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Category Health and Safety
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, June 2017
Date Policy Took Effect 1 June 2017
Last approved revision 24 February 2023
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing


The University of Otago is committed to providing a safe work place for staff, students and visitors.

The purpose of this Policy is to ensure all work related incidents and near miss events are reported.

The reporting of all work related incidents and near miss events enables the University of Otago to meet legislative requirements around incident reporting required under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. Reporting events is critical for the investigation of incidents and for the development of preventive strategies to minimise future events and their severity.

Organisational scope

University of Otago campuses and all other University work areas and includes all staff, students, contractors, and visitors.


Critical Event
An event, or series of events, that can cause death or significant injuries to staff, students, or the public; or that can suspend business, disrupt operations, create significant physical or environmental damage; or that can threaten the University's financial standing or public image.
Departmental Health and Safety Officer.
Departmental Health and Safety Officer.
Head of Department.
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and regulations.
Any occurrence that leads to injury or illness to people, danger to health and/or damage to property or the environment. It is an inclusive term for injuries, illnesses, and events.
Near Miss
Any occurrence that might have led to injury or illness to a person, or damage to property or the environment.
Notifiable Event
Certain incidents will require notification to WorkSafe NZ. See section 23-25 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Person conducting a business or undertaking.
University of Otago.
The University's online Health and Safety management system/reporting tool.
WorkSafe NZ
Crown agent for ensuring and promoting the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
Work areas
Any place where it is deemed work is approved to be undertaken for the University, including at home or remotely.


1. Reporting an incident

  1. Before reporting an incident ensure all appropriate medical treatment has been provided.
  2. The steps below outline the incident reporting process:
    1. Inform relevant Departmental Health and Safety Officer (DHSO), Health and Safety Representative or Head of Department (HOD)/Line Manager/Supervisor. If the event is deemed to meet the Critical Event criteria, then the Emergency Management Team will also be notified.
    2. Report event in Vault so an investigator is allocated, and,
    3. Inform the Health, Safety and Wellbeing office if a notifiable event may have occurred. Health, Safety and Wellbeing will contact WorkSafe if it is deemed a notifiable incident, injury, illness or fatality.

2. Investigations

  1. Routine investigations:
    1. The DHSO will investigate the reported event and record in Vault.
    2. The incident causation analysis tool within Vault will be completed as a part of the investigation to identify the root cause of incidents, so that corrective actions can be implemented to prevent recurrence as soon as possible, and,
    3. Any corrective actions are identified and recorded in Vault and allocated to an individual who has the responsibility to follow up with corrective actions to ensure the investigation process is closed.
  2. Formal investigations:

    Where events are high risk, a formal investigation will be conducted by a member of the Health and Safety team who has completed advanced investigation training.

3. Confidentiality

Under the Privacy Act, all reports will remain confidential to the University of Otago with only those persons tasked/responsible for reporting and investigation having access to personal information.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing

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