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Reporting of accidents

Napthens - April 8th 2021

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.

By reporting all accidents, injuries and incidents, you can find out what went wrong. You can also make sure that legal reporting requirements such as filling in the accident book is 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. 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 there is of it happening again.

If your workplace has 10 or more employees, they are legally required to have an accident book, to record and report details of any accidents or injuries that are incurred by staff members in the workplace. The purpose of the accident book is to ensure that the information is available should a claim for compensation be made, making it 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.

According to the Health and Safety Executive using accident book and investigating all accidents allows businesses to comply with the legal requirements set under health and safety legislation, including Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (RIDDOR) requirements.

Under RIDDOR regulation requirements some accidents, injuries and incidents may need to be reported to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in addition to notifying insurance companies. Reportable accidents under RIDDOR regulation will need to be reported within certain timescales, for example, a report must be received within 10 days of the incident. For accidents resulting in the over-seven-day incapacitation of a worker, business must notify the enforcing authority within 15 days of the incident, using the appropriate online form.

Case study:The supermarket employee was unloading a lorry outside of the store when a trolley toppled on to employee and crushed employee against the pavement sustaining two severe open leg fractures (accident meeting RIDDOR reporting criteria). The supermarket failed to report accident for 15 days.”  The business failed to provide suitable training and was fined for health and safety failings.

By reporting and investigating all accidents (including those that require reporting to HSE under RIDDOR regulation), 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.

If you need to discuss your accident reporting procedures and policies, get in touch with a member of the Napthens Health and Safety team