Safety Matters with Dr Paul

Incident Notification


The Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 places an obligation on a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to ensure that Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is notified immediately as they become aware of a notifiable incident (section 38).

A notifiable incident is defined as the death of a person; a serious injury or illness of a person; or a dangerous incident.
A serious injury or illness includes:

  • Immediate treatment as an inpatient in a hospital
  • Amputation of any part of the body
  • Serious head or eye injury
  • Serious burn
  • Separation of the skin from underlying tissue (e.g. de-gloving or scalping)
  • Spinal injury
  • Loss of bodily function
  • Serious laceration
  • Medical treatment with 48 hours of exposure to a substance

A dangerous incident includes:

  • Uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • Uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • Uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
  • Electric shock
  • Fall or release from height of any plant, substance or thing
  • Collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that required to be authorised for use under a regulation
  • Collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • Collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • Inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • Interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • Any other event prescribed under a regulation.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland must be notified by the fastest possible means by telephone or in writing. The details of the incident as requested by the regulator must be provided. A written notice, if required by the regulator, must be provided within 48 hours on a form approved by the regulator. The record of the notifiable incident must be kept for at least 5 years from the date the notice was provided to the regulator.

The PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the incident site is not disturbed until an inspector arrives or at the direction of an inspector. An exception is in assisting an injured person or action essential to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident.

This article provides general information only and should not be a substitute for seeking professional advice regarding your specific situation.


Dr Paul will be contributing regular articles to assist and advise PCBUs and their workers on the management of health and safety.