Accident and Incident Reporting

Accident and Incident Reporting


The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 (RIDDOR) place a legal obligation on the University to report certain types of work-related event to the relevant enforcing authority (the Health and Safety Executive or local Environmental Health Department) within specified time limits. To ensure that this is done management units must report all incidents to Safety & Environmental Protection Services (SEPS) promptly.  Where necessary, SEPS arrange reporting of incidents to the appropriate enforcing authority.  This note provides guidance on the operation of the internal reporting system.

What has to be reported

The following incidents and occurrences must be reported to Safety and Environmental Protection Services.

  • Injury to any person arising out of, or in connection with, work.
  • Near-miss incidents and dangerous occurrences. (Including fires.)
  • Incidents of violence to staff that are related to their work.
  • Occupational diseases and occupational ill health.

Internal reporting procedure

Following ANY incident of a type described above, a written report must be submitted to SEPS.  A form is provided for this purpose and can be obtained by download from SEPS website or by contacting SEPS departmental office (x5532).  This form must be returned to SEPS within a maximum of 5 working days of the occurrence to allow reporting of certain incidents to the enforcing authority within the legally specified 10 day time limit.

In addition to the written report, in the case of certain types of more serious injury, defined by the regulations as “major injuries”, an immediate telephone notification to SEPS is required.  (A definition of “major injury” is given in the Appendix.) 

Details of the incident should be recorded on the report form as explained below. Note that injuries that occur through violence to staff or students during the course of their work of study are classed as accidents and must be reported. If a paper copy is being submitted, the top two copies of the form should be forwarded to Safety & Environmental Protection Services and the bottom copy should be retained on file within the organisational unit reporting the incident. If a report is submitted electronically a copy should also be retained by the management unit reporting the incident.

SEPS recognise that full details of the incident may not always be available within the 5 day internal reporting limit.  All reasonable efforts should be made to obtain the required information within this period but if this is not achievable, the report should be submitted with the information that is known about the incident and the form noted to the effect that additional information is to follow.  Any additional information should be obtained and passed to SEPS as soon as is practicable. 

Note that if staff are absent from work as a result of an incident, managers may need to contact them at home as part of their investigation to obtain information about the incident. Individual staff members also have a responsibility to ensure that managers are informed of the circumstances of any incident that causes them to be absent from work and are expected to advise their supervisor immediately if they are off as a result of a work-related cause rather than due to ill health.

Note that absences of over 3 days are a result of an injury at work are reportable to the enforcing authority and it is therefore essential that management units actively monitor and identify such incidents to SEPS.

Completion of the Report Form

Who should complete the form?

Each management unit must determine the most effective procedure for completion of the form. This may vary amongst units and will reflect the managerial and geographical structure of the college or school. In most cases it will be appropriate for the injured person's immediate supervisor or a more senior manager to complete the form after having discussed the incident with those directly involved. It is important to ensure that, whoever completes the form, an appropriate senior line manager and the local Safety Coordinator are made aware of the incident so that further investigation and/or remedial action can be taken.

Subject of report (Section A)

Several terms such as "major injury", "over three-day injury" and "dangerous occurrence" are defined by the legislation and have a very specific meaning. Where incidents that fall within these definitions have occurred, the University is legally obliged to send a report to the relevant enforcing authority within 10 days of the incident. It is therefore particularly important that incidents of this type are reported to SEPS promptly. If necessary, managers should contact the injured person at home to establish the nature of their injuries so that the correct reporting procedures can be followed.

If there has been a fatal accident or, if anyone (including students or visitors to the University) has suffered a "major injury" SEPS must be notified immediately by telephone. A written report on the "Injury or Dangerous Occurrence" form must also be sent to SEPS within 5 working days. A definition of the term "major injury" appears in the Appendix.

An "over three-day injury" is an injury which results in the person involved being unable to perform their normal work (i.e. absent from work) for more than three consecutive days excluding the day of the accident but including any weekends. (e.g. an accident on a Thursday would be an "over three-day injury" if the person involved was absent from work on the Friday and did not return to work on the Monday.)

In the case of "over three-day" injuries, the University must report the incident to the enforcing authority within 10 days of its occurrence. In order that a report can be sent within this period it is essential that SEPS are kept informed of any accidents that are likely to result in absences of more than three consecutive days. If this is not certain at the time of the incident but seems likely, the report form should be marked to indicate this. The actual situation should then be confirmed by telephone to SEPS either on the fourth day of absence or on the person's return to work if this occurs first.

A "minor" injury should be taken to mean any non-trivial injury that does not fall within any of the categories above. Although these are not reported to the enforcing authorities it is University policy to record these as they provide valuable data on the type and prevalence of particular hazards within the University. SEPS must also be informed if an incident that initially appears to have caused only minor injury subsequently results in an over three-day absence as indicated above as a report to the enforcing authority would then be legally required.

Any "dangerous occurrence" that falls within the definitions in the Appendix must be notified to Safety & Environmental Protection Services by telephone immediately. This must be followed by a written report within 5 working days. Other "near misses" that do not fall within the definitions given should also be reported as dangerous occurrences if, taking into account all of the circumstances, the incident could have resulted in serious personal injury or substantial property damage.

Details of incident (Section B) - Place, date and time of incident

Department - Report the department or organisational unit for which the injured person works (not where the incident occurred).

Exact Location - Record the exact place where the incident occurred.

Date - Record the date on which the incident occurred.

Time - Record as accurately as possible the time at which the incident occurred.

Name and telephone number of person to contact - Enter information about a person who can be contacted, within the management u nit where the injured person is employed, who will be able to provide further information about the incident should this be required.

The injured person (Section C)

Give the name, home address and telephone number of any injured person, together with their sex and age. Indicate, using the boxes provided, if the injured person is a University employee, student, member of the public etc. If the person is employed by a contractor engaged in work for the University please indicate the name of the company employing them.

Detail the nature of the injury and the part of the body affected.

Record the trade, occupation or job title, e.g. technician, cleaner etc. (class/course being followed in the case of students).Indicate what led to the injury or condition

Tick one box which best describes what led to the injury. If this is "Fall from a height" then enter an estimate of the distance through which the person fell. If none of the options describes the circumstances involved, tick the box labelled 'other' and give details of the agent(s) involved.

Circumstances of incident and action taken to prevent recurrence (Section E)

Indicate if the injured person was given first-aid. If so, enter the name of the person who provided first-aid.

Give full details of the events leading up to the accident, what the injured person was doing at the time and any agents involved. Ensure that the information provided is as complete as possible. If necessary continue the account on a separate sheet. In addition give details of any action that has been taken, or is proposed, to prevent a similar occurrence in future (e.g. modification to or repair of equipment or fabric, training etc.)  It is the responsibility of heads of management units to investigate incidents that occur within their units to establish this information.  Information on this is provided below.

Investigation of Incidents

The Head of each management unit must establish procedures to ensure that all accidents and incidents are investigated by an appropriate person(s) within the unit. The investigation should seek to establish both immediate and underlying causes of the incident and whether there is a need for any change to be made to prevent similar incidents occurring in the future. In simple incidents basic enquiries by the injured person's supervisor may be sufficient. More significant incidents should involve more senior staff, or specialist staff.

The investigation should not delay the dispatch of the report form to SEPS. Additional information can always be provided later as it becomes known. SEPS may also investigate particular incidents.

Appendix - Definition of the terms "Major injury" and "Dangerous Occurrence"

“Major injuries” are:-

  • Any injury, arising from an accident, which results in immediate hospital treatment being given.
  • Any fracture, other than to the fingers, thumb or toes.
  • Any amputation.
  • Loss of sight (whether temporary or permanent)
  • A chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or a penetrating injury to the eye.
  • Any injury resulting from an electric shock or electrical discharge (including any electrical burn caused by arcing) leading to unconsciousness or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.
  • Loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or by exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent
  • Either of the following conditions which result from the absorption of any substance by inhalation, ingestion or through the skin-
  • (a) acute illness requiring medical treatment (b) loss of consciousness
  • Acute illness which requires medical treatment where there is reason to believe that this resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material.

“Dangerous occurrences” are:-

  • Identification (by a certificated gas fitter) of a gas fitting or of any flue or pipe used in conjunction with that fitting that is in a condition likely to cause the death or major injury of any person through accidental leakage of gas, inadequate combustion or inadequate removal of combustion products.
  • Any incident in which plant or equipment either unintentionally comes into contact with overhead power lines at a voltage exceeding 200 volts or causes an electrical discharge through close proximity to the conductors.
  • Any electrical short circuit or overload attended by fire or explosion which results in the stoppage of plant for more than 24 hour and has the potential to cause the death of any person.
  • The failure of any closed vessel or associated pipework where the internal pressure was above or below atmospheric pressure, where the failure has the potential to cause the death of any person.
  • Any accident or incident which resulted or could have resulted in the release or escape of a biological agent likely to cause severe human infection or illness.
  • Malfunction of breathing apparatus.
  • Malfunction of radiation generators or ancillary equipment resulting in equipment failing to de -energise at the end of the intended period or the radioactive source failing to return to a safe position.
  • Any explosion or fire resulting in the suspension of normal work for more than 24 hours.
  • The sudden, uncontrolled release- inside a building - of 100kg or more of a flammable liquid of 10kg or more of a flammable liquid at a temperature above its boiling point of 10kg or more of a flammable gas in the open air - release of 500kg of any of the substances above
  • The sudden release or escape of any substance in a quantity sufficient to cause the death, major injury or any other damage to the health of any person.
  • The unintended collapse of-
  • any building or structure under construction, alteration or demolition involving a fall of more than 5 tonnes of material
  • any wall or floor in a workplace.
  • any falsework.
  • The collapse or partial collapse of:-
    • any scaffold over five metres high; or
    • a scaffold erected over or close to water; or
    • the suspension arrangements of any slung or suspended scaffold.
  • The collapse, overturning or failure of a load bearing part of a lift, hoist, crane, derrick or mobile platform, or an excavator, forklift truck, access or window cleaning cradle or a pile driving frame with an operating height of over seven metres.
  • Failure of the load bearing parts of any freight container.
  • The unintentional collision of a train with any other train or vehicle where this might have led to the death of, or major injury of any person.
  • Any of the following incidents involving fairground equipment-
    • failure of any load bearing part
    • failure of any passenger support or restraint device
    • unintended collision of cars or trains.
  • Any incident involving a road tanker or tank container used for the carriage of dangerous substances in which-
    • the vehicle overturns
    • the tank is seriously damaged
    • there is an uncontrolled release or a fire involving the substance being carried
  • Any incident involving a vehicle being used for the carriage of a dangerous substance (other than in a tank) where there is-
    • an uncontrolled release or escape of the dangerous substance in such quantity to have the potential to cause death or major injury to any person; or
    • a fire involving the dangerous substance
  • Any unintentional ignition or explosion of explosives. (note: The reporting requirements in respect of incidents involving explosives are complex. If you use, or intend to use, explosives please notify Safety & Environmental Protection Services for more information.)

There are also certain incidents that are reportable in relation to pipelines and wells, mines and quarries, rail transport systems, diving operations and offshore workplaces. If you are involved with such installations you should contact Safety & Environmental Protection Services for further details.