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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  1. 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?

    • 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.

    • Completing an accident report form after an accident is extremely helpful when it comes to making a claim for personal injury compensation. In order for any claimant to succeed with a claim for personal injury compensation, they need to be able to provide supporting evidence that proves that an accident was not their fault, that it happened where they claim it happened and that they were injured in the way that they claim to be.

      With this in mind, having an accident book or accident report form in place provides an initial piece of evidence to support the above requirements. Without an accident book entry or accident report form, it becomes harder for a claimant to provide important evidence to support their claim for personal injury compensation and much easier for a defendant to defend any claim for the same reason.

      You can read more about this by viewing our supporting article covering the subject of having the right evidence to support your claim for personal injury compensation.

  2. why it is important for an organisation to consider the number and types of accident that have occurred at workplace

    • UK law places a statutory obligation on all employers to take every reasonable step to minimise the risk of injury within the workplace so far as is practically possible.

      With this in mind, employers must review all accidents at work, particularly those which lead to injuries, to make sure that the risk of the accident happening again is reduced or eliminated. This is why it is important for employers to collate information about accidents at work so that they can identify areas of risk or where new additional training could help protect workers from being injured at work.

  3. Can you see if I can claim from an accident from when I was younger. I have a big scar across my neck from where the seatbelt cut my neck during the accident. If you could, get back to me that would be great.
    Many thanks
    Mr Pandor

    • Whether or not you can make a claim for the injuries you sustained in an accident when you were younger will depend on your age now and how long ago the accident was.

      The law allows a strict 3-year claim limitation period from the date of an accident in which they can make a claim for compensation. For children (persons under the age of 18 years when they are injured) they are allowed a longer claim period which does not expire until their 21st birthday.

      Therefore, if your accident happened over 3 years ago and you are over 21 years of age, you will not be able to make a claim. Also, if you have successfully claimed previously you would not be able to seek to reopen this claim.

      If you would like to speak further about this, please call us on 01225430285.

  4. 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?

    • 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.

  5. I was injured by a student in my school, a Junior Secondary School in Botswana, I m a teacher . The student ( boy ) hit me with fire wood at the back of my head , and i unconsciously feel on fire, what advise would you give me

    • Amos

      Your situation sounds awful. To be injured in such a way when you are simply trying to perform your duties as a teacher is very upsetting. I do hope that you make a good recovery and quickly.

      Unfortunately, as you were injured in Botswana, we cannot really offer any useful advice or support as we do not know the legal system of Botswana sufficiently to be able to guide you. I would suggest that you speak with a local lawyer to discuss your options. You could also speak to a member of your local government or a citizens advice bureau (if there is one in Botswana) to find out what options you have. There could be a scheme for compensating the victims of criminal injuries/assaults such as your situation. In the UK, we have a Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme that is a Government funded body to be used by people in the same situation as yourself.

      I hope that this information is of use to you.

      Yours sincerely

      Ian Morris

  6. What is the importance of an accident report? and Give a detailed overview of an accident report by giving all the required information?

    • Reporting an accident is very important, especially when it comes to pursuing a claim for personal injury compensation after an accident. The reason for this is that when a claim for compensation is being pursued by a specialist injury compensation solicitor, they can request a copy of an accident report and when they have this, they can categorically prove that an accident has happened, what the persons injuries are and how the accident happened – this proves that someone has been injured and can help to prove that the negligence rests with the party defending the claim.

      Accidents can be recorded and reported in various ways, such as in an accident book, incident report form, by email or in writing to the business or location where the accident took place. It is important to record the details of an accident in full, giving a full explanation of what happened, why it happened, what the injuries are and list the details of witnesses or anyone present.

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