Injury vs. Incident Reporting: What's the Difference?

Imagine this:
 You're an employer. Your worker just informed you that they stubbed their toe coming up the stairs. Your worker is fine and doesn't need any medical attention or first aid, but asks you if they need to report the injury to the Workers' Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC). What would you tell your worker to do?
A report does not need to be supplied to the WSCC in this case. 


Now imagine this: You're a worker for a mine remediation company in a remote area of Nunavut. You believe that you may have been exposed to a dangerous substance during your work. You express concern to your supervisor, who immediately arranges for you to receive testing for the exposure.  The results come in and confirm that you were exposed to a dangerous level of arsenic. However, you feel fine. What do you do next?

The first step is to seek proper medical attention, then for you and your employer to complete your reports of injury and submit to the WSCC. Your employer also needs to report to the WSCC Inspector of Mines. 


What about this: You're working on a construction site. As you go to hammer in a nail, your scaffolding collapses. Miraculously, you walk away completely unscathed. Without an injury to report, what would you do?

You need to report the incident to your supervisor. Even with no injury to report, your employer still needs to contact the WSCC.

Believe it or not, until recently, the differences in reporting processes for injuries or incidents similar to these three scenarios were unclear.  Reporting requirements may seem complicated to some, due to the fact that there are different legislations that employers and workers both must follow, but the fact of the matter is: Reporting is the law. So it's important to understand the differences.


It's also necessary for organizations to have the proper procedures in place and resources available to limit injuries and incidents, and to address them in a timely manner. This is particularly important when it comes to reporting these occurrences to the WSCC.  Not only is injury and incident reporting important for the claims process and ensuring workers get the care and support they need to ensure a timely and safe return to work, it's also important to ensure future workplace safety and determine what caused an accident or incident. 


So, what do I need to know as a Worker? 

As a worker, you have responsibilities when it comes to injury reporting. You must:

  • tell your supervisor about all workplace injuries and incidents;
  • get immediate medical attention if necessary;
  • tell your health care provider you were hurt at work;
  • submit a Worker's Report of Injury form to the WSCC Claims Services for all injuries or incidents meeting the criteria found below.
What do I need to know as an Employer?


As an employer, you have different reporting requirements under the General Safety Act depending on the type of accident or injury that happens at your work site.


If there is an accident involving death:

If there is an accident of a serious nature:

  • Report to the WSCC Chief Safety Officer within 24 hours.

If there is an accident involving serious injury:

  • Report to the WSCC Chief Safety Officer within 24 hours, and
  • Submit a complete Employer's Report of Injury form within three days to the WSCC.

If there is an accident involving injury requiring only first aid:

  • Submit an accident report to the WSCC Chief Safety Officer within one month, with a First Aid Representative's signature on the report.

You can refer to sections 35 and 65 of the General Safety Regulations, and Section 18 of the Workers' Compensation Act for more information.


What do I need to know as an Employer working under the Mine Health and Safety Act and Regulations?

If you work in the Mining industry, including exploration and quarries, there are different reporting criteria. This is due to the different legislation that governs the reporting requirements.


If there is an incident involving death:

If there is an incident involving serious injury:

  • Submit an oral report immediately to a WSCC Inspector of Mines, and
  • Submit a complete Employer's Report of Injury form within three days.

If there is an accident involving non-serious injury:

  • Report any injury requiring first aid or medical aid in your monthly accident summary report to the WSCC Chief Inspector of Mines; and
  • Submit a complete Employer's Report of Injury form within three days to the WSCC.

If there is an incident with no injury:

  • If the incident is deemed a dangerous occurrence, submit an oral report to a WSCC Inspector of Mines within 24 hours.
You can refer to section 16 of the Mine Health and Safety Regulations, and Section 18 in the Workers' Compensation Act for more information.


What do I need to know as a Health Care Provider?


As a health care provider, you also play an important role in the workers' compensation process. Timely and accurate completion of WSCC forms helps care for injured workers by supporting an efficient process for claims management and a timely and safe return to work. When visiting your facility, workers must identify if an injury resulted from a workplace incident. Submit the First Medical Report to the WSCC within three days after the examination or treatment.


Who do I contact?


To report a workplace injury or incident, call the WSCC's 24-hour Incident Reporting Line at 1-800-661-0792.


Want to complete your injury form over the telephone? Take advantage of our Tele-Claim service by calling your local WSCC office during regular business hours. One of our Claims Representatives can take your information and walk you through the process.


Submitting your claim by e-mail is simple; in Northwest Territories send your completed forms to nwtclaimsservices@wscc.nt.ca or in Nunavut nuclaimsservices@wscc.nu.ca


Need assistance navigating the workers' compensation system? The Workers' Advisor is available at no cost to workers. They can help you with your claim, answer questions, and explain the claims process. Check them out online www.workersadvisor.ca


Recent Policy Changes better define WHEN and WHAT to report under the Workers' Compensation Acts 


The WSCC recently revised Policy 11.02 Reporting an Injury, including a definition of injury and revisions to clearly explain when workers and employers must submit Report of Injury forms.

  • Injury: Physical or psychological harm or damage. An injury includes exposure to a foreign or contagious substance that may result in an immediate or delayed reaction. In other words, an injury can be something that is immediate or that takes place over time. It can also involve your physical or mental well-being.
  • Employers: Under the new policy, employers must maintain documentation for all injuries and exposures for a period of three years, whether or not the employee receives medical aid.
  • Workers: Previously, the WSCC required workers to submit a Worker's Report of Injury form to the WSCC for all workplace injuries and incidents. With the policy change, now workers must only report injuries when they:
    • receive, or should have received, medical aid for a work-related injury;
    • cannot return to their work on the day the injury or disease occurred;
    • are unable to return to their usual job function on any working day following the day of the injury;
    • lost consciousness during the course of employment; or
    • were exposed to a dangerous substance.

With the policy change, employers must submit an Employer's Report of Injury form to the WSCC within three working days after first knowing or having reason to believe any of the above reporting criteria were met, or upon request from the WSCC.


Frequently asked Questions

What is the difference between first aid and medical aid?

You receive first aid if you suffer an injury which is treatable by a first aid responder or your workplace's first aid kit. Medical aid refers to treatment administered by a health care provider, such as a Doctor, Nurse, Physician's Assistant or Psychologist.


What are workers' workplace safety responsibilities?

As a worker, you must:


1. Do your job safely and follow health and safety rules;

2. Ask for training if you need it;

3. Use personal protective equipment when required;

4. Report all injuries meeting the criteria to your employer and the WSCC; and

5. Receive medical treatment if necessary.


What are employers' workplace safety responsibilities?

As an employer, you must:


1. Provide a safe workplace;

2. Provide equipment and machinery of a safe design and in safe condition;

3. Appoint competent, properly certified supervisors who set performance standards and ensure workers follow safe work procedures;

4. Inform workers of their rights, responsibilities, and duties;

5. Provide adequate job training;

6. Train workers on any potential hazards; how to safely use, handle, store, and dispose of hazardous substances; and how to handle emergencies;

7. Supply personal protective equipment and make sure workers know how to use equipment safely and properly;

8. Support and participate in an Occupational Health and Safety Committee;

9. Meet first aid standards; and

10. Report workplace incidents and injuries that meet the criteria to the WSCC.


Timely and accurate reporting to the WSCC is an important part of the workers' compensation system. It helps ensure injured workers receive timely care, and supports early and safe return to work.


For more information on return to work, click here or call the WSCC in the Northwest Territories at 1-800-661-0792 or in Nunavut at 1-877-404-4407. 

wscc.nt.ca   /  1.800.661.0792   *   wscc.nu.ca  /  1.877.404.4407