Insecure load = fall from height
This is my take when deciding what is a notifiable event and what is not; as we know, Notifiable Incidents are covered by Sec 24 HSWA 2015. This section has 13 events, that if were to eventuate, would be considered a notifiable event.
The question asked is: “If something falls off a Truck, does this count as a fall from height?”. As per sec 24, the event is:
A FALL FROM HEIGHT OF ANY PLANT, SUBSTANCE OR THING.
For this incident (or any similar event) to be notifiable, there must be context; otherwise, the above sentence would mean anything, anywhere at any time that falls is notifiable!
To counter this, legislation is written with qualifiers; as in - if ‘this’ happens, then ‘that’ must happen
The qualifier is the first paragraph in Sec 24
A notifiable incident is an unplanned or uncontrolled incident in relation to a workplace that exposes the health and safety of workers or others to a serious risk arising from immediate or imminent exposure to:
Then is the list of 13 specific events.
For one of the 13 events to be notifiable, the first paragraph must apply (or be true).
Qualifying paragraphs are made up of elements, and for the qualifier to apply (to be true), all elements MUST be met. The absence of just one element renders the qualifier redundant.
What I consider to be the elements from the qualifying paragraph are:
• unplanned or uncontrolled
• relation to a workplace
• exposes the health and safety of workers or others
• serious risk
• immediate or imminent exposure
In an attempt to explain, I have added a True or False (with assumptions) to each element from the question:
• unplanned or uncontrolled: TRUE – the metal fuel pump was not meant to fall
• relation to a workplace: TRUE – it happened at work (assumption here)
• exposes the health and safety of workers or others: I assume FALSE, but not enough information is provided to be certain
• serious risk others: I assume FALSE, but not enough information is provided to be certain
• immediate or imminent exposure others: I assume FALSE, but not enough information is provided to be certain
Considering my assumptions, the qualifier is rendered redundant on up to three elements, making the remaining part of the regulation redundant, meaning it is not notifiable. If there is no qualifier, nearly every incident that happens at work is notifiable.
Finally, I am all for notifying WorkSafe, but always consider this: once you notify, you can’t un-notify. Once notified, the event/incident becomes part of the WorkSafe system which you are no longer in control of.