Injury and illness

Information on the management and reporting of worker injuries and illnesses and the provision of support and rehabilitation programmes.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you have a process for managing injuries and illness at work?
  • Are you familiar with the process for reporting notifiable events to WorkSafe?
  • Do you have a return-to-work programme and are you familiar with how to create a return to work plan?
  • Do all your workers know what to do if there’s an incident or near miss?

Managing and reporting injuries or illnesses

Proper procedures and protocols for notifiable events, injuries, illness, and incidents ensure that the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) meet their requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).

Please refer to the tools and resources below for example procedure guides and checklists.

PCBUs may wish to develop a student illness and sickness policy to share with whānau. Children with known medical conditions should have a care plan logged with the school:  

Supporting ākonga with health conditions

Reporting notifiable events to WorkSafe

Notifiable events must be reported to WorkSafe. In education settings, this includes events that relate to ākonga and not just workers.

Descriptions of notifiable events (death, illness/injury, incident) are available on the WorkSafe website, and in the resources below:

What events need to be notified? – WorkSafe(external link)

Notify WorkSafe – WorkSafe(external link)

Call WorkSafe for guidance if you are unsure: 0800 030 040

In an emergency, always call emergency services. Dial 111.

Support and rehabilitation for injuries or illness

A support and rehabilitation programme details how a school or early learning service helps workers to return to work safely and successfully. It is part of the health and safety management system. The prime objective is to return the worker to their pre-injury or illness status.

A successful return-to-work can be helped by:

  • ensuring relevant workplace hazards (including psycho-social) are addressed appropriately
  • having an effective return to work plan
  • effective co-operation between the parties involved:
    • Eg the board or early learning service, the ill or injured person’s manager, co-workers, the health and safety representative, ACC, treatment provider and occupational health nurse.
    • Under the HSWA, the health and safety representative (HSR) has a specified role to promote the interests of workers who have suffered illness or injury at work, including involvement in the arrangements for rehabilitation and return to work.

Creating a return-to-work plan

A return-to-work plan details actions to be taken to help a worker return to work safely after injury or illness. The plan must take into account the worker’s medical condition, age, skills, work experience and their pre-injury or illness employment.

The plan is developed in consultation with the board or early learning service, the ill or injured worker, the HSR and other relevant parties such as the union representative, the treatment provider, ACC and the medical insurer. The plan should include clear objectives, a list of actions to be taken to enable return to work and the person responsible for each action.

The return-to-work plan may include:

  • modified or alternative duties being offered
  • hours of work (start/end times and number of hours) and work breaks (frequency and duration)
  • support, aids or modifications to the workplace
  • special needs or conditions and what will be done to help (for example, assistance with transport)
  • timeframes
  • monitoring and reviewing progress so that problems can be identified and managed early.

Supporting employee recovery at work – ACC(external link)

Template: Recovery at work plan – ACC(external link)

Tools and resources

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