Why report incidents?

It is important to keep records of any accidents, incidents or safety concerns during the work that you are managing. 

Primarily this is to provide useful data that can be used to improve safe systems of work your control measures, unless you track when things go wrong you won't know what needs to be fixed. 

There is a theory called the 'Safety Triangle' which Frank E. Bird, Jr proposed based on the findings of H.W.Heinrich in his book, Industrial Accident Prevention. Following an analysis of accidents across a large number of companies the following ratio of incidents was discovered. 

Safety Triangle

What this means is that statistically on average, for every 600 Non Injury Incidents (or near misses) there were 30 accidents, for every 30 accidents there were 10 serious injuries and for every 10 serious injuries there was 1 fatality. 

The report was issued in 1969 and included data from a wide set of industries, more recent studies have argued for updating the ratios for specific industries based on new data but the principle is still sound. 

The more non-serious incidents of poor safety you have, the more likely you are to have a more serious incident. 

The more effectively you can track & address gaps in your safety management highlighted by your incidents & near misses, the fewer will occur which in turn will reduce the likelihood of a more serious accident occurring. 

Incident reports can also provide authorities with information that may be requested at a later date for legal proceedings, in the event of an investigation a detailed initial report is vital to the investigating team to be able to determine the causes of the accident. 

Detailed incident reports can also be used to demonstrate due diligence when managing a project.


We've based our report definitions on the guidance provided by the Health & Safety Executive on  Accidents and Investigations. 

Safety Concern - A set of conditions or circumstances that have the potential to cause injury or ill health 

eg. untrained stage crew leaving flight cases unattended on a sloping stage.

This is for your team to highlight any safety concerns they have or ideas for improving safety to the management. 

Incident - An event or near miss not causing harm, but that had the potential to cause injury, ill health or damage to property 

eg. a flight case rolled off a stage but no one was nearby and no damage was caused.

Report incidents and near misses to avoid more serious accidents occurring in future. 

Accident - An untoward event or unexpected happening that resulted in injury, ill health or damage to property 

eg. a flight case rolled off a stage that landed on someone, or a forklift damaging a truck it was unloading.

Report accidents to allow investigations to determine the root causes and improve safety measures to stop them reoccurring. 


In the case of a  specified injury on site, the information may need to also be passed on to the HSE in line with RIDDOR 2013(Reporting of Incidents, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).

These injuries include:

  • Death
  • Hospitalisation of a third party (for example a member of the public)
  • An employee being unable to return to work after 7 days due to an accident at work
  • Fractures (excluding fingers, toes or thumbs)
  • Amputation
  • Dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
  • Loss of sight
  • Chemical or hot metal burn
  • Penetrating injury to the eye
  • Injury leading to unconsciousness or which results in the person being detained in hospital for more than 24 hours
  • An acute illness requiring medical treatment arising from exposure to biological agent or other substance.

Confidentiality and data protection

Accident report forms should include consent for disclosure to a third party for you to inform representatives, such as accident investigators. 

If you do not have consent to share information in the accident record, you can give health and safety representatives anonymous information about the incident. In this case you should consult your employees and their representatives about arrangements to share information so that you can make the best use of the information but also meet data protection requirements.

Accident report forms should be kept for a minimum of three years.

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