Accidents at work
How common are accidents and ill health at work?
Health and Safety Executive Statistics in 2013:
- 1.1 million people who worked during the last year were suffering from an illness (long-standing as well as new cases) they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past work. 0.5 million of these were new conditions which started during the year. (This data refers to 2011/12)
- 148 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.5 fatalities per 100000 workers.
- 782222 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR, a rate of 311.6 per 100000 employees.
- 27 million days were lost overall in 2011/12 due to work-related ill health or injury (17 days per case) 22.7 million due to work-related ill health and 4.3 million due to workplace injury.
(figures from HSE Statistics (external site) )
Why record and report?
Recording and reporting accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) .
RIDDOR places a legal duty on:
- self-employed people
- people in control of premises.
These 'responsible persons' must record and report certain incidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences involving employees, self-employed workers and members of the public.
The information provided through recording and reporting enables the enforcing authorities (either Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority Environmental Health), to identify where and how risks arise, and to investigate serious accidents.
With this information, the enforcing authorities are able to help and provide advice on how to reduce injury, and ill health in the workplace. Such surveillance data can also be used to put forward an evidence-based rationale for the introduction of new legislation and/or guidance.
Near Misses Although not part of the legal duties mentioned above, it is also good practice to record non-reportable 'near-miss' incidents, workplace accidents and occurrences where no-one has actually been hurt or become ill, but where the consequences could have been serious for workers.
In this way, it is possible to learn from such incidents so that workers are protected from harm, using the old adage 'prevention is better than cure'.
What do responsible persons have to do?
Details of all reportable incidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences must be recorded, including:
- the date when the report is made
- the method of reporting
- the date, time and place of the event
- personal details of those involved
- a brief description of the nature of the event or disease.
Records can be kept in any form but must conform to data protection requirements.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Accident Book (BI510) meets these requirements. It is available from Health and
Safety Executive Books and can be ordered online:
> Order HSE's Accident Book BI510 (external site)
It is also good practice to record 'near-miss' incidents.
RIDDOR also requires responsible persons to report certain matters to their enforcing authority.
Follow the links below for further information on reportable matters (links are to external pages on the HSE website):
How to report under RIDDOR
The quickest and easiest way to do this is to call the RIDDOR Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 99 23 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm) and speak to an ICC Operator who will complete a report form over the phone. You will be sent a copy for your records.
Reports can also be made by post.
RIDDOR in relation to peripatetic workers
A reportable injury to a peripatetic worker must be reported by that person's employer, wherever the accident causing the injury happens.
Examples of peripatetic workers are: goods or postal delivery workers, refuse collectors, sales representatives, community health nurses, building workers who travel from site to site, social workers and service engineers.
For example, if a mobile refrigeration engineer is seriously injured while working in a supermarket, the engineer's employer must make the report, not the operator of the supermarket.
The report must be made to the local office of the relevant enforcing authority for the premises where, or in connection with the work at which, the injury occurred.
Where a workplace is shared, co-operation between employers (and self-employed persons) is required. Where there is a reportable accident involving a mobile employee working away from their base, the employer in control of the premises should inform that person's employer about it as soon as possible.
RIDDOR in relation to the self-employed
Where a self-employed worker working in someone else's premises suffers either a major injury or an injury which means they are prevented from working for more than three days, then the person in control of the premises will be responsible for reporting and need to be informed accordingly.
If a self-employed worker is injured while working on own premises, or if there is a dangerous occurrence there, or if a doctor diagnoses that person with a work-related disease or condition, then the self-employed worker needs to report it.
Reports by self-employed workers must be made within 10 days of when the accident occurred in cases of major injury or where a reportable diagnosis has been made by a doctor.
If you are an employee
If you are an employee that has been injured at work, seen a dangerous occurrence, or your doctor has certified that you have a work-related reportable disease, you must inform your employer or the person in control of the premises as it is their responsibility to report the incident.
Further information on Recording and Reporting Accidents, Ill Health and Near Misses