Is your business reporting workplace accidents correctly?

Written by Martin Coppard 18 October 2021

Is your business reporting workplace accidents correctly?

Some organisations have faced prosecution under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) for failing to report work-related incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) where legally obliged to do so.  In some cases there’s been a lack of understanding of what is or isn’t reportable, while in other instances the company has been tempted to try and keep off the HSE’s radar.

Deliberately failing to inform the HSE of a reportable incident is unwise. The owner of a Bedfordshire carpentry and joinery business received a fine for not reporting a serious accident involving a trainee employee, who had two fingers amputated while working at the company premises. The HSE became aware of the incident when it was informed by the employee’s family.

Failure to report an incident, whether this be on purpose or accidental, could result in your organisation receiving a large fine and even being taken to court. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to understand what action must be taken and when.

What needs to be reported?

It’s important that you’re aware of what work-related incidents are required to be reported.  As our list below shows, it’s not only fatalities and broken bones – a number of ill-health conditions and dangerous occurrences also fall inside the scope. 

  • Deaths – all deaths of workers and non-workers must be reported if they arise from a work-related accident, including an act of physical violence
  • Specified injuries – including, but not limited to, fractures (other than fingers, toes or thumbs), amputations, crush injuries, serious burns and permanent loss or reduction of sight
  • Over 7-Day injuries to workers – this time period doesn’t include the day of the accident, but does include all weekends and rest days
  • Non-Fatal injuries to non-workers – accidents to members of the public or others who have been taken from the scene straight to hospital
  • Occupational diseases – including, but not limited to, carpal tunnel syndrome, occupational dermatitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome, occupational asthma and occupational cancer
  • Dangerous occurrences – specified ‘near-miss’ events including, but not limited, to collapse of lifting equipment and contact with overhead power-lines
  • Certain gas incidents – distributors, importers and suppliers of flammable gas, and fillers must report incidents in which someone has died, lost consciousness, or been taken to hospital for treatment to the gas related injury

Please note, the above is a brief summary only. For full details of each reportable category see here.

How to report an incident

In most cases, you can also report the incident on the HSE website. However, a telephone service is also available for reporting fatal and specified injuries – the Incident Contact Centre number is 0845 300 9923 (available Mon-Fri, -8.30am to 5.00pm).

If you’re an employer, make sure you also record full details of any workplace accident in the company accident book.

Let us help

If you have any questions about incident reporting or need help interpreting the ‘RIDDOR’ regulations, then get in touch with us at riskmanagement@swib.co.uk.

: Risk Management

Martin Coppard

Martin Coppard

I am a Director of Sutton Winson Consultancy Services Ltd, which delivers a range of risk management solutions. I joined Sutton Winson in January 2000 and have derived a great deal of satisfaction from helping our clients achieve significantly preferable insurance terms, and other financial benefits, by embracing proactive risk management. 

I am a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (CMIOSH), a member of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a Chartered Insurance Risk Manager and hold the FCII (Fellowship of the Chartered Insurance Institute). 

work 01444 251 162

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