Incident reporting and investigation

Despite best efforts to manage risks, incidents and accidents will inevitably occur from time to time.  All accidents and incidents arising out of, or in connection with, work including incidents of violence to staff and any work-related ill health must be reported to Safety and Environmental Protection Services promptly.  In the case of serious injury, an immediate telephone notification is required.  Other incidents must be reported either electronically or by mail using the standard University Incident Report Form.  This is available from SEPS website. There are legal time limits for reporting of certain types of incident to the enforcing authorities and so reports must be sent to SEPS promptly.

Heads of management units must:

Establish effective administrative systems within their unit for the internal reporting of incidents, including near-misses. 

  • Ensure that all staff and students are made aware of the need to report incidents and near-misses and of the local procedures for this.  This includes incidents that occur away from the University, for example on field trips or on work related travel.
  • Establish an effective administrative procedure for the transmission of reports to SEPS within 5 days.
  • Ensure, in particular, that any work-related absences of more than 3 days duration, resulting from an accident or work-related ill health are reported to SEPS.
  • Establish local arrangements for investigation of incidents at an appropriate managerial level and for responding to the findings of investigations.

Investigation of incidents

Although some incidents will arise as a result of unforeseen and unavoidable causes others will occur as the result of failings in the safety precautions.  These may be inadequacies in maintenance arrangements, training, working practices or other cause. The purpose of the incident investigation is to consider not only the immediate reason for of any incident but also to identify any underlying causes.  Often the immediate cause of an accident is glaringly obvious but some level of management investigation may be needed to identify whether underlying factors have led to the incident.  Incidents should be investigated by managers of an appropriate level of seniority and where appropriate by Local Safety-Co-ordinators.

Reports on incident investigations should be submitted to the line manager(s) responsible for the work and, where the findings warrant it, to the Head of the management unit.  The local safety committee should receive and review incident reports and recommendations arising from these.

SEPS will often request additional information on incidents, including details of the local investigation findings, may investigate some incidents directly.  External enforcing authorities and insurers may also investigate incidents reported to them.