) 

What is a notifiable incident?

This is an unplanned or uncontrolled incident that exposes a worker to serious health & safety risk at a workplace, for example exposure to: 

  • Substance spilling, leaking or escaping 
  • Explosion or fire 
  • Electric shock 
  • Plant, substance or object falling from height 
  • Collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting excavation 

What steps need to be taken if a notifiable event happens? 

  1. Site where event happened must be preserved and not disturbed! Unless it is to help an injured person, remove deceased person, crucial to make the site safe or directed by Police. 
  2. Worksafe or other regulator must be notified if it’s a death, then a phone call needs to be made; other notifications can be made online.
  3. Records for the notifiable event need to be kept for at least 5 years  
  4. It is part of good practice for a business to investigate any notifiable event to help identify risks in the workplace 


Key takeaways:

  • Only serious events are expected to be notified 
  • Notifiable events include deaths, specific injuries, illnesses, or events that happens at work 
  • Notifiable events must be reported to a regulator as soon as possible 
  • If you aren’t sure if an event is notifiable or not, ask your manager or call the appropriate regulator to get advice! 

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