When do I need to report an accident to the HSE?

Peninsula Team

February 10 2012

How major does the accident have to be?”

Recording and reporting work related accidents are a legal requirement. Reports made under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) provides the authorities with information about deaths, injuries, occupational ill-health and dangerous incidents so that they can identify where and how risks arise and whether they need to be investigated. The information also allows the authorities to target their activities and provide advice about avoiding common hazards. 

Deaths and injuries to people at work only have to be reported if they are the result of an accident which arises out of or in connection with work. In deciding whether the accident arose out of or in connection with work the key issues to consider are whether the incident was because of 

• The way the work was carried out;
• Machinery plant substances or equipment used for work; and
• The condition of the site or premises where the accident happened.

If any of these factors are connected to the cause of an accident it will need to be reported to the enforcing authority. Where none of these factors apply the incident is not likely to be reportable.

Fatalities must be reported when they are the result of; 

• An occupational injury to worker
• A work related accident to any person
• A suicide on a railway or tram system
• An act of physical violence to a worker. 

Injuries to workers
Other reportable injuries to workers currently fall into one of two categories major injuries and over 3 day injuries (from 6 April the over 3 day threshold will increase to over 7 days).

Major injuries are defined in the RIDDOR regulations and include;

• Fractures (but not to fingers, thumbs and toes)
• Amputation
• Dislocation of the hip, shoulder, knee or spine
• Loss of sight
• Chemical or hot metal burn or penetrating injury to the eye
• Electric shock or burn leading to unconsciousness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
• Injuries leading to hypothermia, heat induced illness, unconsciousness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
• Unconsciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent
• Acute illness requiring medical treatment
• Loss of consciousness from absorption of any substance by inhalation, ingestion or through the skin
• Acute illness requiring medical attention due to exposure to a biological agent, its toxins or infected material.

Over 3 day injuries must be reported when an accident at work results in an employee being unable to carry out their normal work for more than 3 days (not including the day of the accident but including weekends and rest days). Usually the injured person will be off work for this qualifying period but being absent from work is not a criteria for reportability. If the injured person returns to work before 3 days have elapsed but perform alternative light work, because they can’t do the work they normally carry out, the accident is reportable. The same rules will apply to over 7 days injuries from the beginning of April.

It is important to be aware that when the more than 7 day criteria replaces the more than 3 day category in April the existing requirement to keep records of all accident at work under Social Security legislation will remain in place. Existing accident books can continue to be used for this purpose.

Injuries to people not at work
Injuries to members of the public or any other person not at work are reportable if the injury is caused by or happens as a result of a work activity and they are taken to hospital for treatment.

RIDDOR also requires that certain specified dangerous occurrences that do not result in a personal injury and specified cases of occupational disease or ill-health are reported to the authorities.

Further information on these requirements, including the procedures and arrangements for reporting them, are available to Peninsula’s health and safety clients as part of their health and safety systems. The Health and Safety Advisers on our 24 Hour Advice Line are also available to them and will advise on individual cases of concern or doubt, please call them on 0844 892 2772..

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