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Workplace safety should be a priority for both employees and employers. Despite the best preventive measures, accidents can and do happen. Reporting these incidents correctly is not only a legal requirement but a vital step in preventing future accidents.

In the UK, employers are obliged to ensure the health and safety of their workers under various regulations. The key authority overseeing workplace health and safety is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In addition to this, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) outlines the types of work-related incidents that must be reported and how to go about it.

In the following guide, we explain how to report an accident at work, why it is essential to do so and what actions you may be able to take if it was not your fault.

Why is it important to report the accident quickly?

Reporting an accident quickly allows for immediate corrective action to be taken to prevent similar accidents from happening to other people. As well as this, it makes sure that employers comply with their legal requirements, protecting both them and their employees from any further potential legal repercussions.

Who should report the accident?

Generally, it is the responsibility of the employer to report workplace accidents, especially if they fall under RIDDOR. However, as an employee, you should notify your supervisor or manager of the incident and make sure it is logged in your workplace's accident logbook. In some severe cases, such as major injuries or fatalities, the HSE may need to be notified. The HR department should be able to advise you on this, as can a professional work-related accidents solicitor.

Steps for Reporting an Accident at Work

Understanding the correct reporting procedure is vital for both employees and employers to make sure they are prepared and can react in the event of an accident. For employees, this may involve the following steps:

  • Initial immediate steps: before anything else, ensure that first aid is administered and that the situation is made safe to prevent further injuries. Once immediate concerns are addressed, inform your supervisor or manager about the incident as soon as possible.
  • Filling out the accident report form: most workplaces have an accident report form, usually kept in a location accessible to all employees. The form should include details such as the date, time and location of the accident, the nature and description of the injuries sustained, the circumstances of the accident, names of witnesses, and details of any immediate action taken.
  • Supporting evidence: the more evidence you can provide, the more comprehensive the accident report will be. This can include photographic evidence of the scene or injuries, witness statements or CCTV footage, if it is available.
  • External reporting: external reporting to the HSE is generally the employer's responsibility, but being aware of this step can ensure compliance is met.

Common pitfalls to avoid

Reporting an accident at work can be deceptively complex, and there are several mistakes that both employees and employers should be aware of. These can have a bearing on the validity of the report and may even influence any subsequent legal proceedings. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  • Not reporting minor incidents: many people make the mistake of ignoring minor incidents or 'near misses', thinking they are inconsequential. However, these incidents can offer valuable insights into potential risks and hazards in the workplace. Failing to report them could result in more serious incidents occurring in the future. Make sure to report incidents, even if they are small.
  • Delaying submission: time is of the essence when it comes to reporting accidents. Delaying the submission of an accident report can result in the loss of vital evidence, make witness accounts less reliable and lead to legal implications concerning compliance with reporting timelines. The quicker an accident is reported, the more accurate and reliable the report is likely to be.
  • Incomplete or inaccurate information: submitting an accident report that lacks key details can be as problematic as not reporting the incident at all. Always make sure that all relevant information - including the nature of the accident, injuries sustained and any witnesses - is included in the report. Double-check for accuracy to avoid potential complications down the line and once satisfied that the report is accurate, sign the report and retain a copy for your own records.
  • Neglecting to gather evidence: in the immediate aftermath of an accident, gathering evidence might be the last thing on your mind. However, failing to collect photographic evidence, CCTV footage or witness statements can weaken your report and any subsequent personal injury claims.
  • Failure to follow company procedure: organisations have distinct procedures for reporting accidents. It is essential that you follow the specific guidelines set out by your employer. Failing to stick to these internal procedures can not only affect the report's validity but also result in disciplinary action.
  • Ignoring medical advice or evaluation: in the heat of the moment, you may underestimate the severity of your injuries and avoid seeking immediate medical attention. This can later weaken your case when reporting the accident or filing a personal injury claim. A medical evaluation provides an official record that can substantiate your claim, as well as help you to get the support you require.
  • Not seeking legal advice: navigating the complexities of workplace health and safety law can be daunting, especially if you're dealing with injuries. Neglecting to consult a solicitor can lead to missed opportunities for compensation and might even result in a less favourable outcome for any legal proceedings.

How can a solicitor help?

If you have been involved in a workplace accident that has resulted in an injury, you may be considering the prospect of making a personal injury claim. Our specialist team will be able to guide you through the entire process of claiming compensation. At Ramsdens, we specialise in personal injury claims and can assist you in both the reporting process and any subsequent legal actions.

If you have experienced a workplace accident and require professional advice on reporting it or pursuing a personal injury claim, get in touch with us today. We are experts in this field and can guide you through each step, ensuring you achieve the best possible outcome. Simply call us on 01484 821 500, email us at, or fill out an online contact form and we'll be in touch.