Incident Notification and Response Policy

This policy sets out the obligations of all department employees to respond to an incident, promptly notify relevant managers through the required channels and arrange appropriate support.

Changes since previous version

The department has revised the Incident Notification an Response Policy in line with statutory requirements and following extensive consultation. The revised policy provides additional clarity on incident notification and response requirements.

Superseded Documents

Incident Reporting Policy 2014
Incident Reporting Procedures 2014
Incident Notification and Response Policy 2017

Document History

The updated Incident Notification and Response Policy and Procedures replace the Incident Reporting Policy and Incident Reporting Procedures. They provide advice about the importance of incident notification and response, including early intervention and timely management and the range of support available following an incident.

  1. Policy statement
    1. When an incident occurs, all employees must actively respond in accordance with the Incident Notification and Response Policy.
    2. The Incident Notification and Response Procedures outline the required process for responding. Each workplace must establish local systems, based on the procedures, for responding to incidents
    3. In the event of an incident, the health, safety and wellbeing of students, staff and others is the first priority. This may include ringing emergency services in the first instance
    4. Employees must follow the local procedures. Contractors, volunteers and other people working for the department or at a departmental workplace must also adhere to the local procedure
    5. Employees need to notify both the relevant line manager and the department’s Incident Report and Support Hotline on 1800 811 523 as follows:
      • Where an incident involves emergency services, employees should notify their manager and the hotline as soon as possible within the first hour. This allows for early intervention, management and support.
      • For all other incidents, employees should notify their manager and the hotline as soon as possible within 24 hours.
      • Any employee is able to report an incident to the hotline, and will receive advice and support to help them manage the incident, as well as to meet their legislative and procedural obligations.
    6. Each workplace must create and maintain records of key actions and decisions made when responding to incidents, as these may be required after the incident. A register of injuries and first aid records should also be maintained. Store these records securely and in accordance with retention and disposal requirements.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. This policy applies to all employees and others undertaking work for the department.
  3. Context
    1. For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

      Workplace: Any public school or other departmental workplace, including locations where approved work or school-based activities are being carried out. It includes incidents occurring at an activity directly related to work – such as overseas and domestic excursions, sports events and community events – even if they occur outside the normal workplace.

      Incident: Any unplanned event resulting in an injury to any person or having the potential to significantly affect the health, safety and wellbeing of employees, students or other individuals at schools and workplaces. The Incident Notification and Response Procedures contain a list incident types. These include:
      • incidents reported to NSW Police, where emergency services have attended the workplace, or where the workplace, or part of it, has been evacuated
      • events that are not related to a workplace activity, but which may impact on students, staff, a school community or workplace (non-workplace incidents)
      • incidents that cause major disruption, impact the effective operation of a workplace or attract significant negative media attention.
    2. Employees must report workplace incidents to ensure compliance with a range of statutory and policy requirements, including but not restricted to the following. Failure to notify a workplace incident may result in an offence or breach of the relevant legislation:
      • Work Health and Safety Act 2011
      • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998
      • Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998
      • Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act 1974
      • Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012
      • Crimes Act NSW 1900
      • Protecting and Supporting Children and Young People procedures and the NSW Mandatory Reporter Guide
      • Responding to Allegations against Employees in the Area of Child Protection
      • Code of Conduct
    3. The Incident Notification and Response Procedures contain a list of the types of incidents that must be reported.
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. The Secretary must ensure systems are in place for notifying and managing incidents at all levels, to meet statutory and other regulatory obligations.
    2. Senior Executives, directors, principals and workplace managers must:
      • comply with this policy and the Incident Notification and Response Procedures
      • promote the incident notification requirements and have systems in place that support the prompt notification of and response to incidents as they arise
      • coordinate support for employees and students who are responding to or impacted by incidents in accordance with the department’s services and protocols
      • seek advice and work cooperatively with relevant areas to manage the incident, and to facilitate a prompt and effective organisational response
      • investigate workplace incidents/injuries/hazards where appropriate and ensure corrective actions are taken to prevent recurrence
      • create and maintain formal records of key actions and decisions when responding to incidents in anticipation that these may be required after the incident
      • monitor and evaluate the operation of this policy within their area of responsibility
      • share relevant information with other areas of the department to help respond to incidents and meet external reporting requirements.
    3. Employees and others undertaking work for the department must:
      • comply with this policy and the incident Notification and Response Procedures
      • report incidents to their line manager or principal/workplace manager, and the Incident Report and Support Hotline when they occur
      • cooperate with appropriate action in response to an incident in support of the health, safety and wellbeing of all on the site.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Health and Safety directorate is responsible for monitoring the implementation of this policy and associated procedures.
    2. This policy will be reviewed by the Health and Safety directorate every three years or as necessary.
  6. Policy contact officer
    1. Director, Work Health & Safety 02 7814 1601
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