Accident Incident Injury and Illness Reporting and Rehabilitation

Approval Date
1 August 2019
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
1 May 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture and Safety
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus

Otago Polytechnic Limited requires staff, learners, visitors and contractors to report all incidents, accidents and occupational illness1 that occur on Otago Polytechnic Limited premises, or in the course of work/employment. These will be investigated to identify cause(s) and appropriate interventions including how to prevent a reoccurrence.

This policy also outlines Otago Polytechnic Limited’s commitment to the provision of appropriate and reasonable support to injured or ill staff (both work and non-work-place injuries and illnesses) in their return to full health and employment.


Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and subsequent amendments

Accident Compensation Act 2001 and subsequent amendments

Worksafe NZ, provide best practice guidelines – refer to safe/


1.          Otago Polytechnic Limited expects that staff are able to self-manage their personal and occupational wellbeing, are fit for their work tasks, and that at times of un-wellness staff will seek early treatment and appropriate support.

2.          All workplace accidents, incidents, injuries and occupational illnesses must be promptly reported to the work area safety and wellbeing representative, first aider or formal leader and the Otago Polytechnic Limited online Accident/Incident Report Form (Vault Safety Management System) must be completed as soon as practically possible after the occurrence.

3.          Failure to report incidents, accidents, and occupational illness are considered as misconduct and may be subject to performance review processes.

4.          Access to Vault is via the Learner Hub (for learners) and Tūhono (for staff) a separate login is not required.

4.1.        Where appropriate, learners can be involved in generating this report, as notifications are automatically sent to managers, Safety and Wellbeing Representatives and Otago Polytechnic Limited’s Safety and Wellbeing Manager.

4.2.        A Vault reporting and investigating course is available on Moodle to demonstrate how to report and investigate using Vault and can be completed by staff and learners as appropriate.

5.          All accidents, incidents and near misses will be reviewed by the formal leader, as lead investigator, in the work area where the event occurred and by the Safety and Wellbeing Manager to determine the depth of investigation required.

5.1.         The formal leader can delegate to staff in their School/College or Service Area the role of lead investigator as appropriate, however, the formal leader still needs to be informed of the actions required.

Note: Illnesses will only be investigated if deemed, or alleged, to be a result of a workplace hazard.

1 Occupational illness is caused by exposure to an occupational hazard, with diagnosis confirmed by an occupational physician or other medical specialist. Examples are noise induced hearing loss, occupational dermatitis, and asbestosis.


6.          The terminology used at Otago Polytechnic Limited when registering accidents, incidents, and near misses in Vault is as follows with the person responsible for leading the investigation identified:

  • Near Miss (NM) - The formal leader, or delegate, will be tasked as the lead investigator to complete the investigation and record any corrective actions taken to control any near misses in the future.
  • First Aid Injury (FA) – The formal leader, or delegate, will be tasked as the lead investigator to record any corrective actions taken as a result of the injury to minimise or eliminate another occurrence.
  • Medical Treatment Injury (MTI) – The formal leader, or delegate, will be tasked as the lead investigator to record any corrective actions taken as a result of the injury to minimise or eliminate another occurrence. All MTI reports will be reviewed by the Safety and Wellbeing Manager on completion.
  • Notifiable Event (NE) – The Safety and Wellbeing Manager will be tasked as the lead investigator, or in his/her absence the Director People and Culture, to manage the event.

7.          The lead investigator may also gather a small team, if needed, to assist with the investigation and will gather data about the occurrence from:

  • Injured person or person involved and/or;
  • Witness(es) to the incident and/or;
  • Other persons who are knowledgeable of the occurrence.

7.1.         The collated data will be recorded in Vault on the specific incident record created for each incident.

7.2.         A review of any risks associated with the incident will occur in line with policy MP403 Hazard Management and will be recorded in Vault.

7.3.         Root Cause analysis will be required on events selected by Safety and Wellbeing Manager due to the serious nature of the event. This is to determine the underlying causation and it identify appropriate controls to prevent reoccurrence

8.          All investigations shall be completed and closed as soon as practically possible, and preferably within seven (7) days of notification of accident, incident or near miss.

8.1.         The investigation cannot be closed until all corrective actions have been completed - formal leaders and safety and wellbeing representatives are to monitor corrective actions to ensure they are completed and closed out.

8.2.         If the seven (7) day timeframe cannot be met then consultation with the Safety and Wellbeing Manager is required to agree an extension.

8.3.         In the case of an investigations not being completed and no agreed extension to timeframe or explained delay, then Executive Leadership Team will be advised of the incomplete corrective actions (monthly) to follow up with the formal leader.

9.          A completed investigation report is permanently saved within Vault and can be accessed by the formal leader, safety and wellbeing representative and the Safety and Wellbeing Manager at any time.

9.1.         If information changes, an investigation report may be re-opened and updated by  the Safety and Wellbeing Manager.

9.2.         Additional information will be recorded within these investigation records by the Safety and Wellbeing Manager which will include the following information:

  • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) Case Number – when applicable;
  • Return to Work (RTW) Plan;
  • Restricted duties and number of days of these restrictions.

10.      The Safety and Wellbeing manager will maintain and monitor the Vault register of all reported accidents and incidents for timely closure and provide regular reports to Otago Polytechnic Limited Board, Executive Leadership Team, formal leaders and the Safety and Wellbeing Committee.


Notifiable events – refer to SOP for quick checklist for management of Notifiable Events.

11.      A notifiable event is any of the following events that arise from work:

  • The death of a person; or
  • A notifiable injury or illness; or
  • A notifiable incident

For definitions and more information refer to Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

12.      Where it is suspected that a notifiable event has occurred the Safety and Wellbeing Manager must be contacted immediately to assess. The Safety and Wellbeing Manager has the responsibility of communicating all notifiable events, as defined in the Health and Safety at  Work Act 2015 that occur on and off campus to Worksafe NZ.

13.      In the case of a Notifiable Event, the location must be cordoned off and secured by the School/College/Service Area and cannot be accessed and used until released by Worksafe NZ.


Staff rehabilitation / return to work and support
14.      When a formal leader is made aware of any impairment preventing a staff member returning to their normal duties, the formal leader should seek advice from the Safety and Wellbeing Manager, discuss work implications and support options with the staff member (and others if required), and maintain communication with the staff member when they are on sick leave (refer clause 17) or ACC leave (refer clause 18).

15.      The formal leader is responsible for managing the rehabilitation/return to work process in the workplace. The formal leader can get advice and support from the work area safety and wellbeing representative or the Safety and Wellbeing Manager, and also refer to Tūhono Safety and Wellbeing pages for information, process and forms such as rehabilitation/return to work plan, and informed consent form.

16.      During the return to work phase, when the member of staff is partially incapacitated, or on a work trial; they will continue to be paid their normal fortnightly salary be Otago Polytechnic Limited as an agent of ACC. Provided ACC have accepted the claim for weekly compensation, and have the required ACC medical certificates to cover the incapacity.

16.1.    As a general guideline ACC will reimburse up to 80% of the pre accident average  earnings, the difference between the ACC payment and the staff member’s normal salary is taken from their sick leave balance (approx. 20%) provided they have a balance; otherwise only the ACC payment is made.

17.      Sick Leave Entitlement on ACC: When a staff members is on ACC leave the first week off is 100% Otago Polytechnic Limited salary/wage payment with no loss of sick leave. Following week(s), is 20% Otago Polytechnic Limited salary/wage payment (the non-ACC component) which is debited from the staff member’s sick leave entitlement. If the staff member is an academic and party to the TEU Collective Employment Agreement then the ACC Top Up is paid by the staff members School or College

18.      ACC (non-work injury): When a staff member is incapacitated, the 1st week off work is a charge against the staff member’s sick leave entitlement. It there is no sick leave then they can choose annual leave. In the following week(s), the difference between the ACC reimbursement to Otago Polytechnic Limited and the staff member’s normal salary is deducted from their sick leave balance.

19.      The Safety and Wellbeing Manager can arrange an assessment of abilities and limitations; give advice on health and safety implications; provide support and rehabilitation planning; and assist with liaising with staff, formal leader (or delegate), treatment providers and external agencies. Payroll can provide information for the formal leader and/or individual on queries relating to leave and liaising with ACC to ensure prompt payments.

20.      When a staff member has medical or ACC-approved bio-mechanical treatment for a work- related injury, Otago Polytechnic Limited receives a Work Injury Notification from ACC. This form is sent to the Safety and Wellbeing Manager to confirm that the injury is work-related and to ensure internal forms and processes are completed.

20.1.    If there is a surcharge for ACC related medical and approved bio-mechanical treatment (e.g. physiotherapy) and once Otago Polytechnic Limited has confirmed that the injury is work- related, the Safety and Wellbeing Manager has delegated authority to approve reimbursement of the surcharges on a case by case basis. Staff are to contact the Safety and Wellbeing Manager and provide receipts and a reimbursement claim form.

21.      Where a staff member has a non-work injury or illness resulting in impairment or incapacity, negotiated support may also be available (excluding ACC surcharges), as appropriate. The formal leader (or delegate) and/or staff advisor People and Culture will send a referral to the Safety and Wellbeing Manager as soon as leave commences who will then contact the staff member concerned to discuss possible work rehabilitation options, which may include the completion of a rehabilitation/return to work plan, informed consent form (downloadable from Tūhono Safety and Wellbeing pages).


Vault – online Safety Management System

Rehabilitation Plan / Return to Work Plan – downloadable from Tūhono, Safety and Wellbeing pages

Informed Consent Form – RTW Plan - downloadable from Tūhono, Safety and Wellbeing pages




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Health and Safety Induction and Training