We all deserve to work in a safe workplace –and of course, it makes the utmost sense for employers to do everything possible to ensure such safety, for reasons beyond the regulatory aspect alone.
Every employer has a moral, legal, and financial obligation to adopt every possible measure to ensure responsible health and safety practices. One process that certainly plays a big role in this, is accident and incident reporting.
But what exactly is accident and incident reporting as far as organisations are concerned, and what are the requirements that employers need to know about?
While the terms “incident” and “accident” both refer to types of adverse event that can occur on a company’s premises, they are defined as follows by the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE):
The term “near miss” refers to an event that does not cause harm, but which does have the potential to cause ill health or injury. In other words, this term is applied to events where an injury, illness or damage could well have happened, but didn’t – perhaps because of corrective actions or intervention, or even just pure luck (as in the case, for example, of someone tripping on a damaged flooring tile, but managing to avoid injury).
An ”undesired circumstance”, meanwhile, is a set of circumstances or conditions that have the potential to bring about ill health or injury.
If you have previously researched accident and incident reporting, you are also likely to have encountered the term “dangerous occurrences”. This term is used in reference to certain specified “near miss” incidents. The HSE has set out 27 categories of dangerous occurrences that are of relevance to most workplaces; examples include plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines, and explosions or fires causing work to be halted for more than 24 hours.
The importance of accident and incident reporting, and the processes involved
It is vital that every UK employer has suitable arrangements in place for accident and incident reporting. After all, this will enable them to effectively monitor and/or measure safety performance. This, in turn, will allow the given organisation to ascertain any potential weaknesses in its present systems, so that informed and targeted changes can be made to help improve health and safety.
A key piece of law that you will need to be aware of in relation to accident and incident reporting in the UK, is RIDDOR –or to give its full title, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.
This legislation obliges employers, as well as other people in control of work premises, to report and keep records of:
Certain special requirements also apply to gas incidents under RIDDOR. It is a legal requirement to report certain incidents in accordance with RIDDOR, with this process letting the enforcing authorities – namely the HSE, local authorities, and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) – know about deaths, injuries, occupational diseases, and dangerous occurrences.
Receiving such reports enables the aforementioned authorities to identify where and how risks arise, as well as determine what may require further investigation.
You can learn more about RIDDOR – and download a free PDF guide to this crucial UK law – on the HSE website.
And, of course, if you wish to ensure your own staff keep on top of accident and incident reporting within your organisation, here at myAko, we are pleased to provide the learning and safety management system including digital safe working practises, to help make this possible.
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