What is an Incident Report at Work?

Peter Clark


28 May 2019


You have a duty of care to your employees, which means you’re required to take all necessary precautions regarding their health & safety.

However, it’s not always possible to eliminate all risks in the workplace. So when an incident does happen, you’re required by law to report it.

This post explores different types of near misses at work as well as the guidelines for reporting critical incidents.


Incidents vs Accidents

An incident is thought of as an unplanned event that doesn’t result in personal injury, although it may result in damage to property.

An accident is an unplanned event that results in injury to individuals or damage to property.


What is a critical incident?

This involves incidents where an employee experiences strong emotional responses to a traumatic event.

For example, within the workplace, a critical incident is one that disrupts an employee’s ability to work. It could also be when they’re affected by the death or injury of a colleague as a result of a traumatic event.


What is critical incident stress?

Following trauma or a critical incident, employees may experience physical and psychological symptoms.

An example of this is stress. It can show itself in different forms, such as:

  • Exhaustion.
  • Anxiety.
  • Reduced attention span.
  • Disturbed sleep.
  • Emotional outburst.
  • Difficulty relaxing.

You can consider introducing Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) to improve the situation.

It provides your staff with an experienced trauma counsellor for confidential one-to-one conversations.

In turn, that can help to improve the psychological, physiological, and emotional issues an employee may be labouring under.


What is a major incident?

It’s one that requires the response of an emergency service and can be either natural or human-made. Causes include:


  • Accidents (road, rail, air or water).
  • Terrorist acts.
  • Heatwaves and other severe weather.
  • Oil Pollution
  • Building collapse.
  • Earthquakes.
  • Explosions.
  • Flooding.
  • Epidemics.
  • Fire.

What is a reportable incident?

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) enforces regulations for reporting incidents at work.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) puts the duty of covering serious workplace injuries on you. Its list of reportable injuries includes:

  • Deaths and injuries caused by workplace accidents.
  • Occupational diseases (severe cramp, occupational cancer, occupational asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.)
  • Gas incidents (any incident resulting in death, loss of consciousness or taken to hospital treatment of injury from connection to gas.)
  • Dangerous Occurrences (accidental release of substances that cause injuries, collapse or failure of lifts and lifting equipment.)
  • Specified injury to workers (fractures, amputations, serious burns etc.)

What is a near miss incident?

It’s an unplanned event that doesn’t result in injury or damage but had the potential to do so.

It’s important to report them as it helps to determine why the issue occurred and how to prevent it from happening again.


What is the purpose of incident reports?

Apart from being a legal requirement, submitting these reports means occupational health authorities are able to identify and investigate where and how risks arise in organisations.


Need our help?

If you’d like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Croner on 0808 145 3382.

About the Author

Peter Clark joined Croner in 2018 as a Senior Health and Safety Consultant advising clients all on matters of health and safety compliance. Peter has over 15 years’ experience as a health and safety practitioner in many varied industry sectors including Manufacturing; Printing; Construction; Agriculture; Retail; Education; and the Care Sector.

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