What Do You Do If There Is An Accident At Work?
We are frequently asked: “What do you do if there is an accident at work?” In this article, we look at the action that needs to be taken.
The first response is to ensure that the injured person is attended to quickly. Your employees should all be informed via a company induction of how and where to seek help in the event of an accident.
A first aider or appointed person should assess the injury and treat as appropriate. All accidents at work, no matter how minor, should be recorded in the company accident book. What happens next depends upon how serious the injury is.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 puts duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises (the Responsible Person) to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences (near misses).
Accidents reportable under RIDDOR
- All fatalities
- Specified injuries to workers
- Accidents resulting in over seven-day incapacitation of a worker
- Non-fatal accidents to members of the public where they are taken to hospital for treatment.
What is a specified injury?
A specified injury is a serious injury, for instance, a bone fracture or amputation, however, not a fatality. Regulation 4 of RIDDOR gives the full list. Click on the link below to view the list on the HSE website.
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How do you report a RIDDOR accident?
You can report RIDDOR accidents on the HSE website. You can also report fatalities by telephone but the line is not open 24 hours, so online is the easiest way. According to Schedule 1 of the regulations, you must notify the HSE of RIDDOR accidents without delay, but you have ten days to file a report.
In reality, in order to notify the HSE online, you must complete the report form anyway, so it is best to do this as soon as possible after the accident rather than wait 10 days.
What happens next?
The HSE may or may not decide to investigate the incident. Unless the incident involved a fatality or life-changing injury this is unlikely. You should always carry out your own in-house investigation. Firstly you should identify the immediate and underlying causes of the accident. Then put in place control measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
What you need to do if it wasn't a RIDDOR accident?
For minor accidents, once the accident book is completed then an investigation should be carried out. The requirement for an accident is not explicitly stated in law but it is implied. A key part of preventing more serious accidents is to reduce the number of minor injuries. This can only be achieved if you understand why accidents happen in the first place. Do not forget that your conclusions and any remedial measures should be communicated to your employees.