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education.vic.gov.au

School operations

Reporting and Managing School Incidents (including emergencies)

Policy

This policy describes the requirements for reporting and managing school incidents and hazards.

Summary

  • This policy and associated guidelines and procedures apply to incidents at all government schools and to services delivered by school councils within the school environment (including outside school hours care, kindergartens delivered by school councils on school premises and VET programs delivered as part of a government school program).
  • This policy and associated guidelines and procedures also applies to incidents that occur during travel to and from school, on camps, excursions or outdoor adventure activities, outside school hours, or online school environments.
  • Schools must report and manage incidents in accordance with the guidance and procedures outlined in the Guidance tab.

Details

This policy and associated guidelines and procedures (refer to the Guidance tab) apply to all government schools and all services delivered by school councils within the school environment. This includes outside school hours care, kindergartens delivered by school councils on school premises, VET programs delivered as part of a government school program, school camps and excursions and online school environments.

Incidents that are in scope for this policy and associated guidelines are any actual or alleged event or situation that:

  • causes harm or creates a risk of causing harm to a student’s health, safety and wellbeing either directly or indirectly while under the care or supervision of the school, including international students
  • impacts a student and is brought to the attention of the school, regardless of when or where it occurred, provided it is impacting on the student or other students within the school environment
  • causes harm or creates a risk of causing harm to an employee’s health, safety and wellbeing either directly or indirectly in the work setting
  • affects or risks affecting the continuity of school operations, including matters of security, property damage and emergencies
  • requires police notification or involves matters of serious conduct
  • is a WorkSafe Notifiable Incident

Schools are required to manage incidents according to the six stages of the Department’s School Incident Management System (SIMS).

Note: Refer to the Guidance tab for detailed information on how to implement these six stages.

Overview of the six stages for responding to school incidents

The following information provides an overview of the steps principals and /or their delegates are required to take in response to an incident. For guidance on how to implement these steps, refer to the Guidance tab.

1  Identify and respond immediately

This stage describes how to identify an incident, and what immediate general actions the principal and/or delegate should take.

  • Respond to immediate needs of student, staff or any other parties.
  • Contact emergency services on 000, if required.
  • Enact school’s Emergency Management Plan (EMP), if required.
  • Preserve evidence, if appropriate (Refer to Note 1).
  • Contact nominated family or carers, if appropriate.

Note 1: For incidents that are ‘Notifiable Incidents’ to WorkSafe, the site must be preserved, except where there is an immediate need to protect the health and safety of persons, provide first aid to any injured persons or to take essential action to make the site safe.

2  Report the incident or hazard (Report for Support)

Following the immediate response to the incident, principals and / or their delegate are responsible for undertaking an assessment of the incident’s severity rating, using the Severity Rating Decision-making Matrix.

Incidents are rated as either:

  • Extreme (Red)
  • High (Orange)
  • Medium (Yellow) or
  • Low (Blue)
Reports to the Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC)

Incidents rated as Extreme, High or Medium must be reported to the Incident Support and Operations Centre (ISOC) on 1800 126 126 for immediate advice and coordination of Area-based supports; and recorded by the school on CASES21 or equivalent records management system.

Incidents rated as Low do not need to be reported to ISOC but must be recorded by the school on CASES21 or an equivalent records management system. 

Reports on eduSafe Plus

The principal and/or their delegate must ensure all identified hazards and incidents involving employees, volunteers, visitors, contractors and members of the public are reported onto eduSafe Plus (login required).

The principal and/or their delegate, in consultation with the affected person(s) and relevant health and safety representatives (HSR), are to close out the eduSafe Plus report by developing and implementing an ‘action plan’ to address the hazard or incident in order to manage the risk and to prevent a reoccurrence.

Reports to WorkSafe

Reporting notifiable incidents to WorkSafe and preservation of the incident site:

The principal and / or their delegate must contact WorkSafe on 13 23 60 to report Notifiable Incidents immediately after becoming aware that an incident has occurred and must provide WorkSafe with a completed incident notification form within 48 hours.

WorkSafe Victoria will provide a reference number on notification and will advise whether the incident site is to be isolated and / or preserved until a WorkSafe Inspector arrives.

Additional reporting obligations

Depending on the nature of the incident, principals may have a number of other reporting obligations, including:

3  Ongoing support and recovery

Principals and/or their delegates, are responsible for:

  • managing all incidents in accordance with all policies to ensure safety and wellbeing of student and staff
  • providing ongoing support to impacted students and staff.

For Extreme (Red) and High (Orange) incidents, the region and/or central will assist with the coordination and provision of supports.

Principals and/or their delegates can raise the severity of an incident if they require support.

4  Investigate

Some incidents may trigger investigations under other Department policies and legislative schemes (for example, privacy breaches should be reported in accordance with the Privacy and Information Sharing Policy, mandatory reporting to DHHS). A preliminary investigation screening should be undertaken within two days of the incident being reported to the ISOC.

For WorkSafe Notifiable Incidents, the principal and / or their delegate are to conduct a formal incident investigation within 24 hours of the notifiable incident, where possible, using the Hazard and Incident Investigation Template or equivalent.

For the investigation, the principal and / or their delegate may decide to convene an incident investigation team, comprising school leadership staff, the school’s HSR, affected employee and other employees, depending on the nature of the incident. The investigation should seek to identify the causes and any potential hazards, and provide recommended control and preventative measures.

5  Review and close 

This stage outlines the process and accountabilities for incident reviews and closure. Reviews are discretionary but provide a valuable learning opportunity.

The incident severity rating informs the responsible authority for closing incidents, in consultation with the principal.

6  Analyse and learn

This stage provides an overview of the Department’s data analysis framework for analysis of incident information. 

Definitions

Notifiable Incidents
For the definition of Notifiable Incident, Near Miss and Hazard, refer to the Defined Health and Safety Terms section of the Employee Health and Safety Guidance tab.

School environment
Any physical or virtual place made available or authorised by the school or school council for use by a student during or outside school hours, including:

  • a campus of the school
  • online school environments (including email and intranet systems)
  • other locations provided by the school for a student’s use (including, without limitation, locations used for school camps, sporting events, excursions, competitions, and other events); and
  • other outside of school areas including homestay accommodation accessed by an international student for which the Department has accepted responsibility for appropriate accommodation and welfare

VET
Vocational Education and Training

Relevant legislation

Contacts

To report an emergency or other incident to the Incident Support and Operations Centre (who will arrange for an IRIS report to be made) call 1800 126 126.

To report a notifiable incident to WorkSafe call 13 23 60 in accordance with this policy.

For general queries or feedback in relation to this policy or guidance, contact the Policy and Intelligence Unit, Security and Emergency Management Division on email: emergency.management@education.vic.gov.au or ph: 03 7022 0015.

Department policy on the requirements for reporting and managing school incidents and hazards

Reviewed 30 June 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Security and Emergency Management Division There are multiple contacts for this topic. Refer to the contacts heading at the bottom of the page for details.

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