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Incident Reporting and Investigation

Recording the numbers and types of work-related accidents and ill-health cases are one means of monitoring the success of health and safety procedures in your workplace.  They are also an indicator of areas where more effort may be required to reduce the number of injuries and work-related illnesses in your workplace.  Therefore, it is vital that all injuries and work-related illnesses, however small or minor, are reported and an investigation is undertaken to identify means of avoiding repetition.

What is an accident, incident, near miss or work-related illness?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines these as the following:

  • An accident is an event that results in injury or ill health
  • An incident includes near misses and undesired circumstances
  • A near miss is an event that does not cause harm but has the potential to cause injury or ill health
  • An undesired circumstance is a set of conditions or circumstances that have the potential to cause injury or ill health e.g. untrained nurses handling heavy patients
  • A dangerous occurrence is one of a number of specific, reportable adverse events, as defined by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR)
  • A work-related illness is any condition caused or made worse by, the workplace.  These can be both physical and mental illnesses

How do I report an accident at work?

Step 1: Check that there is no immediate risk of danger:

If there is a risk of further damage or injury, do not put yourself or others in danger.  If you are able to remove the source of danger, then carefully do so to manage the risk e.g. you may be able to safely turn off equipment or vehicles that have the potential to cause harm / further damage or injury.

Step 2: Ensure that the injured person receives the appropriate medical assistance:

Your workplace First Aid Policy and Procedure should be followed in this instance.  Ensure that the designated first aider has assessed the situation and determined whether the situation is serious enough to call the emergency services.

Step 3: Report to a Manager or Supervisor:

It is the employer’s responsibility to report under RIDOOR if necessary.

Step 4: Record the incident in the company’s logbook:

Recording the incident is necessary as it allows companies to identify what types of incidents are common occurrences.  An assessment should be carried out to determine what can be done to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Step 5: Report the incident under RIDDOR if necessary:

Reports must be received within 10 days of the incident, or 15 days if the incident resulted in more than 7 days’ absence from work.  In the case of occupational illnesses and diseases, the report should be submitted as soon as a diagnosis is received.

The HSE have specific guidance on how to make a report here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/report.htm

Step 6: Carry out an investigation:

An investigation into the accident should be carried out as soon as possible.  Ideally, this should be completed by an impartial employee who knows the workplace procedures and the health and safety legislation, or a health and safety consultancy who can determine how the accident happened and whether it was preventable.  If the incident was avoidable then your investigation should conclude with a suggestion of measures to be put in place to avoid future accidents.

What must I report under RIDDOR?

– Fatal injuries

– Specific non-fatal injuries e.g. fractures other than to fingers, thumbs and toes, amputations, loss/reduction of sight, crush injury to the head or torso, serious burns, scalping, asphyxia/loss of consciousness caused by head injury etc.

– Occupational diseases e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, occupational dermatitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome, occupational asthma, tendonitis or tenosynovitis, occupational cancer, exposure to a biological agent etc.

– Dangerous occurrences (often referred to as near misses)

– Incidents that result in more than 7 days’ absence from work

– Incidents involving gases

– Incidents involving members of the public being injured and taken to hospital

What should an accident, incident, near miss or work-related illness report and investigation cover?

Safe Track Associates Limited ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out into any accident, incident, near miss or work-related illness that our Clients report to us to investigate.  Our reports follow the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) HSG 245 ‘Investigating accidents and incidents: A workbook for employers’ guidance.  These cover a brief introduction to the accident, incident, near miss or work-related illness, an overview of legislation relevant to the accident, incident, near miss or work-related illness, an initial review, an overview of the documentation received from the Client (e.g. witness statements, communication to staff, policies, procedures, etc.), the decision to investigate, incident information, analysis of incident information, identifying suitable risk control measures, an action plan, and case studies of accidents, incidents, near misses or work-related illnesses of a similar nature.

Take a look at our case studies

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