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Reporting an accident

Reporting an accident

When do I need to make a report?

Death, or a specified or major injury

If there is an accident connected with work, you must tell the enforcing authority immediately. This applies if your employee, a self-employed person working on your premises or a member of the public is killed or suffers a 'specified' or 'major' injury (including because of physical violence).

Specified injuries (England, Wales and Scotland)

Reportable specified injuries in England, Wales and Scotland are:

  • Permanent loss or reduction of sight
  • Crush injuries leading to internal organ damage
  • Amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe
  • Fractures (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes)
  • Scalping (separation of skin from the head) that needs hospital treatment
  • Unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia (when the body is deprived of oxygen)
  • Serious burns (burns that cover more than 10% of the body, or that damage the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs)
  • Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space, which leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours

Major injuries (Northern Ireland)

Reportable major injuries in Northern Ireland are:

  • Amputation
  • Loss of sight (temporary or permanent)
  • Fracture (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes)
  • Dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
  • Chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye
  • Unconsciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to harmful substance or biological agent
  • Injury resulting from an electric shock or electrical burn (including any electrical burn caused by arcing or arcing products)
  • Any other injury leading to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or unconsciousness, or requiring resuscitation or admission to hospital for more than 24 hours
  • Acute illness requiring medical treatment, or loss of consciousness arising from inhaling, ingesting or absorbing through the skin any substance
  • Acute illness requiring medical treatment where it is reasonably believed that the illness resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material

Over-7-day injury (England, Wales and Scotland)

Injuries that are not 'specified' but last more than 7 consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident but including non-work days) must be reported to the HSE within 15 days. This applies to accidents connected with work (including physical violence) involving employees or self-employed people working on your premises.

The incident should be noted in the business's accident book if the worker is off work for more than 3 days following the accident.

Over-3-day injury (Northern Ireland)

Injuries that are not 'major' but last more than 3 consecutive days (not counting the day of the accident but including non-work days) must be reported to the enforcing authority within 10 days. This applies to accidents connected with work (including physical violence) involving employees or self-employed people working on your premises. You must use form NI2508 to report these injuries.


If a doctor notifies you that your worker (or in Northern Ireland, your employee) suffers from a reportable work-related disease, you must report it to the enforcing authority. In Northern Ireland, you must send a completed disease report form NI2508A to the enforcing authority.

England, Wales and Scotland

Reportable work-related diseases in England, Wales and Scotland include:

  • Occupational asthma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Occupational dermatitis
  • Hand-arm vibration syndrome
  • Severe cramp of the hand or forearm
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm
  • Any occupational cancer
  • Any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent, such as COVID-19. This only applies to COVID-19 where the employee was infected because they were deliberately working with the virus (e.g. in a laboratory, or where the employee was incidentally exposed to the virus due to working in health or social care settings where people are known to be infected with COVID-19).

Northern Ireland

Reportable work-related diseases in Northern Ireland include:

  • Certain poisonings
  • Infections such as leptospirosis, hepatitis, tuberculosis, anthrax, legionellosis, Lyme disease, Q Fever, Ovine or Avian chlamydiosis, Brucellosis, Rabies, Streptococcus sui and tetanus
  • Some skin diseases such as occupational dermatitis, skin cancer, chrome ulcer, oil folliculitis/acne
  • Lung diseases including occupational asthma, farmer's lung, pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma
  • Other conditions such as occupational cancer, certain musculoskeletal disorders, decompression illness and hand-arm vibration syndrome
  • Physically demanding work causing severe or prolonged friction or pressure at or about the knee or elbow

Coronavirus infections or deaths at work if are also reportable if:

  • the infected person was exposed to the virus because of their work, e.g. a health care worker who becomes infected after treating infected patients;
  • the person reporting it has a written diagnosis of COVID-19 by a registered medical practitioner; and
  • the work of the infected person involves one of the specified activities.

In Northern Ireland, you can contact the Employment Medical Advisory Service of the HSENI to check whether a disease is reportable. You can find out more information on the HSENI website.

Dangerous occurrence

A dangerous occurrence is something that did not result in a reportable injury but had the potential to do so. These near-miss events must be reported immediately.

In England, Wales and Scotland, there are 27 categories of dangerous occurrences that are relevant to most workplaces. The list below provides some, but for a full list see either the HSE's online guidance or, for Northern Ireland, Schedule 2 of the Regulations.

In Northern Ireland, you must follow up your report within 10 days by using a completed HSENI report form.

Reportable dangerous occurrences include:

1. Collapse, overturning or failure of load-bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment

2. Explosion, collapse or bursting of any closed vessel or associated pipework

3. Failure of any freight container in any of its load-bearing parts

4. Plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines

5. Electrical short circuit or overload causing fire or explosion

6. Any unintentional explosion such as a misfire, failure of an intended demolition, projection of material beyond a site boundary and any injuries caused by the explosion

7. Accidental release of a biological agent likely to cause severe human illness

8. Failure of industrial radiography or irradiation equipment to de-energise or return to its safe position after the intended exposure period

9. Malfunction of breathing apparatus while in use or during testing immediately before use

10. Failure or endangering of diving equipment, the trapping of a diver, an explosion near a diver, or an uncontrolled ascent

11. Collapse or partial collapse of a scaffold over 5 metres high, or erected near water where there could be a risk of drowning after a fall

12. Unintended collision of a train with any vehicle

13. Dangerous occurrence at a well (other than a water well)

14. Dangerous occurrence at a pipeline

15. Failure of any load-bearing fairground equipment, or derailment or unintended collision of cars or trains

16. A road tanker carrying a dangerous substance overturns, suffers serious damage, catches fire or the substance is released

17. A dangerous substance being conveyed by road is involved in a fire or released

The following dangerous occurrences are reportable except in relation to offshore workplaces:

1. Unintended collapse of any building or structure under construction, alteration or demolition where over five tonnes of material falls, collapse of a wall or floor in a place of work;

2. Explosion or fire causing suspension of normal work for over 24 hours

3. Sudden, uncontrolled release in a building of 100kg or more of flammable liquid, 10kg of flammable liquid above its boiling point, 10kg or more of flammable gas or of 500kg of these substances if the release is in the open air

4. Accidental release of any substance that may damage health

Note: additional categories of dangerous occurrences apply to mines, quarries, relevant transport systems (railways etc.) and offshore workplaces.

Gas Incidents

If you are a distributor, filler, importer or supplier of flammable gas and you learn, either directly or indirectly, that someone has died or suffered a specified or major injury in connection with this gas, then this must be reported immediately.

If you are an installer of gas appliances, and registered in the UK with the Gas Safe Register, you must provide details of any gas appliances or fittings that you consider dangerous to an extent that people could die or suffer a specified injury.

How to report an incident

England, Wales & Scotland

All incidents in England, Wales and Scotland can be reported online via the HSE website.

For further HSE guidance on RIDDOR, see Reporting accidents and incidents at work (PDF) and A guide to Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.

Northern Ireland

Incidents in Northern Ireland should be reported by contacting the local office of the enforcing authority (usually HSENI) by telephone. They will ask for brief details about your business, the injured person and the accident. You must follow this up with a completed HSENI report form, which can be obtained, from the HSENI website.

Keeping records

You must keep a record of any reportable injury, disease or dangerous occurrence. This record must include the date, time and place of the event, personal details of those involved and a brief description of the nature of the event or disease. You can keep the record in any form you wish.

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