An accident book is used on construction projects to record details of any accidents that occur. This is a requirement of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Companies are legally required to have an accident book on sites that have 10 or more employees.
Details of accidents that must be recorded include:
- The date and time on which it occurred.
- The person who was injured.
- Any witnesses.
- The type and nature of the injuries sustained.
- The cause and full circumstances of the accident.
These details should be entered into the accident book by the injured person or a colleague as soon after the accident as possible. This forms a valuable source of evidence in the event of any legal claims, and can also be valuable for employers helping identify systems or processes that need to be changed to make them safer. For example, if it is clear from examining the accident book that a project has experienced a number of accidents involving the movement of vehicles, then the site management team can take steps to address that particular issue.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend that all forms of accidents are recorded in the accident book, as even small incidents can provide an warning of more severe accidents that could happen in the future. However, RIDDOR identifies the more serious types of accidents which must be reported to HSE as well as being recorded in the book. These include:
- Any injury that stops an employee doing their normal work for a period of 3 days or more.
- Major injuries such as broken arms, ribs, legs, etc.
- Dangerous instance occurring at work such as machinery breaking, scaffolding collapsing and any other appliances defecting and causing damage.
The information contained in the accident book should be kept in an accessible location on site, usually with a nominated person responsible for accident reporting. Information contained in the book should be kept confidential, and to assist with this, accident books may have removable pages. It is a legal requirement that the information in the book is stored safely for a period of three years.
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