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All workplace accidents should be reported and investigated:
Your first priority following an accident is to ensure that the employee receives the first aid they need.
After this, the accident should be recorded and investigated.
- the standard booklet (available from HSEBOOKS)
- using your own bespoke records
- alternatively you can download and print a simple accident report
Some accidents need to be reported to the enforcing authority, either the Health and Safety Executive or the Local authority. This includes serious accidents, such as fatalities, major injuries such as burns and fractures, and any accident that results in an absence from work greater than seven consecutive days (not including the day of the accident).
Accident records should be analysed at least annually to identify if there are any significant changes or trends, such as changes in the number and type of an increase in the accidents from a particular location, a specific machine. These might indicate a breakdown of control.
"The only good thing about an accident is what is learnt to prevent it happening a second time"
All workplace accidents should be reported and investigated since the causes of accidents are rarely obvious. A detailed investigation is needed before one can be certain how an accident occurred and what went wrong. This information is necessary before action can be taken to prevent a repeat accident. After the cause has been established suitable control action should be taken. Typical controls might involve training of operators, a review of risk assessments or the introduction of new procedures.
But one golden rule to remember is that the investigation is to determine cause – not to allocate blame.
Download a simple checklist on guidance on what to do after an accident.
Some types of accidents need to be reported to the enforcing authority and it is necessary to have certain information available in order to complete the paperwork. An investigation of what happened must be undertaken to collect this information.
Finally, some accidents result in civil claims for compensation. Employees (and members of the public who might have been injured by your business activities) have up to three years in which to make a claim. So it is far better to investigate accidents at the time they occur. Memories of the accident fade with time so a speedy investigation is essential. An immediate investigation will ensure important information such as the location of machinery, measurements and photographs is recorded. All this information is of vital importance in defending any claim against the business.
Cost of Accidents
The Health and Safety Executive uses a slogan "Good health and safety means good business". This statement implies that the management of workplace risks is little different to managing any of the other risks faced by business.
Many firms fail to understand that accidents cost them money. Some firms think because they take out insurance any claims will be dealt with. However the majority of accidents do not become claims, so the majority of the costs associated with accidents are not covered by insurance.
To put this into perspective the costs of clearing up after an accident can include:
These uninsured costs can range from 10 times the amount received from insurance, to over 30 times. Managing risk and reducing the number of accidents makes sound business sense. Savings from the management of risk and reductions in accidents will improve the bottom line immediately.
All employers should calculate the costs of accidents in the workplace. The HSE has set up a website to provide tools and information to help firms do this. It contains checklists, guidance on likely costs of accidents and illustrative examples of how much accidents have cost firms.
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.
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