Reporting Health & Safety Issues in the Workplace

01 December 2020

As an employer, you have a duty of care towards your employee’s health and safety. This extends to reporting health & safety issues in the workplace.

If you leave these unattended, you may have them reported by your employees, which can cause issue with HSE. Even worse, an employee could have an accident leaving you liable to financial consequences.

This includes creating detailed risk assessments to help prevent accidents and keeping a report of any accidents that occur.

What is a health & safety report?

It is a report detailing the measures and procedures a company takes to maintain health & safety standards. There are several different health & safety reports required by UK law.

Some are used to ensure businesses in dangerous industries are taking necessary precautions. Whereas other data is collected by enforcing authorities to produce statistics on workplace injury trends.

Here are the main formats used in health & safety reporting.


The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) law requires employers to report and keep a record of accidents that occur in the workplace.

These records should include:

  • Work-related accidents which cause death or reportable injuries.
  • Cases of certain reportable work-related illness.
  • Certain ‘dangerous occurrences’ that could result in injury or death.

Read our guide on RIDDOR reporting  to learn more about the different incidents you are required to keep a record of.


Safety reports are required by The Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulations 2015 for businesses that manufacture, store or use dangerous substances in amounts above a certain quantity.

Health and safety law requires you to prepare a major accident policy (MAPP) and a separate safety report, if they class your business  as an upper tier operator under COMAH15.

The safety report should detail the correct procedures for handling dangerous substances in a way that limits consequences if an accident occurs.

This report needs to be kept up to date if there are any changes to the workplace or the way people work. You must also review it every five years.

Businesses that are classed as lower tier operators only need to create the MAPP.


The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) aims to protect workers from injury while operating equipment.

You must inspect any equipment that poses a risk to safety and conduct maintenance where needed.

There is no requirement to keep a record of maintenance, but they advise it  for high-risk equipment.

How and when to report health and safety risks

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) outlines strict health & safety reporting procedures. These procedures include guidelines on timescales for reporting an injury and the information that should be included.

So how and when should you report health and safety risks?

When to report to health & safety executive

You must make a report to HSE for incidents including:

  • Accidents resulting in death.
  • Accidents resulting in ‘specified injury’ to workers.
  • Accidents requiring hospital treatment to non-workers.
  • Dangerous occurrences, such as the failure of lifting equipment.

A ‘specified injury’ can include:

  • Fractures, other than fingers, thumbs or toes.
  • An accident likely to result in permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight.
  • Any burns or scalding injury.
  • Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.
  • Any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment.
  • Any injury arising from working in an enclosed space.

You must make a report within 10 days of the incident. If a worker can’t work for a week or more, they extend the deadline to 15 days.

A report should only be made by ‘responsible persons’. This can be an employer, the self-employed or a person in control of work premises, such as a site manager.

How to report accidents to HSE

Reporting health & safety issues in the UK is fairly straightforward, if you follow safety procedures before an accident occurs.

Incidents resulting in death or a ‘specified injury’ can be reported on the phone. All other accidents can be reported with the forms on the HSE website.

There is a lot to keep in mind when managing health & safety and getting it wrong can be disastrous for small businesses.

Failure to report an accident carries fines of up to £20,000 in the Magistrates’ Court. Or unlimited fines if taken to Crown Court. You also risk up to two years imprisonment.

With Peninsula’s health & safety support, you get access to our 24-hour advice line staffed by trained health & safety experts who can guide you through the reporting process. Call today 0800 028 2420

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