Notifiable incident - what to do

If someone has been exposed to a serious and immediate risk to their health and safety because of an unplanned or uncontrolled work incident while an aircraft was in operation, then you MUST notify us as soon as possible.

See What is a notifiable incident below for details about which unplanned or uncontrolled incidents are notifiable.

Why you must notify us

What is a notifiable incident

What you must do

How to notify us

Using PDF forms

What happens next


Why you must notify us

You must notify us so we can immediately investigate or follow up on the events that caused the incident, or have the potential to cause an incident (serious health and safety risks) while an aircraft was in operation.

Follow the steps below to find out what you must do when there is a serious workplace incident.

What is a notifiable incident

Notifiable Incident

A notifiable incident, for when an aircraft is in operation, 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 any of the following:

  • a substance escaping, spilling, or leaking 
  • an implosion, explosion or fire
  • gas or steam escaping
  • a pressurised substance escaping
  • electric shock (from anything that could cause a lethal shock, for example it would not include shocks due to static electricity, from extra low voltage equipment or from defibrillators used for medical reasons)
  • the fall or release from height of any plant, substance, or thing
  • damage to or collapse, overturning, failing or malfunctioning of any plant that is required to be authorised for use under regulations
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • Notifiable incidents do not include controlled activities that form part of the business or undertaking.

A notifiable incident is where someone’s health or safety is seriously endangered or threatened while an aircraft is in operation. 

People may be put at serious risk even if they were some distance from the incident (eg from a gas leak).

A notifiable incident also covers the incidents specified above which may have only resulted in minor (non-notifiable) injuries but had the potential to cause serious injury, illness or death while an aircraft was in operation.


What you must do

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 incident is preserved and not disturbed until a CAA HSU Inspector authorises you to do so.

The site may only be disturbed if:

  • you need to remove an injured person
  • to remove a deceased person.

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 of the event 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 CAA HSU 

If a serious workplace incident occurs, then: 

  • You must notify us as soon as possible after you become aware that an incident has occurred. 
  • 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 CAA HSU.

Note that all business 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.


How to notify us

You can notify us by either:

  1. Phoning 0508 4 SAFETY, OR
  2. Downloading and completing the printable PDF form

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.

You must notify us using the fastest means available to you.

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.


Using PDF forms 

How to fill in a PDF form

  • Before you download and fill in a PDF form, make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader. You can download this from the Adobe website.
  • Right click on the form link and select “Save target as” to save a copy of the form to your computer.
  • Update the File name field to give your form a meaningful name (eg [your company name]_licence application) and click “Save”.

You can now start filling in the PDF form.

  • You can navigate through the fields on PDF form using the tab key, and click to select a check box.
  • When you have finished filling in the form, save the file to your computer.
  • Make sure your changes have been saved before returning the form to us.

More information on filling in PDF forms is available on the Adobe website


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 duty-holder 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 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 occurs, you should consider:

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

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