When an incident occurs or workers compensation fraud may have taken place, WorkCover sends inspectors to carry out investigations.
These investigations help WorkCover determine:
- exactly what caused the incident
- the lessons learnt to improve workplace safety and prevent injuries
- whether prosecution is warranted.
During our investigations we liaise with other agencies to determine jurisdiction and which agency has the lead role in an investigation.
Family support following a serious injury or fatality
WorkCover also considers the impact on the worker and/or the family and provides a counselling service during the investigation and any prosecution through the Court.
Compliance and prosecution guidelines
The community expects appropriate penalties when work health and safety legislation is ignored, evaded or breached, or fraudulent behaviour is detected on the Workers Compensation Scheme.
A number of issues are taken into consideration when determining whether to commence a prosecution. We set out these considerations in the WorkCover’s compliance and prosecution guidelines.
In a workplace fatality the Coroner may also be involved to determine the manner and cause of death and WorkCover may provide its investigation report to assist the Coroner. The evidence from the Coronial Inquiry may also be used by WorkCover in any prosecution we commence.
Prosecution is generally only considered when the significance of the offence warrants a strong response that can act as a deterrent.
WorkCover will consider the impact of the business so that lessons can be learnt from the incident and a positive workplace health and safety culture can be developed.
Requesting a prosecution
A person can request WorkCover to commence a prosecution if:
- they believe a category one or two offence of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 has occurred and
- WorkCover has not commenced a prosecution between six and 12 months of the offence occurring.
The request must be made to WorkCover after six months but not later than 12 months after the act, matter or thing has occurred.
The request must be in writing and can be made using the Request form for WorkCover NSW to commence a prosecution under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 or in the form of a letter sent to WorkCover by mail. Confidentiality will be maintained over your details to the extent required and permissible by law.
The request should include:
- the facts of the event
- the date, place and names of the people concerned
- the nature of the offence you believe has occurred.
- the person the requestor believes committed the offence.
WorkCover will provide a written response to a request within three months, and advise you whether the investigation is complete, and if it is complete whether a prosecution will be brought. If the decision has been made not to bring a prosecution, WorkCover must tell you the reasons for that decision.
If the investigation is not complete, WorkCover will advise the applicant in writing of that fact and also inform the applicant when the investigation is complete and of its decision to prosecute.
The fact sheet Request for Workcover to commence a prosecution under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 has more information.
If you are seeking further information or want to raise a concern about a current investigation being undertaken by WorkCover, please call 13 10 50.