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  • Ian Read

Accident Reporting & Investigating - Your legal duty

Every year people are killed or injured at work, all employers have a legal duty to investigate and report certain accidents and incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Claims for workplace injuries can be made up to 3 years after the incident.

Investigating accidents and near misses in order to prevent recurrences is an essential part of safety management, reducing the possibility of claims, financial penalties and bad business reputation, in the same time improving safe working practices.

RIDDOR incidents must be reported to the HSE within 15 days of the incident occurring, they then must be investigated by a competent, or qualified person, in health and safety.

In the event of an accident or incident, it is important to establish the immediate causes and contributory factors to see what can be learnt to prevent similar events in the future. Accident causation is rarely as simple as it may first appear, and an independent investigation and view is essential to any conclusion, root cause analysis, and appropriate recommendations.

As a Health and Safety consultant, I am both experienced and qualified to undertake all levels of workplace accident and incident investigations, producing a full detailed report at the end.

RIDDOR is the law that requires employers, and other people in control of work premises, to report and keep records of:

Work-related accidents which cause death;

All deaths to workers and non-workers must be reported if they arise from a work-related accident, including an act of physical violence to a worker. Suicides are not reportable, as the death does not result from a work-related accident.

Why report?

Reporting certain incidents is a legal requirement. The report informs the enforcing authorities (HSE, local authorities etc...) about deaths, injuries, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences, so they can identify where and how risks arise, and whether they need to be investigated.

This allows the enforcing authorities to target their work and provide advice about how to avoid work-related deaths, injuries, ill health and accidental loss.

Work-related accidents

For the purposes of RIDDOR, an accident is a separate, identifiable, unintended incident that causes physical injury. This specifically includes acts of non-consensual violence to people at work.

Not all accidents need to be reported, a RIDDOR report is required only when:

  • The accident is work-related; and

  • It results in an injury of a type which is reportable (as listed under ‘Types of reportable injuries’).

If in doubt you should check with a qualified health and safety advisor (or your appointed competent person).

What are the main workplace RIDDOR reported incidents:

1. Over-seven-day injuries to workers (employees)

This is one of the most common reason for reporting under RIDDOR, and is sometimes forgotten by employers.

This is where an employee, or self-employed person, is away from work or unable to perform their normal work duties due to the accident/incident for more than seven consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident).

2. Specified Injuries

Major injuries that happen at work are reportable under RIDDOR. The types of injuries include: fractures, amputations, serious burns, loss of consciousness, and any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs.

3. Injuries to non-workers

Work-related accidents involving members of the public or people who are not at work must be reported if a person is injured and is taken from the scene of the accident to hospital for treatment to that injury.

There is no requirement to establish what hospital treatment was actually provided, and no need to report incidents where people are taken to hospital purely as a precaution when no injury is apparent.

Record keeping of accidents

Anyone who has been involved in any accident which has caused injury or harm, may make a claim against the employer or business up to three years after the accident. Therefore it is vital that correct records are kept in regards to any accident, injuries and investigations, as these will be called for if a liability claim is made.

Investigation Report

After any investigation, a full report must be written outlining:

  • background facts of the incident

  • witness statements

  • evidence examined

  • conclusion

  • causation (immediate cause, underlying cause & root cause)

  • recommendations (action plan)

Employee Claim

It is important that employers keep in mind, that an employer can make an industrial injury claim up to 3 years after the incident.

How can I help?

  • Carry out accident/incident investigations (includes; evidence gathering, witness statements…)

  • Provide employer with accident/incident report and improvement recommendations

  • Advise on potential RIDDOR incidents/accidents

  • Complete notification of any confirmed RIDDOR incident/accident

Acting as your retained health and safety advisor (appointed competent person) I would be available to give you face to face, telephone, email or skype advise and support.

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