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Investigating Accidents

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) require employees to record all workplace accidents and to report some of them to the authorities.  

RIDDOR applies to all employers (including the self-employed) and covers everyone at work (including those on work experience and similar schemes and self employed workers engaged by you).  It also includes non-workers, such as visitors or members of the public affected by the work.

Reportable Accidents

What to do when there is an Accident

Deal with the immediate risks, for example, provide first aid, isolate any danger, fence off the area etc

Calmly assess the amount and kind of investigation needed and set aside the time to do it as soon as possible – if you have to disturb the site in the meantime, take photographs and measurements first.

Investigate – find out what happened and why

Take steps to stop something similar happening again

Remember to take into account any near misses or incidents of property damage to see if they might provide more clues as to how best to proceed.

When Investigating

The purpose of the investigation is to prevent the accident from happening again.  Don’t just focus on individuals and the immediate causes, look also at how the job, the work environment and the organisation may have contributed. The HSE advise you to consider the following checklist:

Details of injured personnel

Details of injury, damage or loss

What was the worst that could have happened?

Could it happen again?

What happened? Where? When?

What was the direct cause?

Were there standards in place for the premises, plant, substances, procedures involved?

Were they adequate? Were they followed?

Were the people up to the job?

Were they competent, trained and instructed?

What was the underlying cause? Was there more than one?

What was meant to happen and what were the plans?

How were the people organised?

Would inspection would have picked up the problem earlier?

Had it happened before? If so, why weren’t the lessons learnt?

You must keep details of all accidents in your accident book and the results of your investigation.

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Additional Reading

Reporting Accidents