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Employers have a responsibility to ensure that accidents involving personal injury and illness in the workplace are reported.

This is primarily to ensure that the circumstances and causes of the accident are investigated, although there are a number of other reasons for accurate reporting. It is usually line managers or health and safety coordinators that assume responsibility for the reporting.                                                                                                                         

The need to report injuries and illnesses that occur in the workplace is enshrined in UK law under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). This is a legal requirement of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) specifically focusing on accidents and ill health arising at work resulting in more than three day’s absence.


There are some specific definitions of accidents and illness that make this reporting more accurate. For the purposes of RIDDOR, an accident at work is often described as an unplanned event which results in an employee suffering injury in the course of his or her work whilst carrying out authorised work activity, or any accident to a person which arises as a result of the activity where the employer has responsibility.


Employee’s responsibilities
As well as employers having responsibilities to log and report injury and illness to the relevant governing body, employees are also legally obliged to report any incidents.


You must inform your line manager as soon as possible of any accident or injury occurring at work, however small it may seem. If it’s not possible to inform them immediately (due to hospitalisation or for any other reason), you must advise another employee to do so on your behalf. It’s also required that you report any near misses where injury was avoided.


You also need to report any illnesses as soon as possible and record any incidents in the accident book.


Length of absence
Any absences of over three days due to workplace injury or illness need to be reported within ten days. Reports of absences over seven days must be reported to the relevant authorities within fifteen days. Reports must be kept of any illnesses or injuries that result in three or more non-consecutive days off.


Why record and report
Keeping accurate and detailed records of illness and injury caused in the workplace keeps employers and the HSE informed about the risks involved in workplaces. By identifying where these risks are located, assessments and investigations can be carried out into required improvements. It also allows the HSE to target their work and reduce the number of injuries occurring in workplaces across the UK. Accurate record keeping has been shown to be effective in the fight against workplace injury and illness.

The identification of threats and risks in the workplace has some obvious short and long-term benefits. In the short-term, the risks can be identified and reduced, preventing further injury to colleagues. In the longer-term, working practice can be adapted, safety procedures implemented and personal protective equipment utilised to minimise future risk.

Without the effective and required reporting, workplace risk can remain undetected and pose potential future risk to other employees and members of the public. Which is why RIDDOR is so important and a legal requirement in UK workplaces.


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