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What to do when an employee is injured at work.

What to do when the worst happens and an employee is injured at work

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When it comes to accidents, no one is safe. Pillow factory workers can receive nasty paper cuts while filling in forms. Bubble-wrap packers can trip and injure themselves on the corner of a box.

What every company needs is a rigid procedure for recording and reporting all accidents including occupational illnesses and diseases. Here, we help you check your reporting procedure. The following information is taken from the Forum's acclaimed Health & Safety Guide which includes checklists and advice on a wide range of health and safety regulations.

Minor injuries

Whenever a minor injury occurs in the workplace, a confidential entry detailing who was injured, when the accident occurred and how it happened should be recorded in the company's accident book. Although many of these accidents – when taken in isolation – seem mundane, it is worth recording even the most minor of occurrences, as they can help to highlight any patterns of injury. This can then be used to inform future planning aimed at reducing the number of accidents. And, if you are wondering what constitutes a minor injury, it is anything that does not fall into one of the following categories and that only requires, at most, first aid to remedy.

Reportable incidents

Reportable incidents are more serious accidents or dangerous occurrences. To deal with them, a clear procedure must be followed. Firstly, as with minor injuries, a record must be entered into the accident book. However, while this is often the end of the matter in minor cases, it is only the beginning in more serious cases.

The next step is to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Incident Report Centre without delay. A letter confirming the details of the incident should also be sent on form F2508 (available from the HSE's website). The incident or accident also has to be formally investigated.

Essentially, you are trying to discover how it happened and what steps can be taken to prevent a recurrence, so you should take witness statements and photos of any equipment or locations that are relevant. A record of the investigation should be kept, as should evidence that any conclusions have been taken into account. Your current Risk Assessment document should also be revised in light of the accident.

As for what constitutes a reportable incident, the Health & Safety Guide includes far more comprehensive details, but, in short, they can be broken down into three areas:

Reportable accidents

This includes fractures (other than to fingers and toes), amputations, dislocations of major joints, loss of sight, burns or penetrating cuts to the eye, serious electrical shocks and a range of other injuries.

Dangerous occurrances

In short, these are incidents which, while not actually leading to reportable injuries, could easily have done so. See the Health & Safety Guide for further details.

Reportable diseases

A number of diseases fall into this category, including skin cancer, asbestosis, tetanus, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) and many more.

To view more information on accidents in the workplace, you can look at our infographic 'Accidents happen - it's a fact of life'. 

For further details, please contact the Forum's member helpline on 01565 626 001.

Last updated 28th June 2016