When to report workplace accidents
An accident report should be filled out immediately or no more than 24 hours following an accident or incident even if the injury caused by the accident is minor.
Encourage your employees to report accidents as soon as possible to prevent minor accidents from becoming expensive claims. This provides your company with the time you need to better investigate the accident, collect any evidence and interview witnesses while they can still clearly remember the accident. Early reporting also allows you to explain the claims process to the employee.
What goes into an accident report?
If an accident occurs at your workplace, you must include specific elements to ensure you cover essential details. Here are some things you may include in an accident report:
- The affected person’s information: Include the name of the person affected by the accident, their position and the name of their supervisor.
- Your name and job title: Include your name and job title as well so your insurance knows who to contact if they have any questions about the report.
- The details of the accident: Include as many details as you can about the accident. Describe what happened, who was there, what time it happened and what was done to help the affected person.
- The parts of the body that were affected: If the person was injured in the accident, you must record what parts of their body were injured. Try to simply write down your observations rather than giving a diagnosis.
- Corrective actions: Assess the data you have collected and determine what policies you can adopt to avoid similar accidents in the future.
- Medical treatment: Include information about any medical treatment the affected person has received in relation to the accident.
Best practices for reporting accidents in the workplace
Here are some best practices you may take into consideration when you report accidents in your workplace:
Make your team aware of your company’s processes and policies
Implement a safety training program for your employees, and provide them easy access to workplace policies, procedures and other supporting documents. After you train your leaders and employees, guide them through the reporting process so they learn how to create a report to collect relevant details and information about the accident at the proper time.
Related: Onboarding Guide
Take care of the affected person first
Before the reporting process begins, take care of the person affected by the accident. Ask them if they sustained any injuries and if they need immediate medical attention. Arrange for emergency medical care if needed.
Collect important data immediately
After an accident is reported or witnessed, collect important data and information as soon as possible. You may use paper forms to collect this data, or your company may download reporting software that helps streamline the data collection and accident reporting process.
Investigate the cause of the accident
The data you collect helps you to identify the "why", "what" and "how" questions related to the accident. These details help you to investigate further to determine the root cause of the accident.
In some cases, you may need to take videos or photographs to capture the environmental conditions and damage to the area or equipment.
Record your observations about injuries sustained from the accident
Write down whether the affected person sustained any injuries from the accident. Include the severity of the injuries and what they look like if they are visible.
Collect eyewitness accounts
If the accident occurred in front of other people, make sure to interview them and write down their account of what happened.
Sample accident report
Here is an example of an accident report that you may use as a reference to formulate your own accident reports:
Name: Evan Williams
Job title: Stocking associate
Employee #: 568795
Home address: 1225 N Second St Westminster, CA
Phone #: 714.555.5555
Supervisor name: Hector De la Rosa
Supervisor email: Hector.Delarosa@email.com
Location of accident: Stock room
Date of accident: 01/06/2020
Time of accident: 1:35 PM
Did the accident cause an injury?: Yes. The employee sustained minor cuts and scrapes on his arms and legs.
Witnesses: Gary Schultz, Cynthia Reyes and Josh Berger
Accident description: Evan Williams was stocking a new shipment around 1:35 PM. According to Gary and Josh, Evan was following company safety protocol while stocking the warehouse. He wasn’t using any heavy machinery at the time of his accident. Evan walked from his post to get a drink of water and tripped over a power cord that was being used by our vendor, Concrete Fixers. Evan then fell into a stock shelf, and several boxes fell from the shelves. He fell down and 10 boxes, all less than 25 pounds, fell on him. His nearby co-workers, Gary and Josh, rushed over to help him up and make sure he was alright. Cynthia, the stock floor manager, reported the accident to me right away.
Evan appeared coherent and responded to questions about the accident. He neglected immediate medical attention when it was offered to him.
FAQs about reporting workplace accidents
Here are some frequently asked questions about reporting accidents in the workplace that may provide you with more information.
Why is it important to report workplace accidents?
It is important to report workplace accidents to get your employees the proper medical care if an injury has been sustained. Reporting workplace accidents also helps you learn how to avoid similar accidents in the future.
Who is responsible for reporting workplace accidents?
Any employee who is involved in an accident or witnesses an accident is responsible for reporting workplace accidents to one of their supervisors.
What are some common workplace accidents?
Some of the most common workplace accidents include the following:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Falls from heights such as ladders, scaffolding and roofing
- Power tool accidents
- Equipment and machinery accidents
- Lifting accidents
- Construction site accidents