Accidents at work can have serious consequences, both for the individual who has been injured and for the company they work for. Therefore, it’s important to report all workplace accidents, no matter how minor they may seem as it enables companies to identify and address potential hazards, as well as to fulfil their legal obligations to their employees in regard to health and safety.
This guide will explain the main reasons why it’s important to report accidents at work, and how you can do so.
What Types Of Accidents At Work Should Be Reported?
In the UK, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to report certain types of accidents, incidents, and diseases to the relevant authorities. This includes
- Accidents that result in death.
- Serious injuries.
- Injuries that result in incapacitation for more than seven days.
- Certain near-miss accidents.
- Injury to an individual who’s not at work (e.g a visitor) but was caused by a work accident and resulted in a visit to the hospital for treatment.
To help prevent similar incidents from happening in the future, it’s important (and a legal duty) that these types of workplace accidents and injuries in particular are reported.
If you’ve been hurt in an incident at work, you may like to read our guide to work accident claims if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Why It’s Important To Report Accidents At Work
There are several reasons why it’s important to report accidents at work. These include:
- Meeting legal requirements. As mentioned in the previous section, employers have a legal duty to report certain types of accidents, incidents, and work-related diseases. Failing to do so can result in legal action being taken against the company.
- Preventing further accidents and injuries. By reporting work accidents and incidents, employers can identify the cause of what happened and then take any required steps to stop it from happening again. This is particularly important in cases where the accident was caused by a workplace hazard such as faulty machinery or damaged shelving that would likely injure other employees.
- Improving workplace safety. By reporting an accident at work and assessing the cause, businesses can implement measures to further improve health and safety in the workplace. This might include carrying out regular risk assessments, training employees on how to use equipment safely, or updating their current policies and procedures to address any identified hazards. For example, if an employee slips and falls at work because the floor was wet, the company may have to put up warning signs or cordon off the area or additional measures to ensure that the floor is kept dry in the future.
- Protecting employee rights. If an employee is injured as a result of a workplace accident, they may be eligible to claim compensation. By reporting the accident, the employer can ensure that the employee’s rights are protected and that they receive the help they may need.
- Protecting the company. Accidents at work can be costly for companies. This could be due to compensation being paid to the injured employee that leads to an increased cost of their employer’s liability insurance for example, and costly for the company due to lost productivity. By reporting workplace accidents and taking steps to prevent them from occurring, companies can protect themselves from these additional costs.
In addition to the above points, companies that have a good health and safety record are more likely to attract and retain employees, as employees will feel more confident in the safety of the workplace.
How To Report Accidents At Work
If you have been involved in a workplace accident, or if you’ve witnessed one, you should report it as soon as possible. In the UK, you should follow the steps below:
- Get medical attention. If the accident has resulted in injury, it is important to seek medical treatment as a priority. According to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, employers are required to have the necessary equipment, facilities, and trained personnel available to provide immediate medical attention to employees who are injured or fall ill while at work.
- Notify your supervisor/manager. Your supervisor or manager should be informed of the accident as soon as possible so that they can take any necessary steps to report it and investigate the cause.
- Record the details of the accident. It’s important to record the details of what happened, including the date the accident happened, its location, and any witness’s details. You should also describe the circumstances surrounding the accident and the injuries you and/or anybody else suffered.
- Complete an accident report. Most businesses will have an accident book (or equivalent), that should be completed and submitted as soon as possible after the accident. This will help to ensure that all necessary information is recorded and that the accident can be properly investigated. Also, if you were the employee that was injured, ask for a copy for your own records.
It’s important to note that if you were the employee injured at work, any of the above points could be used as evidence if you intend to sue your employer for your injuries.
Get Advice From A Personal Injury Solicitor
If your workplace accident was caused by your employer’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. It’s important to seek legal advice before pursuing a compensation claim or relinquishing your right to do so. A personal injury solicitor with expertise in this area of law can provide you with expert guidance on your rights after an accident at work and the proper procedures to follow in order to maximise your compensation.
Please use our live chat feature if you have any questions on why it’s important to report an accident at work, or call us on 0800 6524 881 if you’d like to discuss the procedure or a possible compensation claim with a personal injury solicitor.