Serious Harm on the Farm

Freddy learns about the obligations of notification of accidents

Pebbles and Freddy are having a catch-up over a cup of tea at Freddy’s farm.

“What’s news Pebbles?  I haven’t heard from you in a while”, asks Freddy.

“I’ve just come back from a Health and Safety law course.  It was very interesting, particularly the session on notification of accidents.”

“Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, Pebbles.  Besides, I don’t have any employees, and I leave all that compliance stuff up to my share milker, Bam Bam”, Freddy says dismissively.

“It’s not as simple as that, Dad”, warns Pebbles.  “The obligation to notify any serious harm accident, doesn’t just apply to employers.  Principles and self-employed people are also required to notify serious harm accidents as soon as possible after the accident becomes known.  Because you have contractors working on your farm you have an obligation, as a principle, to notify any serious harm incident involving any contractors at work on your farm”.

“I knew you were going to tell me something like that, Pebbles.   Surely I don’t have to pick up the phone every time Bam Bam grazes his knee!”

“No you don’t Dad,” replies Pebbles.  “Although there is a range of injuries that do trigger notification.  Too many to take you through now.   There is a technical definition of what is Serious Harm, and for more detailed information about that you can go to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment website:”

“And what if someone else has already notified the accident?” asks Freddy.

“You still have an obligation to notify the accident, if you have a duty to do so.  It is better to be safe, rather than sorry.  A failure to notify such accidents could result in enforcement action being taken against you,” says Pebbles.

“If a serious harm accident happens, who should I notify, Pebbles?” asks Freddy.

“You can notify the nearest office of the Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment (which used to be known as the Department of Labour) by phone, fax, or email.  There is also a written form of notification which you must complete within seven days after the accident.  This is also a good way of keeping a written record of your notification.  You can also find a copy of that form on the website,” explains Pebbles.

“Well, I’d better go and have a look at that website, and read up on that serious harm definition.”

“Sounds like a plan, Dad.  And remember, if you are ever in any doubt about whether to notify an accident, just give me a call,” says Pebbles.

“Don’t worry, Pebbles.   You can be assured that I will.”

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document.
If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser.
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Philip McCarthy