Search this website
| Options Options
Search Type
Document Actions

Notifiable illness

If someone becomes seriously ill as a result of work, then you must notify us.

How to notify us

You must notify us using the fastest means available to you. You can do this by:

  1. Phoning 0800 030 040 
  2. Completing the online notification form or
  3. Downloading and completing the Notifiable Death, Injury or Illness Form [PDF; 343 KB]

    You will need to download and save this PDF form to your computer and then open it using Adobe Acrobat Reader.

    Find out more about using PDF forms.


Please be prepared to provide us with as much detail as possible about what has happened. You will receive an acknowledgement that the notification has been received. 


What you must do immediately after a notifiable event

1. Preserve the site 

The person who manages or controls the workplace must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the site of the notifiable event is preserved and not disturbed until a WorkSafe Inspector authorises you to do so.

The site may only be disturbed if:

  • you need to assist the person
  • it's essential to make the site safe or minimise the risk of someone else being hurt or killed
  • directed to do so by the Police
  • permitted by the WorkSafe or a WorkSafe Inspector.


To ensure the site is not disturbed:

  • the work set-up should not be changed
  • any plant, substances or other things involved in the event should stay where they are
  • work that could interfere with the site should stop. Work may continue in other parts of the workplace
  • no alterations should be made to the plant, vehicles, or structures involved. 


2. Notify WorkSafe 

If someone becomes seriously ill as a result of work, then: 

  • You must notify us as soon as possible after you become aware that someone has become ill. 
  • The notification must be made even if Emergency Services attend. 
  • Only one notification is required for each notifiable event.


If there are multiple businesses involved with the work, then one of the businesses should be nominated to notify WorkSafe.

Note that all businesses involved with the work are responsible for making sure that the notification is made by the nominated business.


3. Keep records

You must keep records of all Notifiable Events for at least five years from the date of the event.


What happens next?

Once we have received your notification, it will be reviewed by our Response Team. They will; contact you about the next steps.

There are a number of options available, including conducting an investigation or inviting the you and your business to participate in an assisted review of your health and safety system.

If no action is required, we will confirm this with you.

While there is no requirement under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) for you to conduct your own investigation of a notifiable event, investigations can form part of good practice to identify and manage work risk.

After a notifiable event, you should consider:

  • investigating what happened
  • working out what you can do to stop this happening again
  • making changes.


When do you need to notify us?

You MUST notify us if a person:

  • becomes seriously ill as a result of work, or
  • contracts an illness which would normally require the person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment, or
  • requires medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a hazardous substance, or
  • contracts a serious infection, including occupational zoonosis, to which the carrying out of work is a significant contributing factor including any infection due to carrying out work.


You only need to notify us if the serious illness occurred while the person was carrying out work, or as a result of work that your business is responsible for carrying out. An illness might arise from:

  • the condition of the work site;
  • exposure to toxic or hazardous substances;
  • infections or illnesses that can be contracted from exposure to micro-organisms, from animals, or from treating or caring for another person; 
  • failure of controls or protective equipment;
  • the way the work activity is organised, or
  • the way equipment or substances are used.


You do NOT need to notify us about illnesses that are not related to work. For example:

  • a diabetic worker slipping into a coma at work;
  • a worker fainting from a non-work related cause.


Why you must notify us

You must notify us so we can immediately investigate or follow up on the events that caused the serious illness, or have the potential to cause serious illness (serious health and safety risks). 


What is a notifiable illness

For the purposes of the table below:


  • 'Medical treatment' is considered to be treatment by a registered medical practitioner eg a doctor.
  • 'Immediate treatment' is urgent treatment, and includes treatment by a registered medical practitioner, registered nurse or paramedic.
  • If immediate treatment is not readily available (eg because the person became seriously ill at a remote site), the notification must still be made.

An illness that requires (or would usually require) medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance A natural or artificial substance in any form eg solid, liquid, gas or vapour.
An illness declared in regulations to be a notifiable injury or illness Any illness listed in Schedule 5 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016
An illness that requires or would usually require someone to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment

'Admitted to hospital' means being admitted to hospital as an in-patient for any length of time.

It doesn't include being taken to hospital for out-patient treatment by the hospital's A&E department.

Contracting a serious infection, including occupational zoonosis, to which the carrying out of work is a significant contributing factor including any infection due to carrying out work:

  • with micro-organisms
  • that involves providing treatment or care to a person
  • that involves contact with human blood or bodily substances
  • that involves handling or contact with animals, their hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or waste products, or
  • that involves handling or contact with fish or marine mammals
  • diseases caught from animals (eg leptospirosis) or E. coli infections
  • Legionnaire's Disease caught from working with soil, compost or potting mix.


Last updated 14 September 2016