New WHS Act: HSE Duties 

This week we continue on our journey to understand what the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act) means for WA businesses, one aspect that is important to understand clearly is Incident Notification, which is what we’re going to look at this week.

Under the new WHS Act, PCBUs must notify the regulator as soon as they become aware of a death, serious injury or illness, or dangerous incident that arises out of the conduct of the business or undertaking.


Below is a list of some of the triggers for serious injury or illness:

  • Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • Immediate treatment for the amputation of any part of the body
  • Immediate treatment for a serious head injury
  • Immediate treatment for a serious eye injury
  • Immediate treatment for a serious burn
  • Immediate treatment for the separation of skin from an underlying tissue
  • Immediate treatment for a spinal injury
  • Immediate treatment for the loss of a bodily function
  • Immediate treatment for serious lacerations
  • Medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance
  • Medical treatment following urgent transfer from remote location
  • Injury or illness that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, is likely to prevent the person from being able to do their normal work for at least 10 days


  • The regulator must also be notified immediately of any dangerous incidents where a person or people are exposed to a serious health or safety risk form immediate or imminent exposure to:
  • the uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas, steam or a pressurised substance
  • an electric shock
  • the fall or release from height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, plant that is required to be licensed or registered
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure, including an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • the inrush of water, mud or gas into an underground excavation or tunnel
  • the interruption of the main system of ventilation to an underground excavation or tunnel
  • other incidents as stated in the three sets of WHS regulations


Notice of an incident must be given by the fastest possible means and a record of each notifiable incident must be kept by the PCBU for at least five years. If the notification was via phone, then the regulator may request a written notice, which must be provided within 48 hours of the request.

It is also important that the site of the incident is not disturbed until an inspector arrives at the site or directs otherwise. Note that this does not prevent any action required to protect a person’s health or safety.

*Disclaimer: Please note this communication is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice, only a Legal Practicing Professional can provide legal advice.