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Health and Safety - OHS Incident Reporting and Investigation Procedure

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Section 1 - Summary

(1) This Procedure:

  1. Ensures Victoria University gathers accurate and timely data on incidents, hazards and dangerous occurrences which have caused injury or illness to any person, or had the potential to cause injury or illness to any person on any University site and in relation to activities under the control and management of the University.
  2. Provides instruction on communication regarding OHS incidents at the University.
  3. Provides practical instruction on when and how the investigation of incidents will be conducted.
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Section 2 - HESF/ASQA/ESOS Alignment

(2) HESF: Standard 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety

(3) Standards for Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) 2015 (Cth): Standard 8.

(4) This Procedure also complies with ISO 45001:2018 Clause – 10.2 and ISO 45003:2021 Clause – 10.2.

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Section 3 - Scope

(5) This Procedure applies across the University and to all University employees.

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Section 4 - Definitions

(6) Corrective Action - Planned action(s) to eliminate or minimise the potential of a hazard to cause physical and/or psychological harm to a person, property or the environment. Action to mitigate any reoccurrence of an accident/incident.

(7) Elumina QuickSafe - The University’s online Hazard/Incident Reporting System for reporting accidents, incidents, hazards and recording corrective actions. 

(8) Elumina QuickSafe Incident Form: see Incident & Hazard Reporting Form.

(9) Hazard - A situation, thing or an environment which has the potential to cause physical and/or psychological harm to a person.

(10) Incident: Occurrence arising out of, or in the course of, work that could or does result in physical and/or psychological injury and ill health. Incidents are categorised as: 

  1. Near Miss: A near miss is defined as any occurrence that might have led to physical and/or psychological injury or illness to a person. 
  2. Injury and ill health - Adverse effect on the physical, mental or cognitive condition of a person. Injuries and ill health are further classified as: 
    1. No lost time: Less than a complete day was lost from work as a result of the injury; 
    2. Lost time: A complete day or more was lost from work as a result of the injury.

(11) Notifiable Incident - Serious incidents, which, in accordance with legislative obligations, are required to be reported to the Regulator. See WorkSafe Notifiable Incidents.

(12) Worker - A person who carries out work in any capacity for the University including academic and professional staff, contractors and sub-contractors and their employees, labour hire company employees, trainees, persons gaining work experience and volunteers.

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Section 5 - Policy/Regulation

(13) Health and Safety Policy

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Section 6 - Procedures

Part A - Roles and Responsibilities

Roles Responsibilities
Everyone at VU
Take care to avoid injury or illness and to maintain safe work environments.
Take immediate steps to minimise further injury or illness to others once a hazard has been identified or incident has taken place.
Notify verbally the appropriate manager of an area where a hazard or incident has been experienced or witnessed.

Notify using the Incident & Hazard Reporting form, of any hazard with potential to, or incident which has, caused injury, illness or damage to the work environment.

Implement changes as instructed to improve health, safety and wellbeing at VU.
Executives and Leaders
Encourage the reporting of HSW hazards and incidents through Elumina Quicksafe to reduce the potential for hazards to lead to injury. 
Include HSW Incident Investigation reports on OHS Consultative Committee agendas.
Endorse and monitor the recommendations from Incident Investigation reports and ensure recommendations are allocated reasonable resources for implementation.
Respond immediately after the incident occurs.
Communicate with the HSW Team, senior leaders and any other stakeholders as soon as possible after a serious incident occurs.
Investigate all serious incidents, i.e lost time injuries using HSW-4.1-F-01-1.0 Incident Investigation Form.
Notify WorkSafe of any Notifiable Incidents. Ensure incident sites are preserved for investigation where possible. Participate in incident investigations including contribute to reports on incidents within their direct group.
Ensure Health and Safety Representatives are made available for consultation on incident investigation recommendations.
Implement actions recommended in the investigation report in order to prevent the potential for reoccurrence.

Report notifiable incidents to Security and the HSW team.

Involve the HSR(s) of the worker reporting the accident/incident in the investigation of the accident/incident. Release of any personal details is subject to the consent of the worker concerned. 

Apply a risk management approach to the findings of all accident and incident investigations 
ensure that recommended corrective actions are implemented, monitored and reviewed for effectiveness. 

Maintain and manage the privacy and confidentiality of personal and health information relating to an injured worker or student.
Teachers, Academic Staff and Researchers
Provide immediate response after the incident occurs where it involves students or staff with which they are directly involved at the time.
Report incident to Managers, the HSW Team and any other stakeholders to ensure timely response and management of the incident.
Participate in OHS Incident Investigations and provide any information and support requested, to the investigation.
Implement actions recommended in the investigation report as required.
HSW Team
Provide advice on incident management, WorkSafe notifications and incident investigations.
Provide advice and gather evidence, conduct interviews and consult on recommended actions during incident response and investigation.
Assist with the preparation and circulation of incident reports taking into account the content of the reports and privacy and other legal limitations.
Ensure wider distribution of any information which may impact on other parts of VU business and issue alerts.
Provide statistical data and executive reports on incidents and incident investigations to OHS Consultative Committees and the Senior Leadership Team.
Monitor the implementation of actions recommended in investigation reports as required.

Part B - Incident Reporting and Investigation

(14) All health and safety incidents must be reported both verbally to an appropriate manager and through the University’s online Hazard/Incident Reporting System Elumina Quicksafe as soon as possible and not more than 24 hours.

(15) When the incident is considered serious, the notification is required immediately in person or by telephone to the appropriate manager, the HSW Team, and the Executive Dean or the organisational unit Executive, followed by an online report in the Hazard/Incident Reporting System.

(16) Once entered into the portal, the workplace manager will receive notification about the report.

(17) It is the responsibility of the HSW Manager to ensure that duplicate reports for the same incident are cancelled.

Incident or Hazard Response

(18) All employees must take immediate action(s) to minimise safety risks to persons, plant, equipment or the environment. This may include but is not limited to:

  1. Obtaining first aid treatment or other assistance for any injuries;
  2. Stopping work or other activities that are associated with the incident or hazard; and
  3. Assessing the site and making it safe as far as practical or limiting exposure by withdrawing from the site.

(19) Where any incident has caused serious injury to a person or posed a serious threat, the site must be preserved without disturbance as far as possible, to enable a thorough investigation to be carried out.

Granting Additional Access to View Reports 

(20) The person assigned responsibility for the report, the relevant HSW Advisor, or the HSW Manager may invite relevant stakeholders to have view only access to any report except confidential reports. 

(21) HSR(s) may be invited by the affected person to view the report if the affected person consents. 

(22) Except for confidential reports, all reports can be viewed by the relevant department/college/business unit head.

Internal Communication

(23) An incident / hazard report can be made by any person involved in the incident or witnessing the incident or hazard, or by a third party if requested by any person involved in the incident or who witnessed the incident or hazard. The person making the report on the Hazard/Incident Reporting System is required to be an employee of the University so students and others should request an employee complete the online report on their behalf.

(24) Managers, Executive Deans and Executives are required to inform a member of the HSW team as well as relevant members of the Senior Leadership Team of all serious incidents particularly those that may require notification to WorkSafe, and/or an affected third party employer or business partner.

External communication including WorkSafe notifiable Incidents

(25) Where the incident is required to be notified to WorkSafe contact must be made immediately with a member of the HSW Team for advice and support before telephoning WorkSafe on 132 360. WorkSafe will require their specific incident notification form to be completed (using the reference number provided when telephoned through) and lodged within 48 hours. See the Incident Reporting Flow Chart and Incident Reporting Process related to Facilities for more information.

(26) In the event of a serious incident or injury a senior manager will be required to contact any third parties who may include the parents or guardians of students, family of staff members, employers of apprentices or other stakeholders who may be impacted by the incident.  See WorkSafe Notifiable Incidents.


(27) The Manager will make an initial assessment of the severity of the hazard or incident using the severity rating provided on the HSW-4.1-GL-01-1.0 Health and Safety Risk Severity Guide.

(28) The HSW Team have the authority to reassess the severity of an incident or hazard at any time. Both the manager and HSW Team member will take into account the actual or potential impact on individuals and the organisation of the incident or hazard.

(29) Major or high risk investigations and/or where the consequence is moderate or worse, will be led by a member of the HSW Team in accordance with the HSW Team Investigation guidance and report form. Investigations should commence within 1 business day of the incident or occurrence and be completed as soon as possible following the process provided on the guidance and report form.

(30) If the incident is classified as notifiable to WorkSafe then the investigation will be led by a member of the HSW Team.

(31) An insignificant or minor consequence incident, hazard or near miss will be investigated by the manager and a report entered into the Hazard/Incident Reporting System within 7 days. Assistance can be sought from the HSW Team.

(32) It is important for all investigation teams to look for underlying causes and not simply immediate causes. Corrective actions should be considered, documented and implemented.