Do you need an accident book at work? When should you complete it? Who fills it in? Is it a legal requirement? If you find yourself with questions about the accident book, read on, while we look to answer all of these questions and more on accident books, the law, and how to complete them.
Many people think that the accident book is a health and safety requirement. After all, accidents are a health and safety issue. So it might surprise you to find out that the law on accident books doesn't come from a health a safety regulation at all.
The legal requirement for an accident book comes under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 (referred to for the rest of the post as SSCPR). The need to keep an accident book is hidden away in regulation 25 of the SSCPR.
- Every owner or occupier (being an employer) of any mine or quarry or of any premises to which any of the provisions of the Factories Act 1961 F1 applies and every employer by whom 10 or more persons are normally employed at the same time on or about the same premises in connection with a trade or business carried on by the employer shall, subject to the following provisions of this paragraph—
- keep readily accessible a book or books in a form approved by the Secretary of State in which the appropriate particulars (as defined in regulation 24) of any accident causing personal injury to a person employed by the employer may be entered by that person or by some other person acting on his behalf;
- preserve every such book, when it is filled, for the period of 3 years beginning with the date of the last entry therein.
This section requires employers to make accident books available at work. Anyone injured at work is required to inform their employer and to record information about the accident in the accident book. The accident book must be kept by the employer for 3 years following completion.
Schedule 4 of the SSCPR lists the contents that should be entered into an accident book record as the:
The accident book should be completed by the injured person or someone acting on their behalf, in compliance with regulation 25(3) detailed above.
In the form provided by the HSE in their official accident book, they ask for details of where and when the accident happened, and what happened. This is best completed by the injured person, as the person who had the accident is likely to have the fullest picture of what exactly happened.
The employer can then investigate to determine the cause of the accident. The results of the accident investigation and any additional safety measures implemented can be kept with the accident record to give a full picture. This may include accounts from other witnesses of the accident, and lessons learnt. This gives a complete record of the accident should a claim be made, but should also be seen as an opportunity to improve health and safety and prevent future accidents.
The accident book should be kept by the employer, but there are times when a record may need to be shared with others:
Most of the time, the details recorded in the accident book should be kept confidential and don't need to be shared or reported to external services like the HSE. Things like minor accidents need to be investigated by the employer but don't need to be recorded outside of the organisation. Although safety representatives may ask for accident records, to carry out their role, and this must be shared.
Safety representatives are legally entitled to accident records that employers have to keep, by law
However, the SSCPR does clearly state that "Every employer who is required to do so by the Secretary of State shall furnish to an officer of the Department within such reasonable period as may be required, such information and particulars as shall be required" in 25(2).
Another set of regulations also apply to accident reporting. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). RIDDOR is a health and safety specific regulation, and while it doesn't directly refer to the accident book, it does require employers to keep a record of any RIDDOR reportable accidents. HSE guidance suggests that the accident book is a good place to keep these records. Since it will need to be completed for an accident anyway, it saves on keeping duplicate records.
In the case of accidents, employers who must keep an accident book (B1510) under Social security Law can use this for keeping the records of injuries although, a separate method will be needed for cases of disease.
With any RIDDOR reportable accidents, a report will also need to be made the HSE. Find out more in what injuries at work are RIDDOR reportable?
The pages of the accident book should be removed once completed. This is so that personal information from one form, isn't made available to anyone with access to the accident book.
When sharing accident book records with anyone other the person detailed in the report, consider your data protection requirements. In the latest official accident book produced by the HSE, there is an option for the employee to tick if they consent to their personal information being shared to safety representatives. If they don't consent, then the content of the report should only be shared with safety representatives once personal data has been removed.
anonymise the information if the injured person does not tick the tick box and disclose it to safety representatives and/or representatives of employee safety.
Where data processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation, consent is not required.