Reporting incidents to WorkSafe

26 March 2023

The Work Health and Safety Act 2020 introduced the term ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU responsibilities), which broadens the traditional definition of an ‘employer’. 

If a serious injury or illness arises through the conduct of a business or undertaking, the PCBU must ensure the regulator is notified immediately. It's important to understand what types of injuries and illnesses need to be reported and when, as these requirements have been expanded. 

Notifiable incidents

Call 1800 678 198 to report a workplace related death, a serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident that is currently life-threatening.

These incidents must all be reported to WorkSafe immediately after the PCBU becomes aware of the incident. Urgent medical assistance where required should be sought prior to contacting WorkSafe. 

There is a duty to preserve the scene so far as reasonably practicable. 

Types of serious illness or injury


  • Immediate treatment means the kind of urgent treatment that would be required for a serious injury or illness. It includes treatment by a registered medical practitioner, a paramedic or registered nurse.
  • Medical treatment refers to treatment by a registered medical practitioner (a doctor).
  • Even if immediate treatment is not readily available, for example because the incident site is rural or remote or because the relevant specialist treatment is not available, the notification must still be made.

Refer to Types of Treatment for further information. 

Types of dangerous incidents

A dangerous incident is defined as any incident in relation to a workplace that exposes any person to a serious risk resulting from an immediate or imminent exposure to: 

The regulator must be notified of any incident in relation to a workplace that exposes any person to a serious risk resulting from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
  • electric shock:
    • examples of electrical shock that are not notifiable:
    • shock due to static electricity
    • ‘extra low voltage’ shock (i.e.  arising from electrical equipment less than or equal to 50V AC and less than or equal to 120V DC)
    • defibrillators are used deliberately to shock a person for first aid or medical reasons
  • examples of electrical shocks that are notifiable:
    • minor shock resulting from direct contact with exposed live electrical parts (other than ‘extra low voltage’) including shock from capacitive discharge
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be design or item registered under the WHS regulations, for example a collapsing crane
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • the collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • 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.

Further information