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3rd September, 2019

Reporting Accidents, Injuries And Incidents At Work

Accidents, injuries and unexpected incidents at work, are something you try to avoid. But they can happen. When they do, it's good to report them, and investigate them. Even if no one was seriously hurt. Because it's an opportunity to find out why it happened. And to stop it happening again.

This all starts, with reporting.

Employees should report all accidents, injuries and incidents to their employer. They may also need to fill in the accident book.

Employers should investigate all reports. They may need to report certain accidents, injuries and incidents under RIDDOR, and notify their insurance company.

By reporting all accidents, injuries and incidents, you can find out what went wrong. You can also make sure than any legal reporting requirements, like filling in the accident book or reporting under RIDDOR, are carried out.

Accident reports can be used to:

  • Gather information
  • Identify problems
  • Learn from mistakes
  • Analyse trends
  • Prioritise improvements
  • Prevent it from happening again
  • Provide training
  • Improve management skills
  • Comply with legal requirements

Accidents should be reported as soon as possible. Some legal requirements, like RIDDOR, need to be reported within certain timescales. In any case, it's best to report and investigate accidents quickly. You can get more information while the incident is fresh in everyone's minds. And, the quicker you act to fix any problems found, the less risk of it happening again.

RIDDOR

When you think about the reporting of accidents, injuries and incidents at work, you might first think of RIDDOR. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.

RIDDOR puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).

Under RIDDOR, the enforcing authority (the HSE or other authority depending on your workplace) wants to know about:

  • Deaths
  • Major injuries
  • 7-day injuries
  • Injuries to the public
  • Diseases
  • Dangerous occurrences

You can find out more about RIDDOR reports in what injuries at work are RIDDOR reportable?

Not all accidents, injuries and incidents at work are RIDDOR reportable, usually just the more serious ones. However, just because something is not RIDDOR reportable, doesn't mean it shouldn't be reported. Employers still need to know about other accidents, even those that don't come under RIDDOR.

Accident Book

All accidents resulting in injury (however minor) should be recorded in the accident book. The accident book is a legal requirement under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, for employers with more than 10 employees. And all employers in a mine, quarry or factory.

injury
Injuries should be recorded in the accident book

The purpose of the accident book is to ensure that the information is available should a claim for compensation be made. So, it's a good idea for all employers to keep an accident book.

Anyone injured at work should inform the employer, and record the information in the accident book. This report should be kept for at least 3 years. The employer is required to investigate the cause of the accident and update the record as necessary.

Internal Reporting Systems

Every business can benefit from internal accident reporting systems. From near-miss reporting to accident data. If no one was injured, then it doesn't need entering in the accident book. If it's not RIDDOR reportable, then no need to let the authorities know. But next time, maybe it could be.

Types of reports include:

  • Near misses
  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Diseases / ill-health

By reporting, you can prevent a similar event happening again. Next time, it could have more serious consequences. This has other benefits, like improving the health and safety culture of the business, and increased happiness levels of employees who see action taken to keep them safe and healthy.

As a general rule, employees should report all accident, injuries and incidents to their employer. Many businesses will have forms that this can be done through. Near miss report forms, accident report forms and incident report forms.

reporting on phone
You may be able to make your report online or by phone

This report should gather:

  • Date and location of the accident or incident
  • Name of anyone injured
  • Details of injury
  • Circumstances
  • Witnesses

In every type of report, it is important to remember that the report is just the start. A report on its own won't fix health and safety issues. It needs to be followed up. An investigation is needed to establish the causes. Were there any failures in control measures? Did someone do the wrong thing? Is further training needed?

Investigations should not be used to find someone to blame. There can often be several causes, and it is rare that somebody ever intends for an accident to happen. Take it as an opportunity to look into the incident, to understand how and why it happened. Once you know what went wrong, you can put it right, so it doesn't happen again.

External Reporting

Hopefully, you won't reach this section. Health and safety problems should usually be put right by speaking to your employer and reporting the issue internally. This could be through a near-miss report, or an accident or incident report.

But what if problems are not put right, or the correct procedures are not being followed? What if the law is being broken, and peoples health and safety is at risk?

Inspector wearing hi-viz
Your next step could be the HSE

If you have spoken to the person in charge of the work, and your employer (if this is someone else) and the matter still isn't resolved, your next step could be to speak to your trade union (if you have one). You might also have a trade union elected health and safety representative, or employee elected health and safety representative you can speak to and raise your concerns with.

Find out more about how to report health and safety concerns.

If all else fails, you can report a problem directly to the HSE, or the enforcing authority for your workplace. HSE inspectors have special powers to investigate businesses and enforce health and safety regulations where the law is being broken. They can stop the work, or require improvements to be made by specific deadlines.

We use the information you tell us to assess if it’s something we should look into. If it is, then we will take up the problem you report with the company by contacting them by phone, writing or a site visit. We make that assessment within 24 hours (during the working week).

You will be asked for your name and contact information when you report the issue. This is so you can be kept up to date with what action was taken as a result of your report. If you are reporting an issue where you work, you have some protections as a whistleblower.


Here are 5 examples of how near miss reporting can stop accidents. Download the free near miss report form to get started.

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This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.

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