Dealing with Worksafe after an accident
Sadly Freddy is still in hospital after his fall from shifting chemicals on his farm. His condition is stable but Pebbles would like to see some improvement.
Pebbles has been forwarding a lot of calls. Her phone rings again, and a familiar name flashes up. It’s Jacqui, the neighbour that was first on the scene of Freddy’s accident.
“Hi Pebbles,” said Jacqui. “How’s Freddy doing?”
“He’s ok, but there’s not much sign of improvement. Thanks for looking after things back on the farm at the moment,” said Pebbles.
“That’s not good Pebbles. I know you will have other things on your mind but I wanted to call to find out what to do next,” said Jacqui.
“What’s up Jacqui?” asked Pebbles.
“Well, you know how we notified Freddy’s accident to Worksafe, I’ve now been getting a lot of phone calls from inspectors who want to visit the farm and want to ask a lot of questions. I’m not sure if I can even answer them,” explained Jacqui.
“Don’t panic Jacqui. You shouldn’t be expected to answer any questions and, if you are being asked to answer anything, politely decline, and refer the caller to someone that can help.
“Worksafe will likely want a formal statement from someone at some point, but it can only require that from the Employer or person in control of the workplace. You are not obligated to answer any questions because you are just the neighbour,” explained Pebbles.
“Who should I refer the caller on to?” asked Jacqui.
“One good thing is Freddy taking out a public liability insurance policy for his farm,” said Pebbles. “It means that he does not have to pay for legal costs of assisting with the investigation, or for legal representation if that is needed. But I have had to notify Freddy’s insurer, and it has appointed its own lawyer to assist with the investigation. I will email you their contact details, and I would recommend that you refer Worksafe to them. They will handle things from there.”
“What will that lawyer do?” asked Jacqui.
“Well they will liaise with Worksafe to schedule any interviews that need to happen. They will also review any information and documents requested by Worksafe, such as Freddy’s health and safety procedures, and documented hazard identification, before giving them to Worksafe,” explained Pebbles.
“Did Freddy have any of that?” asked Jacqui.
“Fortunately I helped Freddy out with all of his health and safety documents a while ago, so they will be up to date,” Pebbles confirmed.
“Thanks for that reassurance Pebbles. I will be more than happy to refer these phone calls I’ve been getting onto the lawyers!” Jacqui said with a relief.
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