Wright Safety Solutionsestablished 2006

providing Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire medium/small businesses

Dealing with Accidents at Work

One of my main purposes is to help employers avoid accidents at work, avoid the pain and injury that so many employees suffer, and avoid the prosecutions, costs and penalties imposed on employers as a result of poor safety systems. But sometimes I have to help managers deal with accidents after they have happened.

A few quick statistics: in the UK during 2015/16:

  • over 100 FATAL injuries to workers
  • over 50 FATAL injuries to members of the public (more than half are trespass/suicide on railways)
  • over 500,000 total work injuries estimated of which
  • over 50,000 were major injuries
  • and currently over a million cases of work-related ill-health

So, Health and Safety at Work IS a serious concern.

Reporting Accidents

One definition of an accident is

an unplanned event which may result in one or more of :
loss, damage to property, personal injury, death

So what does the law require employers to do in the event of an accident? Many employers keep an 'accident book' which mearly lists an employees name and the injury sustained, but the law today requires that much more information is recorded and a bit more form-filling is recommended in order to demonstrate that the employer has investigated the accident and taken action to prevent it happening again. Keeping such records can also be useful to the employer as supporting evidence against any future claims made by the injured employee.

Wright Safety Solutions can guide you on the sort of information you should collect to record an accident, and also to investigate the accident which is essential in case your employee decides to sue your company

If you are not keeping records like this please contact Wright Safety Solutions. I can provide you with the necessary documentation to suit your business, and I can also conduct an accident investigation if you feel you need some asistance with that.

Dealing with accidents is of the utmost importance. The procedure should be the responsiblity of a manager or someone in your business with authority. The procedure should also be well known to all employees and be part of the company's written Safety Policy. An employee has a legal duty to report/record any accident or incident that has or could cause harm or damage.

As well as accidents, then, it is also advisable that incidents be investigated and records kept. An incident is an unplanned event which has, at least, caused damage to property. Again, recording the event, this will help to avoid future recurrences and can also be useful evidence to support the employer in any future claims.

Now, to more serious events. Under UK regulations, certain types of accidents and other incidents at work must be reported to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). These include accidents where an employee (or a member of the public) has been killed, or suffered serious injury, and a minor injury which causes abscence from work of more than 3 days is also reportable to HSE.

Again, Wright Safety Solutions can help you document and report any type of accident to the HSE.

This reporting procedure derives from the RIDDOR regulations: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (1995) ........ AND there is even more you have to report!

Diseases - if an employee's doctor infroms you that his patient has a work-related disease then you need to report this to the HSE. Diseases include: dermatitis, skin cancer, asbestosis and other ling diseases, legionella, hepatitus and certain musculo-skeletal disorders derived from improper manual handling. If you are uncertain if an employee's disease or complaint is work-related then contact Wright Safety Solutions.

Dangerous Occurrences - the regulations list over twenty serious incidents or dangerous occurences which are reportable to HSE. Some obvious ones are mining collapses, train crashes etc but I'll list a few that can occur in small/medium-sized businesses:

  • collapse of a crane
  • an electrical short circuit causing fire or explosion
  • any fire which closes your business for over 24hrs
  • explosion of a closed vessel
  • collapse of scaffolding >5 metres high or of any scaffolding near wate
  • collapse of a wall or floor on work premises
  • accidental release of any substance that may damage health

If you are uncertain if an incident can be classified as a dangerous occurrence then contact Wright Safety Solutions.

There is a lot of uncertainty within small/medium busineesses of what to report, and indeed sometimes a reluctance to submit reports. I can only advise to take good regard of the law, and contact me if you are at all uncertain. To ignore accidents and incidents and not report dangerous occurrences can have serious consequences.

Accident Prevention - this must be part of your business safety culture. It is the main reason why we have method statements, training programmes, safety committees. We must work together to prevent injuries, but also work together to save the business. The COST of accidents is something most employers underestimate: consider this and the examples of costs:

Cost of Accidents

  • Direct Costs
    • sick pay
    • repairs to damaged equipment or property
    • loss of product - material wasted
    • loss of production during repairs or investigation
    • overtime to catch up on production
    • public or product liability
    • fines
    • legal fees
    • consultant fees
    • cost of ambulance
    • cost of fire service
    • increase in insurance premiums
    • compensation payable to victim
  • Indirect Costs
    • loss of time already spent on a job
    • staff time during investigations
    • loss of goodwill of customers affected
    • cost of late deliveries
    • orders cancelled
    • cost of part-time replacement
    • hiring replacement
    • training replacement

If one of your employees was to suffer an accident the cost would depend on the circumstances, but costs of around £100,000 are common. There are case histories discussed in our Newsletter page, look for the link later.

The most common cause of injuries at work is the slip or trip. Resulting falls can be serious. They happen in all kinds of businesses, but sectors such as food and catering report higher than average numbers. Itís a particularly important subject if members of the public use your premises. The estimated cost to UK employers of all these injuries is over £500 million a year, and insurance only covers a small part of this. Such a huge cost to UK industry - yet the effective solutions are often simple, cheap and lead to other benefits.

Prevent accidents - get advice, put systems in place, increase morale, increase productivity, save money; contact Wright Safety Solutions


Wright Safety Solutions
John A. B. Wright
B.Sc. (Chem), TechIOSH
safety qualification: NEBOSH (Gen.Cert.)

Tel: (024) 76618235
Mobile: 0779 3880597



this page first published 12 January 2007
last updated 10 February 2020

Health and Safety for Coventry and Warwickshire medium/small businesses

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