Module One, Part G - Notifications and Authorisations

Notifications and Authorisations

This section contains information on the following topics:

Notifiable events (Section 25 HSWA)

Hi Viz Fact#

A notifiable event is when the following occurs as a result of work:

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

WorkSafe must be informed about any notifiable events.

The regulator (in most cases WorkSafe unless the regulator is a designated agency) must be informed about any notifiable events that arise from work.

It is a duty of a Council, under Section 56 HSWA, to inform Worksafe of any notifiable event as soon as possible after becoming aware that a notifiable event arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred.  Notification can be given by telephone or in writing e.g. by email.

A notifiable event is when the following occurs as a result of work:

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

A notifiable incident, illness, injury or death must arise out of the work of the Council. It could be due to the condition of the work site, the way the work activity is organised or the way the equipment or substances are used.

Notifiable events may occur inside or outside the actual work site.

Deaths, injuries or illness that are unrelated to work are NOT notifiable events. For example:

  • A diabetic slipping into a coma at work
  • A worker being injured driving to work in their private vehicle when driving is not done as part of their work
  • A worker fainting from a non-work related cause


Notifiable incidents (Section 24 HSWA)

[To discuss where you want to put the explanation about HASNO sections now covered by HSWA and the upcoming regulations (anticipated end of 2017.]

A notifiable incident is an unplanned or uncontrolled incident in relation to a workplace that exposes the health and safety of workers or others to a serious risk arising from immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • an escape, a spillage, or a leakage of a substance; or
  • an implosion, explosion, or fire; or
  • an escape of gas or steam; or
  • an escape of a pressurised substance; or
  • an electric shock; or
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance, or thing; or
  • the collapse, overturning, failure, or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with regulations; or
    • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure; or
    • the collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation; or
    • the inrush of water, mud, or gas in workings in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
    • the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
    • a collision between 2 vessels, a vessel capsize, or the inrush of water into a vessel

Notifiable incidents do not include controlled activities that form part of the business or undertaking.

People may be put at serious risk even if they were some distance from the incident e.g distance from a gas leak.


Notifiable illnesses and injuries (Section 23 HSWA)

There are specified serious work related illnesses or injuries that are recognised as a notifiable illness or injury. All injuries or illnesses which:

  • Require, or would usually require, a person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment;
  • Require, or would usually require, the person to have medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance;
  • Results in serious infection;
  • Any other injury or illness declared by Regulations.

Section 23 HSWA outlines notifiable illnesses and injuries. These include:

  • the amputation of any body part
  • a serious head injury
  • a serious eye injury
  • a serious burn
  • the separation of skin from underlying tissue (such as scalping or degloving)
  • a spinal injury
  • loss of a bodily function
  • a serious laceration


Authorisations (Section 204, HSWA)

Certain workplaces, work activities, plant or substances must have appropriate approvals (authorisations). Authorisations are licences, permits, consents, certificates, registrations or other authorities described in health and safety regulations, and must be obtained before relevant work begins.

Authorisations may be given by WorkSafe, another regulator or a third party authorised to do this.

Only prescribed workplaces, plant or substances, or work requires authorisation. Sometimes the authorisation is in the form of certain qualifications, experience or supervision required by workers to carry out the work.

All conditions on an authorisation must be complied with.


WorkSafe needs to be told about certain work activities before the work begins

WorkSafe needs to be told within specified times before certain work activities are carried out such as certain asbestos removal work.

Working with asbestos

The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 changed the law about working with asbestoson 4 April 2016.  

Due to its strength, durability and resistance to fire and water, asbestos was widely used in building products and materials up until the 1990s. The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 are designed to protect as many people as possible from exposure to asbestos fibres, and a Council must not carry out, or direct or allow a worker to carry out, work involving asbestos unless that work is done in accordance with the Asbestos Regulations.

A licensing system for the removal of asbestos has been introduced.  More information is available on the new licensing system from the WorkSafe website.  Duties and responsibilities have also changed and information on those roles and responsibilities can also be found on the WorkSafe website.  You should also comply with the requirements of the Approved Code of Practice for Asbestos. Amongst other requirements, notifications of licenced asbestos removal must now be made five days in advance of work starting.

Hazardous substances (Sections 199, 212 & 230 HSWA)

There are specific requirements to help manage the risks associated with manufacturing, using, handling or storing hazardous substances in the workplace and to protect the health and safety of workers.

Currently, they are set under the  Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act 1996. These requirements have been transferred to the Health and Safety at Work Act and a new set of Hazardous Substances Regulations that will come into force on 1 December 2017.  The Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 are available now on the Legislation website.

 The Hazardous Substances Toolbox has a package of useful information. It takes you through the 5 Steps to Safety, includes the  Practical Guide to Working Safely with Hazardous Substances and provides the  Hazardous Substances Calculator that can help you evaluate whether your business needs to comply with any key HSNO controls.