First aid and accident reporting

First aid and accident reporting

What do you do if there’s an accident at work?

First aid means treating minor injuries at work and giving immediate attention to more serious casualties until medical help is available. Through this initial management of injury or illness suffered at work, lives can be saved and minor injuries prevented from becoming major ones. Reporting accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement. The enforcing authorities use the information to see the big picture of where injuries, ill health and accidental losses are occurring, and to advise on preventive action.

Do you have at least the minimum firstaid provision at your workplace? As an employer you must provide firstaid equipment, facilities and personnel appropriate for the circumstances in your workplace. The minimum would be a suitably stocked firstaid box and a person appointed to take charge of firstaid arrangements.
Do you know whether you might need to provide more than the minimum?
Do you know which accidents and ill health cases to report, including who should do it, when and how? Employers, the selfemployed and people incontrol of work premises all have duties.
Do you know what accidents cost – and that insurance policies do not cover all the costs?

What law applies?

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)

An example of a health & safety policy statement

Health and safety policy statement

Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

This is the Health and Safety Policy Statement of;

Our statement of general policy is:

to provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from our work activities;
to consult with our employees on matters affecting their health and safety;
to provide and maintain safe plant and equipment;
to ensure safe handling and use of substances;
to provide information, instruction and supervision for employees;
to ensure all employees are competent to do their tasks, and to give them adequate training;
to prevent accidents and cases of workrelated ill health;
to maintain safe and healthy working conditions; and
to review and revise this policy as necessary at regular intervals.

Your risk assessment

Risk assessment helps you protect your workers and your business, as well as comply with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter – the ones with the potential to cause real harm. A risk assessment is simply a careful examination of what in your work could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The law does not expect you to eliminate all risk, but you are required to protect people ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.

When thinking about your risk assessment, remember:

a hazard is anything that may cause harm, such as chemicals, electricity, working from ladders, an open drawer;
the risk is the chance, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by these and other hazards, together with an indication of how serious the harm could be.

Step 1 Identify the hazards

First you need to work out how people could be harmed.
Step 2 Decide who might be harmed and how Identify groups of people who might be harmed and how they might be harmed, eg ‘shelf stackers may suffer back injury from repeated lifting of boxes’.

Step 3 Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions. Having spotted the hazards, you then need to decide what to do about them. Compare what you currently do with what’s accepted as good practice. If there is a difference, list what needs to be done.

When controlling risks, apply these principles, if possible in this order:

Try a less risky option.
Prevent access to the hazard.
Organise work to reduce exposure to the hazard.
Issue personal protective equipment.
Provide welfare facilities.

Step 4 Record your findings and implement them. If you employ five or more people, the law requires you to record your findings. You can download a form from When writing down your results, keep it simple. If, like many businesses, you find that there are quite a lot of improvements that you could make, don’t try to do everything at once. Make a plan of action to deal with the most important things first.

Step 5 Review your risk assessment and update if necessary

Few workplaces stay the same, so it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis. Every year or so, formally review where you are to make sure you are still improving, or at least not sliding back. Set a date for the review and put it in your diary so you don’t forget it.