Should I Report a Workplace Incident?

Accident Book When something happens in the workplace that causes injury to a colleague, customer or member of the public, there’s very often the question asked as to whether someone should report that incident.

People sometimes worry that more work could be created by reporting a workplace incident. This may, in fact, be true as in some cases, if it’s a serious problem then it could result in a further inquiry.People can naturally be put off, and so it’s probably the case that many accidents go unreported and therefore potential dangers to others still exist.

Of course, that is the main point here. When someone has an accident or someone is injured for whatever reason, if it’s not dealt with then that reason could still exist. Someone else could easily fall foul of the problem and end up injured and it might be that it was a perfectly avoidable problem.

For example, if someone were to trip on their exit from a building due to a raised paving stone then they might simply ignore it and move on. But if someone else, who is perhaps not as steady on their feet trips up, a severe accident could occur. Falling from even a small height can cause injury or even death.

If, however, someone reports the initial accident then, something can be done about the issue. For a start – why is the paving stone in that condition? It could be that there is a burst pipe underneath and so reporting it would mean someone could find a bigger issue and solve it before it becomes a problem.

As a part of your general health and safety policy, it is always a good idea to have an accident book so all workplace related incidents can be recorded. However, there should also be a policy to look at the book regularly and address issues raised. If incidents are reported and yet don’t go investigated then it could mean others being injured.

Dispelling blame culture

Of course, if there is a problem that causes an injury then there’s a chance someone is responsible for that problem. This could lead to a “blame” being levelled at someone, however you should avoid this at all costs.

Unless there is evidence of gross misconduct or a regular flouting of the company rules, it’s almost never a good idea to pick out someone to blame. Simply deal with the issue, inform the person responsible and then, if necessary, suggest how it could have been avoided, maybe consider extra training.

It is the employer's duty to maintain safety in the workplace, and this includes maintaining an atmosphere free from blame and allowing people to report problems openly.