Accidents and incidents

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Accidents and incidents

Accidents and incidents can cost business millions of pounds in absenteeism, lost production, damage to property and equipment, increased insurance costs and compensation.

Good risk assessment and management of safety and health in the workplace are the best way to prevent and reduce accidents. However, all incidents can be learning experiences that allow you to review and evaluate your systems.

Therefore, it's worth investigating accidents and incidents to:

  • Identify why your existing control measures failed and what improvements or additional measures are needed
  • Plan to prevent the incident from happening again
  • Point to areas where your risk assessment needs reviewing
  • Improve risk control in your workplace in the future

The more serious ones may need to be officially reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). To be reported an incident must arise out of or in connection with work. Just because an accident happens at work does not make it reportable.

Reportable accidents

An accident is 'work-related' if any of the following played a significant role:

  • The way the work was carried out
  • Any machinery, plant, substances or equipment used for the work or
  • The condition of the site or premises where the accident happened

Reportable injuries

Reportable injuries are the death of any person or specified injuries, including:

  • Fractures (other than fingers, toes and thumbs)
  • Amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe
  • Any injury likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight in one or both eyes
  • Any crush injury to the head or torso, causing damage to the brain or internal organs
  • Any burn injury (including scalding), which covers more than 10% of the whole body's total surface area or causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs
  • Any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment
  • Any loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
  • Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space
  • Injuries to workers which result in their incapacitation for more than 7 days
  • Injuries to non-workers which result in them being taken directly to hospital for treatment, or specified injuries to non-workers which occur on hospital premises.

Reportable diseases

Reportable diseases include:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome -where the person's work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools
  • Cramp of the hand or forearm - where the person's work involves prolonged periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm
  • Occupational dermatitis - where the person's work involves significant or regular exposure to a known skin sensitiser or irritant
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome - where the person's work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools, or holding materials subject to percussive processes, or processes causing vibration
  • Occupational asthma - where the person's work involves significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitiser
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis - in the hand or forearm, where the person's work is physically demanding and involves frequent, repetitive movements

Dangerous occurrences

Dangerous occurrences include:

  • Collapse or failure of lifting equipment
  • Failure of a closed pressure system
  • Contact with overhead electric lines
  • Any explosion or fire caused by electric overload or short circuit
  • Collapse of scaffolding

Most reporting is carried out online by visiting How to Make a RIDDOR Report

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