We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Knowledge store

For tips, tools and guidance on all things risk management, just search for a topic you’re interested in or use the below pods.

Knowledge store general enquiry form
Submit enquiry

Accident Reporting and Investigation

All workplace accidents should be reported and investigated:

  • So the cause of the accident is determined and suitable action taken to prevent a recurrence
  • Thus meeting the legislative obligations e.g. the requirement to report certain injuries
  • Ensuring documentation of the first aid is received by the employee

Accident Reporting

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.

  • Record accidents using:

          - 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).

  • Injured employees may claim compensation. The law allows employees up to three years from the date of accident to make their claim. This lengthy period means that it is much better to record the details of the circumstances at the time. A record of an accident made at the time is invaluable to insurance company investigators.

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.

Accident Investigation

"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:

  • The lost production whilst a machine is shut down
  • Awaiting the installation of better guards
  • Awaiting the arrival of an inspector from the HSE
  • The cost of people having to attend court
  • And the fines, if received, are not covered by insurance

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.

Pro formas

Legal References

Useful Links

Next Steps:

  •  Source discounted products, available to Aviva insured customers and brokers only, via our Specialist Partners - click here to find out more about the savings you could make
  •  View our Tools and Templates
  •  Call our Risk Helpline on 0345 366 66 66
  •  Email us at

Please Note
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.

Rate this entry

Was this helpful to you?

Risk Management Bulletins