How to write a workplace accident report (with free template)
As the saying goes: accidents happen.
Workplace accidents are never pretty, but they do happen on occasion. I’ve helped companies navigate workplace accidents before, and they are very difficult situations to be in, particularly for small businesses.
It’s hard to know what your position and responsibilities are as an employer - and how to balance doing things by the book with supporting your team members when they need it.
Workplace accident reports are there to serve this purpose. They are more than just busy paperwork, they play a key role in keeping your company a safe place to work at. Documenting your employee incident reports helps identify potential safety issues, and understand what went wrong so you can prevent them from happening again.
How do you handle a workplace accident report effectively? When do you need to file one, and what information should it include? I often have to answer questions like this as I’ve supported founders and HR teams reporting accidents at work.
That’s why I put together this guide: to help you navigate the process of drafting workplace accident reports, and make sure both you and your employees stay safe and legally compliant.
Whether you’re dealing with something minor or a more serious life-changing accident, this guide and our workplace accident report template will give you the knowledge you need to respond appropriately.
What are workplace accident reports?
A workplace accident report is a formal document that records any injury, illness, or near miss in the workplace.
This is a vital part of your company’s safety management system. An employee incident report form is how you identify potential hazards and prevent future ones from happening.
Incident reports also serve as a document trail to refer to in case of legal disputes or insurance claims.
It’s not just good business practice to keep workplace accident reports on file. In the UK, it’s a legal requirement.
As per the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), a workplace accident that causes injury or illness that prevents an employee from performing their work duties for more than seven days needs to be reported.
Accident reports have the added benefit of contributing to your company’s culture of safety. Employee incident report forms show your commitment to keeping your team members safe.
You can also have a look at our risk assessment template for more information.
Best practices for workplace accident reports
When workplace accidents happen they cause a lot of stress, headache and anxiety for all concerned, but they’re also an important time to gather information and learn from what happened so that it never happens again.
Here are some best practices to follow when filing an employee incident report:
1) Educate your team on company policies and processes: Getting your whole team on the same page about the procedures to follow in case of an accident helps make the process go much more smoothly. Everyone, no matter their working location, should have easy access to the same documents, processes and policies. It doesn’t stop accidents from happening, but it does make sure the right procedure is followed when and if one occurs. To help with this point, you may want to store information about your company policies and processes in a HR platform like Charlie.
2) Prioritise the injured person: First and foremost: someone has been hurt, and they need to be seen to. The first step in the incident should always be to see to the person who has been injured, and provide immediate medical care.
3) Start collecting data immediately: It’s important to capture what happened as soon as possible. The accident investigation may involve the date, time, location, names and job titles of everyone involved. That might include:
- Environmental conditions
- Events leading up to the incident
- Details regarding injuries
- Any damage to the area or workplace equipment
4) Investigate root causes: Collecting data doesn’t just protect you legally, it also helps you determine the cause of the incident: the who, what, when, where and why.
5) Work your plan: After the incident has been properly recorded, you must see to it that it never happens again. Sharing the causes of the incident and the results of your findings can help your team rebuild trust and implement policies that prevent a similar incident in the future.
4) Think about the injured employee: once you have an idea of what kind of injury your employee has and how long it will take to recover, you can start forming a potential plan with a phased return to work plan to help them
How to write a workplace accident report
Writing a workplace incident report for the first time may seem daunting, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. I know it was for me.
That’s why we made this employee incident report template, to give you a clear-cut set of procedures to follow and make a hard situation easier to deal with.
Remember, the goal here is to create a clear, comprehensive record of the incident to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your team in the future. Here are the steps to follow:
- Collect the affected person’s information: Gather the basic information of the people involved in the incident: name, job title and contact information
- Record your name and job title: You should fill out your contact details as well, as the person filing the report. This helps determine accountability, in case further clarifications is needed in the future.
- Describe the accident: This is by far the most important part of the workplace accident report. Here, give a comprehensive and detailed account of what happened, including the date and time of the incident, the location, and the parties involved. Detail what caused the accident, from the events leading up to it to the aftermath
- Identify the parts of the body that were affected: Document the specific parts of the body that were injured. Medical professionals need to refer to this information to understand how severe the incident was and provide adequate treatment
- Outline corrective actions to prevent similar accidents in the future: Propose measures that can be taken to prevent the incident from happening again, whether that means changing workplace procedures, additional safety training to take place and any improvements in workplace equipment
- Documenting any medical treatment the affected person has received: Include any medical treatment administered to the employee in your report. Specify the type of treatment, who provided it, and when it was administered. Insurance companies need this information during the claims process
The ultimate goal of this report is to make sure such an incident never happens again. That’s why it’s important to be as clear and detailed as possible.
Ensuring workplace safety with Charlie’s HR Advice
Workplace accident reports are more than just routine paperwork: they keep your organisation in a safe and healthy environment.
When you understand how to properly handle these reports, you’re taking important steps to protect your team and make sure your business stays compliant with the law.
Dealing with workplace accidents is challenging for anyone, especially if you’re a small business without a dedicated HR team. That’s why I and the rest of the HR advisors at CharlieHR are here to guide you through these delicate situations that need careful handling.
We can help you draft your workplace incident forms and reports, answer whatever questions you have, and stand by you every step of the way.Let us help you navigate the complexities of workplace accidents with compliance and confidence. Book a call with our HR advice team today.
FAQs on workplace accident reports
Here are some quick answers to your most common questions about workplace accident reports.
Who should fill out a workplace accident report?
As per UK employment law, the “responsible person” should fill out the workplace accident report. That includes employers, the self-employed, and anyone in control of the work environment.
What information does a workplace accident report include?
The employee incident report usually includes:
- A description of the incident
- Identities of the people involved
- Injuries sustained, and any actions taken
- Date and time of the accident
- A description of the event
- Steps that were taken following the accident
When should a workplace accident report be filed?
Accidents need to be reported within 15 days of the incident if an accident results in an employee being unable to perform their normal job duties for more than seven days.
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