WORKPLACE INCIDENT MANAGEMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE
Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this policy and procedure is to provide guidelines for reporting, investigating and applying appropriate control measures when an accident, incident or near miss occurs that involves Continuity Care ’s workers. The aim is to ensure that incident response is timely, and the investigation is thorough so that it prevents the incident happening again.
This policy and procedure also sets out the steps that staff and Continuity Care must follow when a staff member is injured during the course of employment, to support their return to normal duties.
It applies to all staff and meets relevant legislation, regulations and Standards as set out in Schedule 1, Legislative References.
Identifying and reporting child safety concerns, abuse or neglect of people with disability or other incidents involving participants/consumer/clients are covered in Continuity Care ’s Participants/consumer/client Incident Management Policy and Procedure.
Applicable NDIS Practice Standards
Risks to participants/consumer/clients, workers and the provider are identified and managed.
Risks to the organisation, including risks to participants/consumer/clients, financial and work health and safety risks, and risks associated with provision of supports are identified, analysed, prioritised and treated.
Support delivery is linked to a risk management system which includes:
o Incident Management;
o Complaints Management;
o Work Health and Safety;
o Human Resource Management;
o Financial Management;
o Information Management; and
Accident - an unforeseen event that causes damage to property, injury or death.
Harm - Includes death, or injury, illness (physical or psychological) or disease that may be suffered by a person as a consequence of exposure to a hazard.
Hazard – a situation that has the potential to harm a person (cause death, illness or injury) or environment or damage property.
Hazard Identification - A process that involves identifying all foreseeable hazards in the workplace and understanding the possible harm that each hazard may cause.
Hazard Management - A structured process of hazard identification, risk assessment and control, aimed at providing safe and healthy conditions for staff, contractors and visitors while on the premises.
Incident - an occurrence that causes (or could have caused, in the case of a ‘Near Miss’) damage to property, injury/illness or death.
Dangerous Incident (including ‘Near Misses’) - an incident 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;
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 authorised for use in accordance with WHS regulations;
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.
A dangerous incident includes both immediate serious risks to health or safety, and also a risk from an immediate exposure to a substance which is likely to create a serious risk to health or safety in the future, for example asbestos or hazardous chemicals.
Near Miss - any incident that, although not resulting in any injury, illness or damage, had the potential to do so.
Serious Injury or Illness - an injury or illness requiring a person to have:
immediate treatment as an inpatient in a hospital;
immediate treatment for:
o the amputation of any part of his or her body;
o a serious head injury;
o a serious eye injury;
o a serious burn;
o the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (e.g. de-gloving or scalping);
o a spinal injury;
o the loss of a bodily function;
o serious lacerations;
medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance; or
any infection where a person’s work is a significant contributing factor. This includes any infection related to carrying out work:
o with micro-organisms;
o that involves providing treatment or care to a person;
o that involves contact with human blood or body substances; or
o that involves handling or contact with animals, animal hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or animal waste products.
Continuity Care is committed to providing a safe workplace for all staff, participants/consumer/clients and other stakeholders and to establishing a formal process to report and investigate all workplace accidents, incidents and near miss occurrences. This includes identifying contributing factors and making the necessary recommendations to prevent a recurrence.
Continuity Care will respond to any incident or injury immediately and will ensure the person is provided with access to the medical support they need. There are many benefits for health and wellbeing when a worker is supported by a return to work programme. Continuity Care will support staff to return to work in a safe and sustainable way.
Continuity Care Responsibilities
The Continuity Care must ensure Continuity Care meets its WHS and Incident Management responsibilities. This includes:
maintaining knowledge of WHS matters including legislative requirements for reporting incidents;
understanding the nature of Continuity Care ’s operations and the hazards and risks associated with those operations;
ensuring Continuity Care has appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety from work carried out;
ensuring Continuity Care has appropriate resources for the management of incidents;
providing accessible first aid equipment, facilities and trained staff to respond to incidents;
ensuring it receives and considers information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responds to this information in a timely way; and
ensuring Continuity Care has and implements processes for complying with its incident reporting duties and obligations.
With respect to workers compensation and supporting injured staff to return to work, the Continuity Care must:
appoint a Return to Work (RTW) Coordinator and support them to fulfil their functions;
ensure any potential or actual conflicts of interest the RTW Coordinator has with other roles they have in the business are addressed;
ensure all staff are covered by an appropriate Workers Compensation Policy with WorkCover Queensland;
[prominently display and/or distribute] the ‘If you get injured at work’ poster (published by WorkSafe QLD) to all staff (available from https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/45934/If-you-are-injured-at-work-poster-1.pdf); and
ensure Continuity Care has an effective Return to Work program.
All staff are responsible for:
reporting accidents, incidents or near misses as soon as practicable;
taking reasonable care for their own health and safety, and reasonable care that their acts or behaviours do not negatively affect the health and safety of others; and
complying with reasonable instructions that are given by supervisors and managers in order for Continuity Care to comply with its obligations and responsibilities.
Upon commencement, all staff will undergo an Induction, which will include training in mitigating and responding to incidents. Those responsible for investigating any accident, incident or near miss as part of their role will also be trained in those areas.
Responding to Incidents
All incidents and near misses must be reported to the [Position Title] as soon as practicable and within 24 hours, through completion of a Continuity Care Incident Report.
If an incident is considered serious, dangerous or has resulted in a death of a staff member, the [Position Title] must report it to WorkSafe QLD immediately on 1300 362 128. Incident Notification may also be submitted online via the WorkSafe QLD online form (https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/incidents-and-notifications/notify-of-an-incident) or by emailing a completed form to [email protected]
So far as reasonably practicable, the site where the incident occurred must not be disturbed until either WorkSafe QLD or the Managing Director advises that the area is no longer required to be preserved.
All incidents must be recorded in Continuity Care ’s Incident Register. If a staff member is injured in the incident, the register should be completed by them, or by someone on their behalf. The register must record the:
name of the injured staff member;
staff member’s occupation or job title at the time of injury;
time and date of the injury;
staff member’s exact location at the time of the injury;
nature and cause of the injury;
names of witnesses, if any, to the injury;
date on which the entry in the register is made; and
the name of the person making the entry.
The Managing Director must notify WorkCover Queensland of any injury or illness that has occurred in the workplace within eight days of becoming aware of it. The notification must occur even if the staff member does not intend to submit a Workers Compensation claim for the injury or illness.
The Managing Director may also need to inform the Queensland Police Service and/or other relevant authorities depending on the nature of the incident.
The managing Director must track progress and outcomes of accidents, incidents and near misses in Continuity Care ’s Incident Register and refer any relevant items for inclusion in Continuity Care ’s Continuous Improvement Register.
Accidents, incidents and near misses are to be reported to the Continuity Care monthly by the Managing Director as part of their WHS reporting. Incidents will be reviewed by the Continuity Care in order to determine if there are any trends or preventive measures that Continuity Care can take to prevent future incidents. If trends or measures are identified, these will be tracked in Continuity Care ’s Continuous Improvement Register.
Needlestick injuries or exposures to blood and/or body fluids (or body substances) must be reported and should be managed in accordance with the Management of Occupational Exposure to blood and body fluids (2017) published by the Queensland Department of Health.
For any injuries or illnesses that have, or may have been caused by a hazardous chemical, ensure to follow the Emergency Response and First Aid instructions on the Safety Data Sheet.
The SDS must also be available for Emergency Services if they attend the incident.
A copy of the relevant SDS must be taken to the treating medical practitioner/hospital.
Investigating and Resolving Incidents
The Managing director will work with WorkSafe QLD and/or other relevant authorities to investigate the incident.
The managing director/operational manager or their nominated representative will:
commence investigations immediately upon receiving a completed Incident Report and, where a staff member is injured, involve them in the investigation;
implement the most effective controls practicable that do not introduce other hazards, and monitor and review these (based on Continuity Care ’s Risk Management Policy and Procedure);
consult with staff who are, or are likely to be, directly affected;
provide information and feedback to the Governing body of continuity care and
track all relevant information in Continuity Care ’s Incident Register.
The Incident Register must be updated to include:
a summary of the incident and date the incident occurred;
any hazards identified;
corrective action or controls implemented;
outcomes of reviews of corrective actions or controls implemented.
Upon completion of the investigation the managing Director/CEO must finalise the relevant Incident Report and record the outcomes in the Incident Register.
The completed Incident Report should be kept on the relevant staff member’s file.
Debrief and Support
For all people involved in an accident, incident or near miss, if required, the Managing Director must:
facilitate an informal debrief amongst colleagues or peers; and
ensure appropriate support and access to counselling is made available.
Continuity Care should also support staff with work-related injuries or illnesses by:
discouraging blame. Instead, consider how to prevent future incidents and how Continuity Care can help the person to recover;
encouraging co-workers to stay in touch with injured or ill staff who are away from work;
considering whether there are any barriers to a staff member’s recovery and return to work that Continuity Care can assist with; and
ensuring injured or ill staff are aware of their obligations regarding Continuity Care ’s support for them to return to work.
All work-related injuries or illnesses must be reported in accordance with the ‘Reporting Incidents’ section of this policy and procedure.
A staff member who has a work-related injury or illness who is away from work due to that injury or illness should nominate and be assessed by a doctor. The doctor will determine the kind of treatment they require, including the frequency and duration of treatment. The doctor will also issue a Certificate of Capacity, which is required to make a workers compensation claim. The original Certificate of Capacity must be provided to Continuity Care.
The staff member should also complete a Worker’s Compensation Claim Form, available from WorkCover Queensland, and submit it to the Managing Director/Operational manager. The Operational Manager must submit the completed Claim Form, along with the Certificate of Capacity, to WorkCover Queensland within 8 days of receiving it.
WorkCover Queensland will write to the staff member and Continuity Care to advise if the claim has been accepted or if further information is required within 20 business days.
If awarded workers compensation, staff can claim medical expenses and may receive weekly payments if they need time off work. If they need more than 7 days off work, they must participate in an injury management plan.
For help regarding the claim process, staff should contact WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128. Staff seeking advice about their own claim should contact Continuity Care ’s Return to Work Coordinator or may also contact WorkCover Queensland.
Continuity Care will make every reasonable effort to support its staff in any claim for Workers Compensation, including adhering to this Policy and Procedure, providing staff with return to work information and assisting staff with planning their return to work.
Return to Work
Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator
Currently Continuity care Does not have RRTWC.
Continuity Care ’s Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator (RRTWC) is its Position title The RRTWC is responsible for fulfilling the day-to-day requirements of Continuity Care ’s Return to Work Program. They are also responsible for liaising with injured staff and their support people on behalf of Continuity Care.
The RRTWC must possess the relevant qualifications, training, skills and experience to fulfil their role. Continuity Care will ensure that it has engaged a RRTWC that is appropriately qualified and experienced to support its return to work program. Copies of the RRTWC’s qualifications must be kept on their staff file.
The Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator is responsible for:
recovery at work planning;
. managing staff with a work-related injury or illness;
. compiling initial notification information;
. coordinating staff recovery at work, including identifying suitable alternate duties;
. preparing, monitoring and reviewing a Suitable Duties Plan (in consultation with key parties) that documents the staff member’s capacity and the duties available within the business for them to perform;
. liaising with external stakeholders, such as the nominated treating doctor, insurer, treatment providers, union and workplace rehabilitation provider;
. implementing Continuity Care ’s Return to Work Program;
. supporting the redeployment of staff (internally or externally) into suitable employment when they cannot return to their pre-injury duties;
. keeping injury and recovery statistics;
keeping confidential case notes and records in line with the Records and Information Management Policy and Procedure;
promoting the health benefits of good work to staff; and
contributing to the improvement of relevant policies and systems.
Continuity Care ’s Return to Work Program
Continuity Care ’s Return to Work Program is a summary of the process that will be followed to manage staff with work-related injuries or illnesses. The program must align with the injury management program administered by WorkCover Queensland.
Continuity Care ’s Continuity Care and RRTWC are responsible for maintaining the program. It must be reviewed at least every two years and should be written in plain English. The policies, procedures, roles, responsibilities and communications described in the plan must support timely, safe and durable recovery at work and align with requirements in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
Continuity Care ’s RRTWC will explain the return to work process to injured or ill staff members who have been off work and support their return to work as soon as possible to encourage recovery.
The RRTWC will work with returning staff members and their treating doctor to develop a Suitable Duties Plan. The plan should adjust the staff member’s duties to match their capacity for work. This may be a gradual process where the person returns to modified duties or reduced hours to accommodate their injury.
Continuity Care will provide suitable duties that are consistent with medical advice and that are meaningful, productive and appropriate for the person’s physical and psychological condition depending on their individual circumstances. Suitable duties may be:
at the same worksite or a different worksite;
the same job with different hours or modified duties;
a different job; or
full time or part time.
Copies of the staff member’s Suitable Duties Plan must be provided to the staff member, their doctor, WorkCover Queensland and their supervisor or manager. A copy should also be kept by the RRTWC.
Supervisors, managers and co-workers should be informed of the types of duties that the staff member can perform, without compromising personal and confidential information about the person’s injury. The RRTWC will ensure the person is offered the assistance of a workplace rehabilitation provider if it becomes evident that they are not likely to resume their pre-injury duties or cannot do so without changes to the workplace or work practices.
Suitable Duties Plans must be monitored weekly and updated as the staff member’s capacity for duties at work increase.
For more information about Suitable Duties Plans including a template, see WorkSafe QLD’s Suitable Duties Information webpage at https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/claims-and-return-to-work/rehabilitation-and-return-to-work/suitable-duties.
The Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator must report to the Managing Director on a monthly [BL3] basis regarding Continuity Care ’s Return to Work program, staff members’ workers compensation claims and the status of different staff members’ Suitable Duties Plans.
Continuity Care is also required to report any breaches of workers compensation legislation to WorkCover Queensland or the Worker’s Compensation Regulator on 1300 362 128.
Enquiries and Complaints
Where staff, on behalf of Continuity Care have an unresolved enquiry or complaint about a worker’s compensation claim, they should contact WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128.
Staff who have an unresolved enquiry or complaint with WorkCover Queensland about their own workers compensation claim should contact the RRTWC, WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128 or the Worker’s Compensation Advisory Service on 1800 102 166.
Continuity Care ’s RRTWC will work with injured or ill staff and their representatives (including union representatives) to resolve disagreements about their return to work program or suitable duties.
If disagreements cannot be resolved, the RRTWC can request involvement of other parties such as WorkCover Queensland, the staff member’s treating doctor, an approved workplace rehabilitation provider or an injury management consultant.
If a complaint or dispute relates to a decision by WorkCover Queensland regarding a staff member’s work capacity or entitlements, WorkCover Queensland may decide to undertake an internal review of its decision. An internal review is mandatory if it is requested by the complainant.
At any point, Continuity Care or staff may escalate their dispute to the Worker’s Compensation Regulator on 1300 362 128.
Guidelines for workplace return to work programs, May 2017, State Insurance Regulatory Authority.
Appointing a rehabilitation and return to work coordinator and workplace rehabilitation procedures
Employers need to consider if they meet the following criteria:
1. They employ workers in a high risk industry and the total wages in Queensland for the preceding financial year were more than 2600 QOTE (Queensland Ordinary Times Earnings) ($3,972,280 in 2018-19, approximately 50 workers);
NOTE: NDIS PROVIDERS WILL LIKLEY FIT IN THE HIGH RISK INDUSTRY, ‘MEDICAL AND OTHER HEALTHCARE SERVICES’.
2. Their total wages in Queensland for the preceding financial year were more than 5200 times QOTE ($7,944,560 in 2018-19, approximately 100 workers).
If an employer meets this criteria, they must appoint a RRTWC and have workplace rehabilitation policy and procedures within 6 months after:
They establish a workplace; or
Start employing workers at the workplace.
Employers with multiple workplaces can appoint the same RRTWC for more than one workplace as long the RRTWC can sufficiently perform their functions for each workplace.
A Return to Work Coordinator is required to have a sufficient level of seniority to assist their employer meet their return to work obligations under the legislation. The required level of seniority will depend upon the employer’s particular circumstances. Seniority is a term often used to describe an individual’s position within a workplace or their length of service in a workplace. For Return to Work Coordinators, seniority means that they are empowered to speak on behalf of, and make return to work related decisions for, the employer.