Notifiable event

A notifiable event is a serious incident or accident where someone’s health or safety is seriously endangered.

Immediately report notifiable events

Contact Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Your Head of Department, Dean/Director and Associate Director also need to be informed as soon as possible.


  • The HSW service will notify Worksafe NZ if required and do formal documentation.
  • An investigation may take place, so do not interfere with the accident scene i.e. leave it alone. Normal work will have to stop until authorised by the Worksafe inspector to resume.

Occurrences of notifiable events

Note that the term 'serious harm' has been replaced by 'notifiable event' under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. 

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

  • Death 
    • Except those unrelated to work such as: 
      • A diabetic dying at work 
      • A worker being killed while driving to work in his or her private car when the driving is not done as part of their work
      • Death of patients or rest home residents that are triggered by a medical reason. 
    • However, any death at all must be reported to the senior management and the HSW Service immediately. 
  • Notifiable illness or injury 
    • An injury or illness that requires or would usually require someone to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment.
  • Notifiable incident 
    • Where someone's health or safety is seriously endangered or threatened by an unplanned or uncontrolled incident, even if they are some distance away e.g. a gas leak.

The term 'notifiable' is used as the University's Health, Safety and Wellbeing department has a duty to notify authorities when a work-related serious injury or incident occurs.

Staff information

Onsite management actions

Sequence of immediate response actions in a notifiable event:

  1. Protect your health and safety
  2. Protect the health and safety of others
  3. Provide aid to any injured persons involved in the event
  4. Call for first aiders
  5. Call 
    • Emergency services. For example an ambulance if the injury is life-threatening 
    • University Security. To coordinate access for emergency services on Campus and secure site if required. They will also call the police if it's necessary
  6. Take essential action to make the site safe or to prevent a further incident
  7. Do not disturb the site where the event happened
  8. Contact Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

More information about site preservation

The senior person in charge who manages or controls the workplace must preserve the site and ensure it is not disturbed.

A Worksafe NZ inspector will give permission for normal work to resume. Until then, no interference and preservation means:

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

Exceptions to this requirement

  • To help and aid an injured person
  • To remove a deceased person
  • Actions essential to make the site safe or to minimise the risks of a further notifiable event
  • By or under direction of a constable (police officer)
  • Permitted by the regulator or an inspector.

Can work continue in other parts of the University?

Yes, as long as the site is:

  • Safe and poses no further danger to others
  • That facility services and utilities are not damaged or restricted.
  • Does not interfere with investigations from authorities and investigating agencies
  • Does not interfere with Emergency Services access and response including any wider environmental clean up
  • The scene is not exposed to onlookers where individual privacy or general wellbeing of the victim or others is compromised. (Sections of the site may need to be isolated in certain instances).

Example: There is a worker entangled in a machine. The workshop is to be closed but the remaining facility can continue to operate. People will be redirected as necessary to avoid the workshop area.

Examples of notifiable incidents

Notifiable incidents are unplanned or uncontrolled in a workplace and expose people to serious risk.

There could be immediate or imminent exposure to any of the following:

  • A substance escaping, spilling, or leaking
  • An implosion, explosion or fire
  • Gas or steam escaping
  • A pressurised substance escaping
  • Electric shock (from anything that could cause a lethal shock, for example it would not include shocks due to static electricity, from extra low voltage equipment or from defibrillators used for medical reasons)
  • The fall or release from height of any plant, substance, or thing
  • Damage to or collapse, overturning, failing or malfunctioning of any plant that is required to be authorised for use under regulations
  • The collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • The collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation
  • The rush of water, mud, or gas in workings in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • The interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • A collision between two vessels, a vessel capsize, or the rush of water into a vessel
  • Any other incident declared in regulation to be a notifiable incident, for example those listed in Health and Safety at Work regulations.

Notifiable incidents do not include controlled activities that form part of the business or undertaking (for example, the controlled release of water from a dam).

A notifiable incident also covers the incidents specified above which may have only resulted in minor (non-notifiable) injuries but had the potential to cause serious injury, illness or death.

Notifiable events involving boats, vessels, drones, RPAV and UAVs

Reporting requirements to other agencies when you have a boat, vessel, drone, RPAV or UAV.

Boats and vessels 

Maritime NZ for accidents with Boats and VesselsA master or skipper must report any accident, incident or serious harm 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 events 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 harm 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 hospitalized for a period of 48 hours or more. The faculty dean, head of school and HSW Service will be informed as soon as practicable of any Maritime Accident or Event. Civil Aviation for accidents involving Drones, RPAV, UAV’s. The pilot in command shall report any accidents or incidents with a Drones, RPAV, and UAV’s 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 will be informed as soon as practicable of any Aircraft Occurrence with a drone, RPAV, UAV’s.

Document Control
Version: 1.0
Last Updated: Dec 2019
Next Review: Dec 2022
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing