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How long must we keep an incident form?

Q: How long do we have to keep a completed incident form? I am assisting an employer in WA to review their policies.

The company is an NFP and works in environmental management.

A: The occupational safety and health legislation in WA does not prescribe how long an incident form should be retained. However, you should consider the limitation periods for certain proceedings because an incident form may be used as evidence in proceedings.

Some relevant limitation periods are:

  • under safety and health legislation, WorkSafe WA may commence a prosecution within 3 years after an offence is committed (section 52); and
  • under the Limitation Act 2005 (WA), the general limitation period for personal injury claims is 3 years from the date a person becomes aware they have sustained a not insignificant injury or when the first symptom, clinical sign, or other manifestation of the injury arises, whichever is the earlier.
  • Typically, this will mean the limitation period will commence from the date the injury is sustained, which will usually be on or about the date of the incident form. However, the general limitation period for other non-personal injury-related actions is 6 years.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Incident reporting and investigation for current advice.

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