Accidents at work

What is classed as an accident?

An accident could be described as “an incident at work, or as a result of a work activity, which causes injury’’.

Do all accidents have to be reported?

Accidents themselves do not have to be reported but the injuries which result from the accident do, therefore, if there is an accident in which no one suffers any injury there is no need to report it. It is, however, worth you investigating the incident in order to identify any safety hazards and to prevent a more serious recurrence.

So what injuries need to be reported?

  • Injuries which cause the death of any person (your employee, another company's employee or a member of the public) or
  • Major injury to your employee or a self employed person (including as a result of physical violence)
  • Where a member of the public is taken to hospital
  • Injuries which result in your employee being off work, or unable to do their usual job for more than seven days.

What is classed as a “major injury”?

A major injury is:

  • Any fracture other than to the fingers, thumbs or toe
  • Any amputation
  • Dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
  • Loss of sight (whether temporary or permanent)
  • A chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye
  • An injury resulting from an electric shock or electrical burn (including any electrical burn caused by arcing or products such as molten metal from arcing) which leads to either unconsciousness, or requires resuscitation, or hospital for more than 24 hours
  • Any other injury which either: leads to hypothermia, heat induced illness or unconsciousness requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for over 24 hours
  • An injury which leads to loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or by exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent
  • Any acute illness needing medical treatment or any loss of consciousness caused by swallowing, inhaling or absorbing any substance through the skin
  • Any acute illness which requires medical treatment where there is reason to believe that this resulted from exposure to a biological agent or the agent’s toxins or to infected material.

You are reminded that any of the above injuries which result from acts of violence are notifiable.

Where do I report an accident?

Report an accident online (external link).

Should I record the accident in a book?

Yes. An accident book should be provided on your premises. The book should be used to record any relevant details of accidents affecting employees, visitors or members of the public which either occur on your premises or as a result of the work activities associated with your business whether the accident is a notifiable one or not.

What is a “dangerous occurrence”?

Generally these relate to things such as:

  • The collapse or overturning of lifting equipment, cranes, hoists, fairground rides, scaffolding or buildings
  • Failure of pressure systems
  • Failure of freight containers or their parts whilst being raised, lowered or suspended
  • Contact with high voltage overhead cables
  • Electrical short circuit followed by fire or explosion
  • Unintentional explosions
  • Accidental release of harmful, flammable or biological substance into the atmosphere
  • Malfunction of radiation generators
  • Malfunction of breathing apparatus
  • Certain diving incidents
  • Train collisions
  • Oil well blow outs and other incidents
  • Failure of certain pipelines.

These notes are only intended as a brief guide to health and safety matters and may not cover all aspects in detail.

© Wigan Council