Reporting An Accident At Work: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Richie Billing. Last Updated 8th December 2023. If you’re looking for help and guidance on reporting an accident at work, this article can help. 

Below, we offer a step-by-step guide on what you can do to ensure the incident is logged in the accident book, and explain why it’s important to report accidents and near misses.

If you would like advice if you’ve been injured in an accident at work, we offer a free service via live chat and phone that you can access using the details below:

Reporting accident in the workplace

How to report an accident in the workplace

Choose A Section

1. Make Sure The Area Is Safe And Secure

One of the first steps to take if you’ve come across someone who’s had an accident at work is to make sure the area is safe and secure. For example, they may have suffered an electric shock, which means there could be a risk of you suffering a shock too.

Likewise, a dangerous machine might be running out of control, and getting close to offer help may pose a hazard to you too.

If you can, try to neutralise any threats, like turning off machinery or shutting of electricity so that you can safely give attention to the injured person.

If you’ve suffered an injury and are aware of dangers that may remain to those trying to help you, if you’re able you can try to communicate the risks so that they can better help you.

2. Medical Attention

Once the environment is safe, it’s important to make sure the injured person gets the medical treatment they need. Workplaces should have a trained first aider on site who should be able to administer basic aid.

If the injury is more severe, calling for an ambulance may be necessary. Or if possible, safely transporting the injured person to an Accident and Emergency room. For example, a cut to the arm may not require an ambulance if the bleeding can be stemmed.

3. Report The Accident To A Supervisor Or Manager

As soon as you’re able, the accident should be reported to a manager or supervisor. As a senior member of staff, they’re responsible for ensuring the safety of those under their supervision so they should be informed of an incident right away.

A responsible manager ought to help with the situation.

4. Record What Happened In The Accident Book

The next step is to report the accident at work in the report book. By law, all employers are required to have an accident book in which incidents and near misses can be logged.

As the injured person, it’s important to record the details of the accident with as much accuracy as possible. Try to explain the cause and how events transpired in a clear and chronological format.

If anyone witnessed the accident, you should name them here, and do not sign the document unless you are completely satisfied that it is a true and accurate reflection of what happened.

5. Investigations

Once the accident has been logged, your employer should conduct an investigation into what happened.

This may involve carrying out risk assessments to identify any potential hazards or causes of the accident. This is a legal duty under the Health and Safety At Work etc. Act 1974.

The main aim of investigations is prevention and identifying steps to take to ensure that an accident doesn’t happen again.

Even if you’re a self employed person who was contracted to work at the premises of a company, they should still conduct investigations into what happened

What Is The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR)?

RIDDOR, as we mentioned, stands for The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. It gives employers a duty to report specific types of workplace injuries, dangerous occurrences (near misses), and occupational diseases.

If you’re wondering why it is important to report incidents and injuries that occur in the workplace to RIDDOR, this is so that the Health and Safety Executive could monitor incidents and employers that it may need to investigate. This is the purpose of health and safety legislation: to keep people safe at work and to prevent major injuries. 

Who Should Report Accidents Under RIDDOR?

Responsible persons that should make reports under RIDDOR include:

  • An employer
  • Someone in control of the premises
  • An injured person
  • An employee
  • A representative of an injured person
  • A gas engineer/supplier

Reportable incidents include:

  • If the accident happened because of a gas incident
  • Injuries and deaths in workplace accidents
  • Occupational diseases
  • Biological agents, carcinogens and mutagens
  • Specified injuries to workers

A full guide by the HSE on reporting an accident at work can be found here.

What Injuries Have To Be Reported To The Health And Safety Executive Under RIDDOR?

We mentioned the types of incidents that should be reported to RIDDOR in the section above. When it comes to injuries that could be reported to RIDDOR, these potentially include:

  • The death of a person
  • Amputations
  • Serious burns (including scalds) covering over 10% of the body or that cause damage to organs, eyes, or respiratory symptoms
  • Fractures, not including those to toes, thumbs and fingers
  • Injuries leading to reduction of or loss of sight (permanent)
  • Crush injuries to the torso or head leading to brain or internal organ damage
  • Scalping that requires treatment at the hospital
  • Loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or head injury
  • Injuries caused by working in confined/enclosed space if they lead to hypothermia or heat-related illnesses, or require hospitalisation over 24 hours or resuscitation

Why Is It Important To Report Accidents And Near Misses?

Reporting accidents and near misses is vital to ensuring the safety of workers. Regardless of the work environment, hazards to health can and do arise.

For example, offices may become cluttered, creating the risk of people falling over boxes or trailing leads.

In a factory, if machinery and production lines aren’t well maintained they can develop defects that can inflict injuries.

On the likes of construction sites, if proper training isn’t given to workers, serious injuries could arise from falls from heights or a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Without incidents such as these being logged, the issues may go ignored, leading to the risk of someone suffering a serious injury.

So the most important reason to report accidents and near misses is to prevent future accidents at work and to keep workers safe.

How Long Do I Have To Report An Accident At Work?

While there are no time limits to report an accident at work, it’s good practice to do so as soon as possible after the incident.

Reporting an accident in the workplace to the Health And Safety Executive is an employer’s responsibility. However, only certain injuries need to be reported under RIDDOR.

According to the HSE, reports regarding these injuries must be made to the relevant enforcing authorities must be made as soon as possible by the quickest practicable means with a written notification within 10 days. However, any injuries that last over 7 days require a written notification be sent within 15 days.

If your work injury is not included in the aforementioned list of injuries, but lasts over three days, a record must be kept of it but your employer is not required to report the work accident and injury to the authorities.

If you are contemplating reporting accidents at work or unsafe workplace practices directly to the HSE – you could do this as soon as you are able to. You do not have a time limit to report unsafe work practices, but doing it sooner can give them a better chance to possibly investigate the issues, or take meaningful actions to address the issues.

For information on how to do this, or more information about making a claim, please reach out to one of our team.

What Happens If I Do Not Report An Accident?

As we have previously stated within this guide, certain accidents and dangerous incidents that have occurred in the workplace must be reported in accordance with RIDDOR. However, not every workplace incident needs to be reported. This means that you could still make a claim for compensation without reporting an accident that you were injured in.

You will need to provide sufficient evidence about the incident to help support your claim. This includes evidence about your injury and that the accident was caused by your employer’s negligence. We have provided some examples of the evidence that could help support your claim in a previous section.

However, if you or your employer were to report your accident, this report could be used as evidence in your claim as it will provide crucial details on the date and nature of the incident, and what injury you sustained.

Do not hesitate to contact our advisors today if you have any questions about claiming compensation for injuries in the workplace.

Learn More About Reporting Accidents

We also have a bunch more guides on accidents at work too:

To learn more about reporting an accident at work, please get in touch.