Responding to Student Accident/Incidents: Support, Reporting and Insurance Arrangements Policy

  1. What is this policy about?
    1. This policy and related procedures and guidelines assist schools in supporting students when an accident/incident occurs and reflect legislative and insurance requirements about reporting and recording incidents and accidents.
  2. Policy Statement
    1. Response to an accident or incident

    2. Schools meet their responsibilities in a number of ways including providing first aid and where necessary professional medical assistance to injured students, documenting the circumstances of accidents/incidents, and considering any appropriate steps that may be taken to avoid similar accidents/incidents.
    3. Schools will inform parents except where the accident/incident is considered minor (for example where first aid intervention is not required).
      • Schools will immediately inform parents when a serious accident/incident (for example where professional medical services are required) occurs.
      • Where a minor incident is concerned schools will consider whether, in the circumstances, a parent should be informed.
    4. Schools will call an ambulance at the earliest suggestion it may be required. The ACT Ambulance Service provides free ambulance transport within the ACT for students who are injured or suddenly become ill at school or during approved school activities.
    5. Schools will endeavour to make contact with parents within 24 hours following a serious accident/incident to enquire about the well-being of the student and to hear any parent concerns.
    6. Notifiable incidents

    7. The Directorate as the employer or person in control of a workplace has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to report to WorkSafe ACT any notifiable incidents such as a serious injury to any person and dangerous incidents involving students that are attributable to the conduct of Education Directorate (the Directorate) activities.
    8. Dangerous incidents that are considered notifiable incidents include:
      • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
      • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
      • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
      • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
      • electric shock, and
      • the fall or release from height of any plant, substance or thing.
    9. Dangerous incidents also include the exposure to a serious or imminent risk of any of these events to any person.
    10. The Education Directorate, as the approved provider of public preschools, has an obligation under the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 to notify the Regulatory Authority (Children’s Education and Care Assurance) of any serious incident at the approved education and care service.
    11. Student accident/incident reports

    12. Schools will document the circumstances of accidents/incidents.
    13. Some of the information may be personal information as defined in the Information Privacy Act 2014 and the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997. The information is usually included in a Student Accident/Incident Report together with any accompanying witness statements or the Notification of a Critical Incident.
    14. The purposes for which the information is collected includes notifying the Territory’s insurers, the ACT Insurance Authority, and legal advisers, the ACT Government Solicitor, of injuries and incidents and ensuring that the school itself has accurate and complete records. Information is also provided to WorkSafe ACT in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
    15. Insurance

    16. There is no automatic insurance provision for student injuries.
    17. The ACT Government (the Territory) meets claims (including claims resulting from school activities or excursions) against it where there is a legal liability to do so. Liability is not automatic and depends on the circumstances in which the injury was sustained.
    18. The Education Directorate is an agency of the Territory which has insurance arrangements in place in order to meet such liabilities.
    19. There are no reciprocal arrangements with other state or territory ambulance services and free ambulance cover does not apply to students who attend Jervis Bay School.
    20. Parents are able to consider the need for their own insurance arrangements.
  3. Who does this policy apply to?
    1. This policy applies to all ACT public schools, including public early childhood schools and preschools.
  4. Context
    1. Schools have a duty of care to keep students safe.
    2. The Directorate ensures as far as is reasonably practical that schools are safe places. Arrangements are in place to support students injured in accidents or incidents that occur at school or during school-organised activities.
    3. Where an injury or incident occurs, schools have an obligation to determine what has happened. Schools may therefore seek information on the accident or incident from students. Schools may also ask students to make statements in writing and to sign the statements.
    4. School records about incidents and accidents may be provided to WorkSafe ACT, the ACT Insurance Agency, the Government Solicitor’s Office or be subject to Freedom of Information requests.
  5. Responsibilities
    1. The school principal: is responsible for implementing this policy in each school.
    2. Teachers: also have responsibilities to respond appropriately to incidents and accidents to promote safety in schools.
    3. Policy Owner: The Director, Governance and Community Liaison is responsible for this policy.
  6. Monitoring and Review
    1. The Policy Owner monitors the policy. This includes an annual scan of operation and review. A full review of the policy will be conducted within a three year period.
  7. Contact
    1. For support contact the Governance and Community Liaison Branch on (02) 6205 9151 or email EDULegalLiaison@act.gov.au.
  8. Complaints
    1. Any concerns about the application of this policy or the policy itself, should be raised with:
  9. References
    1. Definitions
      • An accident: is an event or mishap involving a student enrolled in an ACT public school which occurs while the student is attending school or involved in an approved school-organised activity, such as an excursion, where the student is injured and first aid intervention and/or professional medical services are required.
      • A critical incident: is a crisis event that causes severe impact, such as significant disruption to the school routine, an emergency management situation, loss of sense of control, or threat to the safety of students and staff. It may be sudden or protracted, extremely dangerous, involve police or emergency services personnel, and generally be outside the normal range of experience or expectation of the people affected.
      • An incident: is an event that results in or is likely to result in injury/illness, for example dangerous occurrences and bullying and harassment. It includes a ‘near miss’.
      • A notifiable incident: is defined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT) as the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person, or a dangerous incident that exposes a person to a serious health or safety risk.
      • A serious incident involving a child being educated and cared for by an education and care service, including a preschool, is an event that causes the death of the child, injury, trauma or illness which requires medical services, or a child to be missing or unaccounted for, or locked in or out of the education and care service premises.
      • A serious incident involving a child attending a school or school related activity is an incident where the student requires immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital or immediate treatment for injuries such as amputation, serious head or eye injury, burns, separation of skin from tissue, spinal injury, lacerations, or needing medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.
      • A parent: is a person having parental responsibility for the child under the Children and Young People Act 2008 including a carer appointed under that Act.
    2. Legislation
      1. The Freedom of Information Act 1989 provides a right to seek access to government documents and sets out a number of exemptions allowing for non-release of documents including that of unreasonable disclosure of personal information.
      2. The Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) applies a national law relating to the regulation of education and care services for children, including in early childhood schools and preschools.
      3. Directorate staff have certain obligations and responsibilities under the Information Privacy Act 2014 and the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 (ACT). These Acts protect individuals’ rights in relation to the collection, use, storage and disclosure of personal information and personal health information held by government agencies.
      4. Work Health and Safety Act 2011 provides a framework to secure the health and safety of workers and other persons in the workplace. It sets out the requirements for the reporting of notifiable incidents such as the serious injury or illness of a person and dangerous incidents, as well as the requirement to preserve accident/incident sites.
    3. Implementation Documents
      • Responding to Student Accidents/Incidents: Support, Reporting and Insurance Arrangements Procedure
      • Responding to Student Accidents/Incidents: Support, Reporting and Insurance Arrangements Guidelines for Staff
    4. Related Policies and Information
      • Critical/Non-Critical Incident Management Reporting Policy
      • Critical/Non-Critical Incident Management Reporting Procedure
      • Excursions Policy
      • First Aid Policy
      • Outdoor Adventure Activities Policy
      • Overseas Excursions Policy
      • Safe and Supportive Schools Policy

Responding to Student Accidents/Incidents: Support, Reporting and Insurance Arrangements Policy: RSAI201405 is the unique identifier of this document. It is the responsibility of the user to verify that this is the current and complete version of the document, available on the Policies A-Z page of the Education website at http://www.education.act.gov.au/publications_and_policies/school_and_corporate_policies/A-Z.

Policy Identifier: RSAI201405

Published: December 2016

Related Policies and Information:

  • Critical/Non-Critical Incident Management Reporting Policy
  • Critical/Non-Critical Incident Management Reporting Procedure
  • Excursions Policy
  • First Aid Policy
  • Outdoor Adventure Activities Policy
  • Overseas Excursions Policy
  • Safe and Supportive Schools Policy