Health and safety incident (external) - notification and management (notifiable incidents) guidelines


Managers at the University responsible for the recording and external reporting of notifiable incidents to external bodies.


To detail the process that supports the notification and detailed investigation and analysis of notifiable incidents.


Notifiable incidents

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) the University has a duty and obligation to notify WorkSafe New Zealand when certain work-related notifiable incidents occur.

Note - In all of these cases the person in charge must immediately contact the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service.

Notifiable incident scene and site preservation

Sequence of immediate response actions:

  • Protect your health and safety
  • Protect the health and safety of others
  • Provide aid to any injured persons involved in the incident
  • Call for first aid responders
  • Call emergency services such as an ambulance if required
  • Call security to coordinate access for emergency services on campus and secure site if required
  • If applicable, take essential action to make the site safe or to prevent a further incident.

Ensure the scene is preserved as much as possible in order for the investigation to take place.

The line manager or person in charge at the time who manages or controls the workplace where the notifiable incident occurs must preserve the site and ensure it is not disturbed until authorised by the Regulating Authority Inspector (i.e. a WorkSafe Inspector gives permission for normal work to resume at the site of an incident).

No interference and preservation mean:

  • The work set-up should not be changed on any plant
  • Substances or other things involved in the incident should stay where they are
  • Work that could interfere with the scene of the incident should stop
  • No alterations should be made to the plant, vehicles, or structures involved.

The exceptions to this requirement are:

  • To remove a deceased person
  • By or under direction of a constable (police officer)
  • Permitted by the regulator or an inspector.

Notifiable incident reporting to WorkSafe New Zealand

Any notifiable incidents must be reported immediately to the Health, Safety and Wellbeing service in order to ascertain the nature and severity of the incident.

Note - the Head of Department, and Dean / Director and Associate Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing must be informed as soon as practicable.

The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Manager will contact WorkSafe NZ or other agencies to report a notifiable incident and to seek a time when an inspector will visit the site for investigation or to ascertain investigation requirement or clearance of the accident / notifiable incident scene.

In the absence of the Health, Safety and Wellbeing service, the HR director, dean, director of faculty operations or director of the service division will contact WorkSafe NZ and co-ordinate site investigations.Formal documented notification will be undertaken by the Health, Safety and Wellbeing service to WorkSafe NZ or other agencies.

Other reporting requirements to other agencies

Maritime NZ for accidents with Boats and Vessels

A master or skipper must report any accident, incident or serious injury under section 31 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994. This must be reported “as soon as practicable”. This means as soon as able to do so after having secured the safety of people, the boat and the environment, and have communication available.

Accidents include incidents such as any damage to a vessel which may affect its strength or seaworthiness, groundings, collisions, machinery failures and steering loss.

Incidents include a near collision or a near grounding.

Serious injuries (legally defined as mishaps) include, but are not limited to, death; amputation of a body part; burns; loss of consciousness; and any harm that causes a person to be hospitalised for a period of 48 hours or more.

The Faculty Dean, Head of School and HSW Service is to be informed as soon as practicable of any Maritime Accident or Incident.

Civil Aviation for accidents involving Drones, RPAV and UAV’s

The pilot in command shall report any accidents or incidents with a Drones, Remotely Piloted Aerial Vehicle (RPAV), and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that harmed or may have harmed any person or caused property damage or an aircraft occurrence.

The Faculty Dean, Head of School and HSW Service must be informed as soon as practicable of any aircraft occurrence with a Drone, RPAV or UAV.

Ministry for Primary Industries

The Hazards and Containment Manager will contact MPI in the event of a significant failing or loss of biological containment.

Office of Radiation Safety (Ministry of Health)

The Hazards and Containment Manager will contact ORS in the event of a significant release of radioactive material or potentially significant exposure to ionising radiation.

In the event of a significant spillage or release to drain of hazardous materials, the Hazards and Containment Manager will determine and notify all appropriate regulatory authorities and statutory bodies.

Injury Management

A claim is lodged whenever a staff member receives medical treatment from a doctor or hospital. A copy of the treatment form (medical certificate) will be sent to WorkAon and for work injuries. The certificate will detail any further treatment, work restrictions, or time off required.

Note: Full information on lodging medical claims for work related injuries can be found here.

For work injuries an Accident/Incident Report must accompany the certificate if one has not already been sent.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Managers refers to a staff member that has direct reports.

A notifiable incident (WorkSafe NZ refers to these as notifiable events) is when any of the following occurs as a result of work:

  • A death
  • Notifiable illness or injury
  • Any incident with the potential for death or serious injury

Person in charge refers to the staff member, student or contractor in charge of a particular situation, having the responsibility, control, or supervision over something or someone.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Accident refers to an incident that has caused harm, fatality, ill-health, damage or other loss.

Incident refers to any unplanned event or occurrence resulting in, or having a potential for injury, ill-health, damage or other loss. 

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Aug 2020
Next Review: Aug 2023
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing