Accident Reporting

10 November 2022

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees safety whilst at work. However, accidents happen from time-to-time.

When they do, it's on you to ensure serious accidents are recorded correctly. However, it's good practice to record any accidents that may take place in your company. Failure to get it right could lead to future legal trouble and claims being raised against you.

In this guide, we'll discuss why it's important to record accidents correctly, how to do so, and what you need to record.

What is accident reporting?

Accident reporting is an employer’s legal obligation following an accident taking place at work. Especially if they result in an injury or fatality They provide written evidence of the causes and consequences of the accident taking place.

As an employer, you should be aware of the importance of reporting any accidents that happen in your company.

Why is it important you report accidents?

It's important you get your accident and incident reporting correct as it's one of your legal obligations that you must adhere to. Failing to comply with your accident reporting obligations exposes your business to the risk of health and safety prosecutions.

It helps ensure you stick to legislation such as RIDDOR - the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. It also helps identify and confirm the causes of an accident to make sure it doesn't happen again.

What is the law on reporting workplace accidents?

As an employer, you have a legal duty to follow health and safety legislation in Ireland. As per health and safety laws, you have a responsibility to provide your employees with a safe place to work at all times.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work ( Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2016 - certain accidents need to be reported to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA).

The HSA are responsible for enforcing workplace health and safety and ensuring employees are protected from injury. Breaching these regulations can lead to claims being raised to the Workplace Relations Commission.

What do employers need to report?

It's important you understand what you need to report when it comes to accidents at work.

Workplace accidents

The following accidents must be reported:

  • They happen in the course of employment and result in personal injury to the person carrying out the work activity to the person carrying out the work activity.
  • They happen in the course of employment and result in personal injury to an employee who was not doing the work that is the subject of the accident. 
  • They arise from a work activity that results in personal injury to a person outside of the course of employment. For example, a third party is injured visiting the workplace. 

Dangerous occurrences

A dangerous occurrence is an event that can lead to a workplace injury and ill health. For example:

  • The collapse or overturning of any load-bearing part of any lift, lifting equipment or machinery more than seven metres high.
  • The overturning of any vehicle or mobile work equipment.
  • The explosion, collapse or bursting of any closed vessel. Such as a boiler or boiler tube.
  • The explosion of any plant or place of work.
  • A fire that happens in any plant or place of work that leads to the suspension of normal work for more than 24 hours.

There is a list of prescribed dangerous occurrences that must be reported. You should familiarise yourself with the dangerous occurrences that impact the type of business you run and the industry you operate in.

A man with his head in his hands.

How to report a workplace accident

The best way to record details of a workplace accident is to use an accident report book. The use of an accident book should make up a vital part of your health and safety management system.

The book will act as vital written evidence if required, and helps ensure you're meeting all your legal obligations when it comes to employee safety.

Fatal accidents in a workplace should be reported immediately to the Health and Safety Authority.

Following the initial report and within five working days of the death, the formal report should be made in the approved form. This applies to any work-related death, including one that takes place within a year of a previously reportable accident.

A non-fatal accident or dangerous occurrence should be formally reported within 10 working days of the event.

Injuries should be reported using the online reporting system on the Health and Safety Authority’s website (

What needs to be noted in an accident book

As an employer, it's important you know what to include in your workplace accident book.

This includes:

  • Details of the injured person: name and contact information.
  • Accident details: the date and time, location, details of any witnesses.
  • Details of the injured: the cause and nature.
  • Any CCTV footage or photos of the accident itself.

It's important you keep the details surrounding the accident private for all parties involved.

Do you need to report a workplace accident to the Health and Safety Authority?

Yes, certain workplace accidents must be reported. Accidents that lead to injuries where the employee cannot carry out normal work duties for three consecutive days must be reported. This excludes the day of the accident.

If there is a fatal accident, the HSA or Garda must be notified immediately. A written report must be submitted to the Authority within five days of the death.

It's good practice to keep any records of accidents for ten years after the incident has taken place.

What doesn't need to be reported to the HSA?

Not all accidents at work need to be reported to the HSA. Failure to report the correct events can lead to future legal action, so you must become familiar with what's required.

The following don't need to be reported:

  • Occupational illnesses or diseases.
  • Impairments of mental condition.

It's important to know the time frames in which workplace accidents should be reported. Leaving it too long could be a breach of legislation. And could cause legal trouble in the future.

How long do you have to report an accident or workplace injury?

Any non-fatal accidents or dangerous occurrences should be reported in a formal report, within ten working days of the event taking place.

This is also the case when treatment is required at a hospital or medical facility for non-fatal injuries.

Who is responsible for reporting an accident at work?

Any accidents that occur in your company should be reported by a responsible person.

This employee should be the person named on your safety statement. And is typically the person who carries out your risk assessments.

Can an employee make a claim for personal injuries following an accident at work?

Yes, if the employee feels the accident was the fault of the employer they may choose to make a personal injury claim.

In Ireland, this is done via the Personal Injuries Assessment Board. It's important to remember that if you reject their claim, the board may grant permission to raise a claim through the civil courts.

Do employees receive sick pay following an employee accident?

Yes, employees can receive some benefits if they are off work because of an accident. If this is the case in your business it should be outlined in their employment contract.

If there isn't a scheme included, the employee in question can claim for injury benefit. The Occupational Injuries Scheme are benefits that employees can claim after an accident.

Illness benefits can also be claimed if someone is unfit to work due to an accident or if they were injured whilst travelling to work.

Can you dismiss an employee who is on long-term sick leave?

No, a lot of the time it's against employment law to dismiss an employee who is on long-term sick leave. If this happens, they may raise a claim of unfair dismissal against you.

However, following a fair and reasonable medical capability process - you may be left with no choice but to end their employment.

Get expert advice on accident reporting from Peninsula

As an employer, you have a duty of care to your employees safety whilst they’re at work. However, sometimes accidents may occur in your company.

When this happens, it's on you to ensure serious accidents are recorded correctly, and reported to the HAS if injuries or fatalities arise. Failure to get it right could lead to future legal trouble and claims being raised against you.

Peninsula offers 24/7 health & safety advice which is available 365 days a year. Want to find out more? Contact us on 1 800 079 222 and book a free consultation with one of our HR consultants.

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