Reporting of Accidents in the Workplace-the Legal Obligations

Many accidents in the workplace must be reported to the Health and Safety Authority, as provided for in the SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE AT WORK (GENERAL


What must be reported are

  1. Accidents and
  2. Dangerous occurrences

Workplace accidents

So, which accidents must be reported?

  1. Where an employee dies as a result of a workplace accident
  2. An employee, as a result of an accident at work, is prevented from performing their normal work for more than 3 consecutive days
  3. An employee dies within one year of a workplace accident
  4. Where a person suffers an injury requiring them to be taken to receive treatment in a hospital or medical facility

The reporting should be done be “a responsible person”, generally the employer, within 5 or 10 working days-5 days in the case of a death, 10 days in the case of a non-fatal injury or dangerous occurrence.

The employer must keep records and evidence safe until the place of the accident has been inspected by a HSA inspector.

Records of such accidents must be kept for 10 years from the date of the accident.

Dangerous occurrences

So, what is a dangerous occurrence? There is a list of such occurrences set out in the regulations and include

  • The collapse or failure or overturning of equipment or machinery such as an excavator or vehicle or mobile machine/trailer etc.
  • Pressure vessels-the explosion or bursting of any closed vessel, for example a boiler or boiler tube
  • An explosion or fire
  • The escape of flammable substances
  • Collapse of scaffolding
  • Collapse of a building
  • Escape of a substance
  • An accident with explosives
  • The failure of a freight container
  • The bursting or explosion of a pipeline
  • The failure of a breathing apparatus
  • Any accident involving overhead electric lines
  • The bursting of a vessel
  • Any collapse of accident involving a wind turbine

Read the regulations here.

Following these guidelines-why it makes sense

Following these guidelines is strongly advisable for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the employer is leaving himself open to penalties, including hefty fines and criminal prosecutions, for breach of health and safety laws and regulations.

Furthermore, it will be immensely more difficult for an employer to defend himself in a personal injury claim if he has failed to follow the regulations and discharge his statutory health and safety obligations. Liability is more likely to follow if the employer is shown to be someone who does not take his health and safety obligations seriously.