Accidents can occur in almost any place: institutions of learning, places of work such as offices or entertainment venues. Both individuals and companies have a duty to report any accident they might have suffered while at these places, and, in the majority of cases, companies or institutions will have drawn up a list of procedures, available to all staff, which regulates the reporting of accidents and how these should be investigated.
What is the Importance of Accident Reporting?
An accident in a workplace or venue could happen for many reasons, and, at the time of the incident, the factor or multiple factors which caused the accident might not be immediately evident. Reporting an accident enables an investigation to take place into the cause of the accident. The aim of this investigation will be to find out the root cause of the accident. The environmental factors and circumstances present at the time of the accident will be taken into account, allowing investigators to discover any underlying problems.
Read More: How to Write an Accident Report
Legal Consequences of Not Reporting an Accident At Work
In many countries, places of work, buildings and other venues are covered by laws which ensure that the company operates in a safe manner. In the event of an accident, companies will have certain procedures to follow to avoid breaking these laws; it’s likely that as part of these procedures, companies will have to declare an accident after it’s happened and then investigate as needed.
By not following these procedures, companies run the risk of being hit by a lawsuit or being placed under investigation by a regulatory body; for example, in the United States, a company could be investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Short and Long-Term Benefits
In the short-term, the cause of an accident might still pose an immediate threat to other staff or visitors in the area, and so it is important that those in charge are made aware of risks as quickly as possible. When accidents are reported as soon as they occur, companies are made aware of which health and safety procedures are working and which are not. Any dangerous equipment can be repaired or removed, and areas which are unsafe can be investigated and potentially placed off-limits. Ultimately, reporting accidents allows for a safer environment for staff and members of the public.
Threats to Health and Safety
On the other hand, should an accident go unreported, there’s always the chance that an accident of that type could happen again. For example, if a piece of machinery or other equipment causes a minor accident, that equipment is clearly unsafe. Allowing a very minor incident to go unreported means that the appropriate action won’t be taken to make that equipment safe or to have it replaced, and so a much worse accident could befall a future user of the equipment.
Reporting accidents and incidents at work is crucial so the business can take steps to ensure that a similar accident never happens again.
Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.