Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics show around 250 people are killed each year by accidents in workplaces[1]. Additionally, around 160,000 injuries per year lead to absences from work lasting more than seven days[2].

For 2016/2017, the HSE estimate workplace injuries and new cases of work-related ill health cost UK employers £14.9 billion[3]. It’s evident that reducing accidents and ill health is in the best interests of a business’s financial health, as well as reputational and organisational.

As the saying goes, “if you think safety is expensive, try an accident”[4].

In relation to accidents in the workplace, including those involving visitors, customers, contractors and other members of the public, it’s important to recognise and implement the Reporting of Injuries and Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). This includes making records and reporting incidents that result in injuries and occupational diseases, and also near-misses.

The investigation and analysis of work-related accidents and incidents forms an essential part of managing health and safety. Learning from what you uncover is at the heart of preventing further injuries and illnesses.

Key actions to monitor accidents

  • Include record-making and investigations in your health and safety policy, identifying the person(s) responsible for:
    • recording all accidents and cases of work-related ill-health (however minor they may appear);
    • safekeeping of completed accident records (i.e. security of personal information);
    • reporting accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the enforcing authority, and the retention of detailed records of reported events;
    • investigating accidents and work-related causes of sickness absence;
    • consultation with employees, including appointed safety representatives; and
    • acting upon the findings to prevent a recurrence.
  • Make sure the health and safety policy identifies who is responsible for the arrangements made in respect of first aid, pollution incidents, accident investigation and emergency procedures.
    • Ensure the responsible persons have sufficient experience, knowledge, ability and training for their roles.
  • Display an up-to-date HSE health and safety law poster or provide employees with the information by alternative approved means.
  • Provide appropriate first aid arrangements.
  • Inform managers, supervisors and employees about the reporting and recording procedures.
    • Include the option for disciplinary action, where there is failure to comply with these procedures.
  • Check that the accident reporting system makes it clear that:
    • the form must be completed as soon as possible by the employee or someone acting on their behalf;
    • employees should be able to take or be given a photocopy of the completed form;
    • the form must be passed to the nominated person and stored securely in a lockable cabinet;
    • the causes of the incident should be investigated by the nominated person, and if the findings are inconsistent with the information provided on the form, then a note should be added, explaining this;
    • the overall arrangements need to remain operational during holidays or unplanned absence; and
    • all accident book covers need to be stored securely and retained for at least three years.

Templates that may help with managing accidents

Risk assessments

Example form

Guards and safety devices

Inspection form

Additional resources

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to some common queries about health and safety issues and related legislation.

Related topics

Accidents happen due to all sorts of hazards and issues, so prevention and deciding what action needs to be taken immediately after an incident means looking at all sorts of elements in the workplace, including: