May 11, 2024 • 9 min read

Got a Workplace Injury? Here’s What You Should Do Next

As an employer, you have responsibilities to fulfil and compliance steps to follow as soon as a workplace injury occurs. Find out what these are so you can support your injured employees more effectively.

Written by: Stephen Zeng

Workplace safety may be a top priority for employers, but believe it or not, accidents still happen despite everyone’s best efforts.

When a work-related injury occurs, it’s crucial for employers to understand their obligations to ensure the well-being of their employees and to comply with legal requirements. In this article, we outline the key steps employers must take in the event of a work injury – and what can happen if you don’t.

Immediate Reporting to SafeWork NSW

When a work injury occurs, one of the employer’s first priorities is reporting it immediately to SafeWork NSW by calling 13 10 50, especially if:

  • a person has died;
  • a person has experienced a serious injury or illness; or
  • a potentially dangerous incident has occurred

These all constitute what SafeWork calls a notifiable incident. SafeWork’s 13 10 50 hotline is available 24/7.

Prompt reporting ensures an urgent investigation can be launched if necessary. It’s also important to preserve the scene of incident until given further instructions by an inspector.

Notify Your Workers Comp Insurer

Employers must notify their workers compensation insurer within 48 hours of becoming aware of the injury. This step – known as the initial notification – helps with initiating the claims process.

When notifying the insurer, you are required to provide details like:

  • Your business name and contact details
  • The worker’s name and contact details
  • The treating doctor’s information (if applicable)
  • The date and time that the injury occurred
  • How the injury occurred
  • A thorough description of the injury

Providing accurate and complete information would enable a smoother overall claims process.

Record in Register of Injuries

Regardless of whether a workers compensation claim is lodged, it’s mandatory for employers to record the injury in their register of injuries.

Besides being a record of all workplace injuries, employers should also record the investigation, the outcome, the changes or risk controls implemented as a result, and how employees were informed of these changes. Over time, this register will help with monitoring work health and safety (WHS) trends. 

Making this register accessible to all workers also encourages them to raise safety concerns.

If you don’t know how to start your company’s register of injuries, SafeWork provides a standard template that all employers can use.

Penalties for Employers

“By adhering to these obligations, you not only meet legal requirements but also demonstrate your commitment to the safety and well-being of your employees.”

Penalties of up to $50,000 for a body corporate and $10,000 for an individual apply for not notifying incidents.

In 2023 alone, SafeWork issued at least 140 compliance notices and over $55,000 in fines for breaches. About 33% of these offences had come from the construction industry.

Alternative Solutions for Workers

A worker who believes that their employer has failed to notify their insurer of a workplace injury or illness can reach out to IRO at 139 IRO (139 476) for help. The worker can also contact the insurer directly and report the incident.

Any worker who feels their workplace is unsafe can report their concerns anonymously to SafeWork NSW via the Speak Up Save Lives app. Including photographs can help SafeWork identify any other potential risks and hazards.

*The details in this article were correct and current when it was written. However, changes in business practices, policies, and other pertinent areas may have occurred since then. Readers should confirm the current validity of the content on their own.

Stephen Zeng
Stephen is the director and the principal writer at AusRehab, leading workplace rehabilitation provider, with a focus on addressing and resolving workplace injuries.

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