Work accident report forms: take time before you sign
Coodes Solicitors’ paralegal Toby Szczur says it is vital not to sign a workplace accident form unless you agree with everything your employer has written.
If you have an accident at work, your employer has a legal obligation to record it in an accident book. If the incident is serious and falls into one of a number of specified categories, your employer will also need to complete a RIDDOR report.
This record of your accident will provide vital evidence if you want to claim compensation. That’s why it’s important to ensure you agree with your employer’s account of the accident before you sign the form.
Signing a workplace accident book
By law, any employer with 10 or more employees has to hold a work accident book. It could be held digitally or may be a physical document. If you have an accident while working on their premises, they will need to record the following details:
- The date and time of the accident
- The name of the individual who was injured
- The cause of the accident
- The nature of any injuries
- Signatures from you and your employer
If you want to pursue a personal injury claim against your employer, this record of the accident will become evidence in your case. Therefore, it is crucial that you are completely confident that it is an accurate description of events. Your signature acts as confirmation that you agree with what has been written on the form. Once you have signed the form, it is too late to change it. So, take time to review what has been written and do not sign anything that you are not happy with.
When your personal injury lawyer starts gathering information about your claim, they will want to see the accident report form. If it does not reflect the true nature of the incident and the injuries you sustained, this could significantly affect your ability to claim compensation.
Carefully reading the form before you sign it is also important because the accident report book should help inform changes in practices in the workplace. If, for example, there are a series of accidents relating to a particular piece of equipment, your employer may need to introduce better staff training.
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What is a RIDDOR report?
RIDDOR stands for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. It is one of the laws that employers must comply with to keep employees safe at work. It includes notifying the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of particular types of workplace accidents.
If your injury is on the list included in RIDDOR, your employer will need to submit an online form. The specified injuries that require reporting through RIDDOR, include amputations, serious burns and any injury likely to cause the loss or reduction of sight. They also include accidents that have led to an employee being off work for more than seven days.
Whether your accident warrants a RIDDOR report or not, it must be recorded in the work accident book. Crucially, you must ensure all the facts are included and correct before you sign.