Legal Recording And Reporting Requirements Of Accidents

Accidents can occur unexpectedly in various environments, from workplaces to public spaces, resulting in injuries, property damage, or even loss of life. There are legal obligations for recording and reporting accidents to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals, as well as to facilitate proper investigation and potential compensation claims. Understanding these requirements is crucial for employers, employees, and those responsible for premises.

This comprehensive guide will delve into the legal framework surrounding the recording and reporting accidents. We will explore key regulations such as the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), which outline the obligations and procedures for documenting and reporting accidents.

Importance Of Maintaining An Accident Book

Under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979, Regulation 25, employers must record accidents at premises where more than 10 people are employed. Anyone injured at work must inform the employer and record information on the accident in an accident book, including a statement on how the accident happened. 

The employer must investigate the cause and enter this in the accident book if they discover anything that differs from the entry made by the employee. This record ensures that information is available if a claim is made for compensation. 

The HSE produced a new Accident Book BI 510 in May 2003 with notes on these Regulations. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) now complies with the Data Protection Act 1998

Reporting Requirements Of Accidents

Reporting Requirements Under RIDDOR

RIDDOR requires employers, the self-employed, and those in control of premises to report certain more serious accidents and incidents to the HSE or other enforcing authority and to keep a record. There are no exemptions for small organizations. The reporting and recording requirements are as follows:

Death or major injury

If an accident occurs at work and:

  • An employee or self-employed person working on the premise is killed or suffers a major injury (including the effects of physical violence) (see Chapter 17 under RIDDOR for the definition of major injury); 
  • A member of the public is killed or taken to hospital. 

The responsible person must notify the enforcing authority immediately by the quickest practicable means, such as by telephone. They must briefly describe the organization, the injured person(s), and the accident’s circumstances. Within 10 days, the responsible person must also send a completed accident report form, F2508. 

Over 3-day lost time injury

Suppose there is an accident connected with work (including physical violence), and an employee or self-employed person working on the premises suffers an injury and is away from work or not doing their normal duties for more than 3 days (including weekends, rest days or holidays but not counting the day of the accident). In that case, the responsible person must send a completed accident report form, F2508, to the enforcing authority within 10 days. 


If a doctor notifies the responsible person that an employee suffers from a reportable work-related disease, a completed disease report form, F2508A, must be sent to the enforcing authority. A summary is included in Chapter 17, and a full list is included with a pad of report forms. The HSE InfoLine or the Incident Contact Centre can be contacted to check whether a particular disease is reportable. 

Dangerous occurrence

Suppose an incident that does not result in a reportable injury but obviously could have done. In that case, it could be a dangerous occurrence as defined by a list in the Regulations (see Chapter 17 for a summary of dangerous occurrences). All dangerous occurrences must be reported immediately, for example, by telephone, to the enforcing authorities. The HSE InfoLine or the Incident Contact Centre can be contacted to check whether a dangerous occurrence is reportable. 

A completed Dangerous occurrence report form, F2508DO, must be sent to the enforcing authorities within 10 days. There are also special report forms for flammable gas incidents and incidents offshore.

Legal Recording Requirements Of Accidents

Key data to be covered in an accident, ill health, and incident reports

The event

Details of any injured person, including age, sex, experience, training, etc. and describe the circumstances, including the place, time of day, and conditions. 

Details of the event, including:

  • Any actions which led directly to the event 
  • The direct causes of any injuries, ill health, or other loss 
  • The immediate causes of the event 
  • The underlying causes are failures in workplace precautions, risk control systems, or management arrangements. 

Details of the outcomes, including in particular: 

  • The nature of the outcome – for example, injuries or ill health to employees or members of the public, damage to property, process disruption, emissions to the environment, creation of hazards 
  • The severity of the harm caused includes injuries, ill health, and losses. 

The immediate management response to the situation and its adequacy:

  • Was it dealt with promptly? 
  • Were continuing risks dealt with promptly and adequately? 
  • Was the first-aid response adequate? 
  • Were emergency procedures followed?

Whether the event was preventable, and if so, how.

The potential consequences

  • What was the worst that could have happened? 
  • What prevented the worst from happening? 
  • How often could such an event occur (the ‘recurrence potential’)? 
  • What was the worst injury or damage which could have resulted (the ‘severity potential’)? 
  • How many people could the event have affected (the ‘population potential’)?


Prioritized actions with responsibilities and targets for completion. 

Recording And Reporting Requirements Of Accidents

Whom to report to

Until 2001 all reports had to be made to the local HSE office or Local Authority. This can still be done, but a centralized national system is called the Incident Contact Centre (ICC), a joint venture between the HSE and local authorities. All reports sent locally are now passed on to the ICC. 

This means employers no longer need to be concerned about which authority to report to, as all incidents can be reported directly to the ICC. Reports can be sent by telephone, fax, Internet, or post. If reporting by the Internet or telephone, a copy of the report is sent to the responsible person for correction, if necessary, and for their records.

Confidentiality and Data Protection

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, personal information recorded in accident books or reports must be kept confidential. Only authorized personnel involved in the investigation, reporting, or legal proceedings should have access to this information.

When reporting accidents to the HSE or other enforcing authorities, personal details should be kept to a minimum, and care should be taken to protect individuals’ privacy. It is essential to comply with data protection laws and handle personal information securely.

Retaining Records

Accident records, including accident books and report forms, should be retained for a specified period according to legal requirements. These records are crucial for reference, analysis, and potential future investigations. The HSE recommends keeping accident records for at least three years from the date of the last entry.

Benefits of Accurate Recording and Reporting

Maintaining accurate accident records and fulfilling reporting obligations offer several benefits, including:

  • Compliance with legal obligations: Recording and reporting accidents in accordance with regulations ensures compliance with the law and demonstrates a commitment to safety.
  • Facilitating investigations: Accurate records provide valuable information for investigating the causes of accidents and incidents, identifying underlying issues, and implementing corrective measures to prevent future occurrences.
  • Supporting compensation claims: In an accident resulting in injury or damage, comprehensive records serve as crucial evidence for potential compensation claims.
  • Identifying patterns and trends: Analyzing accident records can reveal patterns and trends, enabling organizations to identify common hazards and implement targeted safety measures to mitigate risks effectively.

Improving safety practices: Accurate records help organizations assess the effectiveness of their existing safety policies and procedures, leading to continuous improvement in safety practices.


In conclusion, legal recording and reporting requirements for accidents are essential to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals, facilitate investigations, and support compensation claims. Compliance with regulations such as the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) is necessary for employers, employees, and those responsible for premises.

Accurate recording of accidents in accident books, prompt reporting of serious incidents, and proper documentation of key data are crucial for meeting legal obligations, identifying hazards, implementing preventive measures, and continuously improving safety practices in various environments. Confidentiality and data protection must also be upheld when handling personal information related to accidents.

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Malik Imran

Imran is a proficient safety engineer with a solid six-year tenure at ADNOC Company in the United Arab Emirates. His career is marked by an in-depth cultivation of skills and knowledge pivotal for the protection of individuals and the environment within the workplace. His expertise is a vital asset in the continuous pursuit of safety excellence in the engineering domain.