How to do accident reporting properly

Accident reporting under health and safety regulations is not about apportioning blame. It is a monitoring and evaluative tool, a catalyst to making changes that keeps your employees, contractors and members of the public safe but just how do you report an accident at work properly?

Step 1 – Assess immediate risk

The aftermath of an accident can be a stressful time for many people but there needs to be a pragmatic and immediate approach. The situation must be assessed as to whether it presents an ongoing danger or risk to you, your staff, contractors or the public. However, only do so without compromising your own safety.

Step 2 – Medical assistance

With the call made for medical assistance, once you have assessed the level of current risk, you need to turn your focus to the medical assistance offered to employees injured in the accident. Your own workplace first aiders will be involved too. As part of the assistance process, you will also need to consider the emotional well-being of your staff after the accident.

Step 3 – Ensure senior management are informed as soon as possible

Every organisation and business will have different reporting procedures when it comes to accidents, especially concerning the gravity and seriousness of the situation, injuries and so on. However, if the accident meets all the indicators as being serious, you should inform senior management as soon as possible.

Step 4 – Recording the incident

Every workplace with five or more employees must have a health and safety policy with defined procedures, including an accident book to report workplace accidents and incidents in which people were injured.

It is crucial that as soon as possible after the accident, the incident is recorded in the company’s accident book, following the procedures laid down by your organisation.

The accident book will be logically laid out, asking the critical questions such as who was involved, the nature of the accident and the injuries. You may not have all this information immediately to hand, but it is crucial you record as much of the detail after the accident as possible.

Step 5 – Other reporting procedures

It may be that depending on the nature of the incident, there will be additional reporting procedures such as RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Under RIDDOR, reports must be sent without delay and within 10 days of the incident. If the injured employee is off work for more than 7 days, the report must be submitted within 15 days. You can submit the report online via the HSE website. You will be required to give information relating to the employee, as well as the time, place and nature of the incident.

Step 6 – Investigate

With the emotional response to the accident now under control, an objective and pragmatic approach to finding out why the accident happened needs to be taken. Effectively, the question which must be answered is could it have been avoided and how can a similar accidents be prevented in the future? Changes can safeguard against accidents or similar incidents happening again but only if you report accidents at work accurately.

How can we help you?

If you are in need of assistance with any aspect of Health and Safety management, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions or are looking for advice and support to maintain standards, call 01484 666160 or Email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.


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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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