Accident, incident, disease and near miss reporting

1      Introduction

As part of the University’s arrangements for the management of health and safety, all accidents and incidents, i.e. those involving injury, fire, impersonal incidents (non-injury events involving only property damage) and near misses, must be reported promptly to the University Safety Office on fully completed Accident/Incident Report Forms. Cases of suspected occupationally-related ill health should be reported to the University Occupational Health Service.

Near misses are incidents that did not result in injury, illness, or damage but which had the potential to do so. Recognizing and reporting these incidents can provide opportunities to learn lessons that prevent future injury or damage. Staff and students should be actively encouraged to report near misses without fear of blame.

2. Accident/Incident report forms

The University Safety Office issues pads of uniquely numbered multi-part forms to departments and institutions. They should ensure their staff and students understand the importance of completing the forms and know where to find them when needed. Named individuals should be made responsible for their safe keeping and for forwarding completed forms promptly to the Safety Office. This enables the Safety Office to investigate and make any statutory reports to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) where necessary, to monitor and review accident trends, and to recommend any remedial action. The form also satisfies the requirements of social security and first aid legislation to keep a record of accidents and first aid treatment at work.

The information on the forms is processed in accordance with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. It is used only for the purpose of monitoring the University’s health and safety performance and discharging other duties under health and safety legislation.

3. Reporting to the Health and Safety Executive

Certain categories of injury and disease or other incidents (“dangerous occurrences”) must be reported to the HSE within a period defined by legislation (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, “RIDDOR”). The Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000 require the separate reporting to the HSE of any incident involving a significant and unintended release of genetically modified organisms (including micro-organisms) that presents an immediate or delayed hazard to human health or to the environment.

The decision on whether to make a statutory report to the HSE, and the report itself, will be made by the University Safety Office:

(a)  Any death occurring as a result of work activities must be reported by the quickest possible means and followed up in writing within 10 days.

(b)  Any specified injury to an employee, or a dangerous occurrence as defined in the Regulations (see Appendix 1), must be reported by the quickest possible means and followed up in writing within 10 days.

(c)  Accidents to students and to members of the public or other visitors, which arise out of or in connection with work and result in them being taken to hospital for treatment, must also be reported to HSE in this way.

(d)  If an employee is incapacitated for more than seven consecutive days following an injury at work, a report must be made in writing within 15 days of the accident. “Incapacitated” means the employee is either absent from work or unable to carry out any work that they would reasonably be expected to normally carry out. “Seven consecutive days” does not include the day of the accident but does include weekends and any scheduled rest days.

Compliance with this reporting timetable relies on prompt reporting to the Safety Office. Departments/institutions are urged to ensure that their local arrangements support this and do not add unnecessary delays (e.g. by requiring additional countersignatures before submitting the forms to the Safety Office).

Copies of reports to the HSE are available to the recognised trade unions, as required by the Safety Committees and Safety Representatives Regulations 1977.

4. Occupational Health

Cases of suspected occupationally-related ill health should be reported without delay to the University Occupational Health Service. The Service will aim to establish a diagnosis, in conjunction with the individual’s medical advisers if necessary. Incidents suspected of giving rise directly to such cases (e.g. a spillage or release of hazardous substances, or a specific manual handling incident) should be reported to the Safety Office on an Accident/Incident Report Form.

Some occupational diseases in employees (see Appendix 1) are reportable to the HSE if the University receives a written diagnosis from a registered medical practitioner. A doctor would normally make such a disclosure to an employer only with the individual’s informed consent. The reporting system required by RIDDOR and by this policy statement does not alter this aspect of the normal ethical considerations in a doctor-patient relationship. There may be occasions when an individual’s consent is withheld and an Occupational Physician may make an anonymised report to the Safety Office so that a potentially hazardous environment can be assessed without compromising an individual’s confidentiality. (Some types of occupationally-related ill health may indicate a breakdown in control measures, which may adversely affect other individuals in the same environment.)

5. Investigation of accidents and incidents

The University Safety Office may investigate accidents or incidents where reporting to the HSE is required and will also investigate reports of occupational ill health that suggest a deficiency in control measures. This is not intended to preclude local investigations, which should be carried out by departmental safety personnel or other relevant staff with the help of area/divisional safety officers where required.

6. Review of accidents and incidents

Departments and institutions are expected to review accidents and incidents at departmental safety committee meetings, in order to identify trends and possible improvements to working practices.  In doing this, care should be taken not to compromise the principles of data protection and personal details should be anonymised as necessary.

The University Safety Office will notify the head of department/institution and the relevant head of division or Pro-Vice-Chancellor when a RIDDOR report has been made to the HSE. A summary report will be made each term to the Health and Safety Management Sub-Committee.

7. Action following a serious incident

Following any specified injury to staff, students, members of the public or other visitors, including contractors, or any dangerous occurrence (see Appendix 1 for definitions)

  • arrange for first aid assistance, or the emergency services if necessary
  • immediately notify the University Safety Office (tel.(2)70811, fax (2)70816)
  • out of normal office hours contact the Security Centre Control Room (tel.(2)89999) and they will contact a member of the Safety Office
  • as soon as possible, complete an Accident/Incident Report Form. Send the top (white) form to the University Safety Office, 10 Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PD and retain the yellow copy in departmental records.
  • do not disturb the scene of the incident except to deal with continuing risk to people or property in case investigation by the HSE, the University Safety Office or trade union safety representatives is required. The Safety Office will make the necessary arrangements for such investigations.

8. Action following other incidents

Minor injuries, spillages, fires, explosions and near misses should be reported without undue delay to the Safety Office on an Accident/Incident Report Form. Cases of suspected occupational disease should be reported directly to the University Occupational Health Service. See Appendix 1 for further details.



October 2013                                                                                                             

A Kendall