The importance of reporting an accident in the workplace

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Accidents in the workplace can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. The first thing to do is notify your employer of the accident. Do not feel that reporting the accident would hurt your company – your employer is responsible for your safety and legally bound to be so. Immediately reporting the accident to your employer will also help them curtail such accidents in future by adopting proper safety precautions.

If the employer is not convinced with your explanation you could ask witnesses to verify your story with your employer. The witnesses in this case would most probably be your fellow employees and colleagues. It is highly important for employers to take heed of the events imparted by the employees in case of an accident at work. Remember you have legal rights to protect you in such situations.

The employer is legally bound to report about any accidents in the workplace to the Incident Contact Centre of the HSE, depending on the type of accident. As your employer is responsible for reporting to the HSE, you should always check to see whether this has been done.

It is usual practice for businesses to hold an accident book. It is vital to ensure that any accidents, their cause and the subsequent injury symptoms are recorded. When verified against medical records, it provides important proof that an accident has happened. Where possible, you should sign the accident book entry (once you are certain that it is recorded accurately) and obtain a copy of the report.

Accident book entries provide a solid piece of evidence in making a claim for compensation, but it is also possible to make a claim if there is no record of the accident.

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Comments & Questions

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What is the importance of keeping records on incidents at the work place?

Ian Morris

Having a record of any incident or injury within the workplace is vitally important. Even if an incident or injury initially seems minor, a record should be made. By having a record of an incident or injury, an individuals rights can be upheld with more ease should a claim or any legal action be taken as the record will provide useful supporting evidence and helpful information for a Solicitor or claimant.


Hi Ian, my husband is a lorry driver and whilst sat on a wall at the entrance to a company he was delivering to rolling a cigarette (opposite the security office) his leg was caught by a lorry coming in to the yard and he was dragged along the wall until his leg was freed and the bumper of the wagon continued to carve a groove in the concrete wall before then parking up. The H&S rep of the company took a statement from my husband, separately an accident book record was completed which my husband signed but did not date. He contacted a solicitor, but the company he was delivering to have now produced a copy of the accident record book report which at the very end (ie was added later) says my husband said ‘it was his fault’ and the date at the side of my husbands signature is dated a week after the accident took place, my husband has not been back to the company to date this report!! He was not given a copy of the report at the time of the accident. There is no mention in the H&S rep report that he said this, the owner of the company was in the security office and at no point did he ask my husband to move to the designated smoking area and i have since been to the company and taken photographic evidence of their own staff smoking around the entrance to the company. We are told that the burden of proof is on my husband to prove that the last statement was added to the report as an afterthought to cover their own back (but at what sort of cost for a handwriting expert?). I am told the fact they re-visited the report and dated it a week later is irrelevant and that they are not obliged to provide him with a copy at the time of the accident, is this correct? Is this worth pursuing or have they stitched him up good and proper?

Ian Morris

Has the Solicitor acting for your Husband pointed out the alleged accident book fraud to the defendants in this matter?

If he does not have a Solicitor acting, your Husband should not just ‘give up’ on the claim and we would be happy to see if we can place this with a member of our specialist Solicitor network.


Hi I would like to know more about the importance of reporting accidents for companies. This is a legal requirement (RIDDOR) which stakeholder mostly benefits from this, and is there any other way the business benefits from following it apart from avoiding prosecutions?

Ian Morris

Business benefits from employing best practice with regards to all aspects of their actions. In the case of an accident at work, an employer will benefit if they make sure that every required step is taken with regards to reporting the details of an accident to the relevant parties.
If an accident is sufficiently serious to require a RIDDOR report, the business should do so in order to protect their own rights but also to ensure that they adequately protect the rights of their injured employee. A business is likely to learn important lessons from the feedback of a RIDDOR report and this will help them reduce the risk of a repeat of such an accident happening again. This in turn will see the lowering of insurance costs in due course and provide employees with the peace of mind that their employer takes their safety seriously and is therefore a good employer to work with.

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