Policy University Management WHS-PRO-005 WHS Incident and Hazard Management

WHS-PRO-005 WHS Incident and Hazard Management

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly


This procedure details how to manage work health and safety incidents at James Cook University (JCU).  JCU has a legal obligation to manage and keep a record of all work related incidents, hazards and near misses arising from its activities and to eliminate or minimise hazards and risk within the workplace.

Depending on the nature of the incident/hazard/near miss, the University must also notify Workplace Health Safety Queensland (WHSQ) or the Electrical Safety Officer (ESO).

This WHS Incident and Hazard Management procedure supports the University Incident Management Policy and the Work Health and Safety Policy.


This Procedure applies to all staff, students (including higher degree by research candidates), affiliates, contractors and visitors who undertake any activities on JCU premises, or who execute work for or on behalf of the University either on or off campus and:

  • are involved in a Health and Safety incident ; and/or
  • sustain an injury or illness; and/or
  • are exposed to hazards; and/or
  • are subjected to a near miss.

This Procedure does not pertain to a member of the public who suffers a medical event that occurs whilst participating in clinical activities, unless the facility or equipment was a contributing factor. For further clarification on this contact the WHS Unit.





(a) an application for compensation; or

(b) a claim for damages.

Action Plan

An action plan is a set of actions to rectify an issue/s to make it safe in the short term and or longer term

Electrical Safety Office (ESO)

The regulatory body responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 and Electrical Safety Regulation 2013.

First Aid

Is the immediate treatment or care given to a person suffering from an injury / illness until more advanced care is provided or the person recovers.

First Aid Injury (FAI)

A first aid injury (FAI) is an injury that requires a single first aid treatment and a follow-up visit for subsequent observation involving only minor injuries (minor scratches, burns, cuts and so forth) which do not ordinarily require more advanced care, and for which the person would typically return immediately to their normal activities.


A source or a situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health.

Health and Safety Representative (HSR)

A Worker who has been elected by a work group to represent them on health and safety issues.


Any physical or mental ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition which can be of sudden or gradual development. This also includes the aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or recurrence of any pre-existing disease.


A finite and often isolated event which may cause injury, illness, property or environmental damage or some combination of all four in varying degrees from insignificant to catastrophic consequences, but is managed during the normal course of operations and within normal reporting lines, processes and procedures.

Lost Time Injury (LTI)

A work related injury which resulted in a complete shift or more being lost from work as a result of an injury or illness.

Medical Treatment Injury (MTI)

A work related injury which results in treatment provided by a qualified health professional e.g. General Practitioner, Physiotherapist.


The University’s online maintenance request system. Raising of a request may be required as a measure following identification of a hazard or an action following an incident.

Near Miss

An incident that occurred at the workplace which, although not resulting in an injury illness or damage, had the potential to do so.

Preventative Action Plan

A preventive action is used to prevent further issues arising and is based on the cause of an incident or possible source of a hazard.

Notifiable Incident

An incident that arises out of the conduct of a business or undertaking; that results in

  • the death of a person;
  • a serious injury illness of a person;
  • a dangerous incident;
  • a serious electrical incident; or
  • a dangerous electrical event.

and therefore needs to be reported to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) / Electrical Safety Office (ESO).

Refer to Appendix 1 for exact definition by classification


A person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of a business or undertaking or has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking.

If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an Officer under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

Holders of the following JCU positions are considered Officers:

1. Members of Council;

2. University Executive, Pro Vice Chancellors, Directors and Deans.


Visitors to a JCU controlled property and students not performing work experience or paid or unpaid work.


Person conducting a business or undertaking.  The meaning of ‘Person conducting a business or undertaking’ is interpreted by WorkCover Queensland.  Workplace health and safety laws/definitions.


James Cook University’s cloud based online Risk Management System This system has been developed specifically for the University’s use, and provides a standardised electronic reporting tool that can be accessed via the WHS Unit website.

Supervisor/Responsible Person

Any person who is responsible for:

  • workers;
  • the allocation of tasks to Workers;
  • the oversight of all JCU students during teaching; and/or learning activities including field trips;
  • the person with oversight for an incident; and/or
  • for notifiable incidents only, the responsible person may be changed to a higher level of management within JCU.


A person who carries out work in any capacity for JCU, and includes working as:

  • an employee;
  • a volunteer;
  • an apprentice or trainee;;
  • a student gaining work experience (paid or unpaid);
  • a contractor or subcontractor and their employees;
  • labour hire company employees assigned to work for JCU.


A workplace is the place where work is carried out for JCU and includes any place where a Worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ)

The regulatory body responsible for overseeing the enforcement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

Table of Contents

1       Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1         James Cook University

1.2         Officers

1.3         Responsible Persons

1.4         Workers and Others

1.5         Work Health and Safety (WHS) Unit

2        Reporting and Recording Incidents

2.1         Incident / Hazard Reporting

2.2         Incident / Hazard Notification

2.3         Responsiveness and Response Times

2.4         Corrective/ Preventative Action Plans

2.5         Delegation

3        Management of Notifiable Incidents

4        Reporting other incidents

5       Incident Investigations

6       Training Requirements

Related policy instruments



1 Duties, Obligations and Responsibilities

1.1 James Cook University

Under the Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act, the University must have processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and near misses and responding in a timely way to that information.

James Cook University uses the RiskWare system to record and manage all workplace incidents, injuries, illnesses, near misses and hazards.

Under the WHS Act and Electrical Safety Act, a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is required to notify Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred.

Other legislation dealing with items such as radiation, drugs, boating and biosafety also have requirements for reporting certain incidents.  Information on these reporting requirements is outlined in the relevant WHS Procedures.  All boating and diving incidents must also be immediately reported to the University Boating and Diving Unit, notification should be verbal or by email and entered into RiskWare.

1.2 Officers

Officers have a duty under the WHS Act to exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU fulfils its health and safety obligations under the Act.

In exercising due diligence, Officers must take reasonable steps to:

  • ensure appropriate resources and processes are provided to enable hazards to be identified and risks to be eliminated or minimised;
  • confirm information regarding incidents, hazards and risks is received and the information is responded to in a timely way; and
  • allow staff time to attend to or participate in the incident investigation process.

1.3 Responsible Persons

Responsible Persons are responsible for:

  • Ensuring the injured person is attended to;
  • Considering the welfare of witnesses and others;
  • Securing the incident area to ensure it is safe (preserving the incident site if a significant incident / event);
  • Implementing any corrective actions necessary to prevent an injury/reoccurrence;
  • Ensuring that incidents/hazards are reported in RiskWare within 24 hours of the occurrence/identification;
  • If the injury is work related and there are medical costs or lost work time resulting from the injury, informing the injured employee of their eligibility to claim workers' compensation;
  • Investigating incidents and hazards, and taking corrective action to reduce the level of risk and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents; and
  • Monitor corrective actions to ensure they are effective and do not introduce any new hazards.

1.4   Workers and Others

Workers and others have a responsibility to:

  • seek first aid treatment for any injury sustained;
  • notify all personnel in the area of the hazard;
  • immediately report the hazard/incident to the Supervisor / Lecturer / Field Trip Leader;
  • record the hazard/incident as soon as possible using the RiskWare system;
  • assist in investigation process, where requested; and
  • assist the Responsible Person to identify corrective action, where requested.

Workers at the University are also encouraged to report  'near misses'.  A near miss should be considered as a warning sign for a potential problem that could result in an injury or illness if allowed to recur.

1.5 Work Health and Safety (WHS) Unit

The WHS Unit is responsible for:

  • monitoring and reviewing the risk management system (RiskWare) to ensure effective incident / hazard management and reporting;
  • providing advice and recommendations to the JCU community on corrective and preventative actions to improve the level of health and safety;
  • conducting investigations and following up on significant incidents to prevent recurrence;
  • notifying and dealing with regulatory bodies, where required;
  • providing Health and Safety Representative’s (HSR) with information on incidents that are relevant to their workgroup if requested to do so (confidential information will be protected); and
  • providing training on the use of RiskWare and overseeing the management of RiskWare System.

2      Reporting and Recording Incidents

2.1 Incident / Hazard Reporting

All workplace health and safety incidents/hazards must be:

  • Reported to the relevant supervisor or lecturer as soon as possible; and
  • Logged into RiskWare. If you require assistance, contact the JCU WHS Unit at safety@jcu.edu.au

In the event of a Notifiable Incident refer to section 3.

2.2 Incident / Hazard Notification in RiskWare

When an incident or hazard is entered into RiskWare, a responsible person will be allocated automatically.  The responsible person is:

  • For JCU Staff - the staff members immediate supervisor; or
  • For JCU Students - the Course Coordinator.

The responsible person can be manually changed in the “Assign to” section.  If the  “Do you require that this incident remains confidential from your supervisor/manager?” question is ticked,  the incident is referred only to a WHS Unit representative.

When an incident or hazard is reported in RiskWare, the Responsible Persons will automatically receive an email notification. This email provides summary details of the incident or hazard, and instructions on what needs to be done.  The Responsible Person is required to view the details of the incident or hazard in RiskWare and develop and complete the action plan.

2.3 Responsiveness and Response Times

It is a requirement that all incidents / hazards are reported immediately to the Supervisor / Lecturer (may be verbal) and entered into RiskWare within 24 hours of the incident / hazard identification.

The Responsible Person is required to submit the RiskWare action plan within 10 working days of the incident/hazard being reported.

RiskWare action plans are required to be completed within a reasonable time frame relevant to the risk. The person responsible for the hazard should contact the person who is capable of completing the action to negotiate a time frame.

2.4 Action Plans

Action plans are used to plan and record the corrective / preventative actions that have or will be taken in response to an incident or a reported hazard.

An action may include the raising of a MEX request.  If a request is raised, the MEX request number must be recorded in the action plan.

The WHS Unit provides face to face and online training on how to complete an action plan (online RiskWare training videos are available on the WHS website).

2.5 Delegation

Day to day management of incidents/hazards in RiskWare will automatically be assigned to the relevant Responsible Person.

Responsible Persons who are away from work for a period of time are required to delegate their incident/ hazard management responsibilities.

3      Management of Notifiable Incidents

The University must notify WHSQ immediately by the fastest available method after becoming aware of the occurrence of the following:

a) the death of a person; or

b) a serious injury or illness; or

c) a dangerous incident; or

d) a serious electrical incident; or

e) a dangerous electrical incident.

A record must be kept of notifiable incidents for at least five years from the date the notice is given to WHSQ.

How to notify a Notifiable Incident

  • In the first instance call 000, and then follow internal emergency notification procedures – including reporting to the Chief of Staff as Critical Incident Coordinator.
  • During business hours, contact the JCU WHS Unit to arrange notification to WHSQ through the Senior WHS Advisor for the campus.
  • After hours, notify JCU Security (unless the incident relates to a University Residential College, in which case contact the Residential Adviser). Security will advise the appropriate Dean/Director. The Senior WHS Advisor for the campus must also be advised as soon as possible and will contact WHSQ.
  • The scene of a notifiable incident must not be interfered with except to save life, relieve suffering or prevent further injury to persons, remove a deceased person, or if permission is given by a police officer or by a WHSQ inspector.
  • In the event of a death, the attending Emergency personnel (paramedics or police) will contact WHSQ.
  • The following information must be collected before calling the Senior Safety Advisor who will advise WHSQ:
    • What type of event it is (serious injury, death, serious illness etc.);
    • Date, time and address of incident;
    • Description of incident;
    • Description of injury/illness;
    • Location of injury; and
    • Where the injured person has been taken for treatment.
  • Notification must be by the most efficient means possible; usually by phone. A WHSQ incident notification form (approved form) will be completed with the injured person’s particulars and submitted as soon as possible.

4 Reporting other incidents

4.1 Security Incidents

Report all security incidents as early as possible to the JCU Security Office or a JCU Security Officer. Any emailed reports should be sent to security@jcu.edu.au. All reports remain confidential.

Townsville, Bebegu Yumba Campus, Douglas 

Emergencies only

From an external or mobile phone – dial 4781 5555 or 1800 675 559

From an internal phone dial 15555

General Enquiries

From an external or a mobile phone – dial 1800 675 559

From an internal phone dial 16000.

Email address is securitycontrol@jcu.edu.au

Cairns, Nguma-bada Campus, Smithfield

From an external or mobile phone –

Dial 4232 1293 or mobile phone dial 1800 675 559

From an internal phone – 21293 (this number may divert to a mobile number)

Email address is cairnssecurity@jcu.edu.au (internal use only)

4.2 University Vehicle Incident

If the incident involves damage to a JCU University Fleet Vehicle, a University Vehicle Accident Form must be completed. This form can be obtained from the Fleet Vehicles web site.  A RiskWare incident report is also required.

5      Incident Investigations

All incidents must be investigated by a JCU staff member in a management, supervisory or delegated role. The level and type of investigation will be dependent on the consequence of the incident.  All investigations for regulatory notifiable incidents will be instigated and led by the WHS Unit.

An incident involving an injury or illness may require more investigative effort than a near miss or a non-injury incident. The aim of the investigation is to establish a cause so it can be corrected and or prevented through elimination or risk reduction using control actions.

Riskware Investigations:

After an incident has been logged in RiskWare, the Responsible Person for the incident must complete the Riskware Action Plan within the designated time frame listed in section 2.3 of this procedure.

A basic investigation tool is included in the Action Plan.  The Action Plan investigation tab requires the Responsible Person to identify the contributing factors to the incident. Contributing factors in Riskware have been grouped into the following categories: people, equipment, environment, procedural and organization factors.  Once contributing factors have been identified, the Responsible Person will be required to provide details and recommend controls.

The Action Plan incident investigation tool may not be detailed enough for complex / serious incidents.  If the incident is complex / serious the Investigate Icon in RiskWare is available.

Incident investigation guidelines:

  • JCU management must allow staff adequate time to complete a thorough investigation;
  • JCU management must allow staff to be part of incident investigation teams when required by the WHS Unit;
  • Investigations are best done as a team so all parties can contribute their skills and expertise to achieve the best result.  Consider engaging health and safety representatives, persons from the worksite and subject matter experts where required;
  • An investigation team for a serious bodily injury, fatality, or extensive property damage could include the supervisor of the injured person, WHS Unit, technical specialists and other persons familiar with the process or operation;
  • When conducting the investigation the people who know more about the workplace than anyone else are the workers. Workers should therefore be given the opportunity to recommend safety solutions during the investigation, and questions should be asked as to whether similar incidents have occurred in the past;
  • All incidents should be investigated as soon as reasonably practicable and action taken to eliminate or minimise the risk of a further or other occurrences;
  • If photographs were not able to be obtained at the time of incident reporting, these should form part of the incident investigation process. Sketches, photographs, witness statements and any other relevant documentation should be attached to the incident record in Riskware. Personal injury details must remain confidential. The Investigation Team should analyse the information gathered during the investigation and identify the contributing factors;
  • Investigators may need to review information such as design specifications, procedures, equipment manuals, risk assessments, safety data sheets, etc.;
  • The investigation should be systematic, consider the events leading up to the incident, facts of the incident itself, facts regarding what occurred immediately after the incident and essential factors and causes;
  • Where the investigation has revealed that an individual may have contributed to the incident whether inadvertently or intentionally the matter may be referred back to the immediate Supervisor and/or the Manager of Human Resources.

6      Training Requirements

The WHS Unit provides interactive training to supervisors and managers who are responsible for managing reported incidents and hazards and creating action plans to address health and safety issues. Online training and information videos are located on the safety webpage including a suite of RiskWare training videos for staff and students.  RiskWare System Use training is mandatory for all staff and post graduate standards within 3 months of commencing work at the University.

For further information on health and safety training contact whstraining@jcu.edu.au

Work Health and Safety Policy

Incident Management Policy

JCU Boating WHS Management Framework

JCU Diving WHS Management  Framework

Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

WHS-PRO-009 Biosafety Procedure

WHS-PRO-011 Drugs and Poisons Procedure

WHS-PRO-014 Ionising Radiation Procedure


Appendix 1.  What is a Notifiable Incident?


NOTE:  Printed copies of this Procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainUniversity Management
Policy Sub-domainWHS Management

Policy Custodian

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval Authority

Work Health and Safety Committee

Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Procedure rearranged, investigations updated to reflect current practices, electrical safety office and notifiable incidents added.

Name of Procedure changed from HSE-PRO-014 Incident and Hazard Management Procedure to WHS-PRO-005 WHS Incident and Hazard Management

Work Health and Safety Unit




Minor amendment following recommendations from Internal Audit report 10/07/2017

Health, Safety & Environment





Procedure established

Workplace Health & Safety Advisor


Incident management, hazard, incident, investigation, notifiable incident