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    Reporting Accidents

    The Health & Safety Authority Ireland has issued a very helpful Guide on the Safety Health & Welfare at Work (Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 2016 (updated October 2016) to assist both employers and employees on when they are obliged to report accidents, near-accidents and dangerous occurrences.

    It explains why accident and dangerous occurrences reporting is required, what is reportable, what is not reportable, who should make the report and how the report should be made.

    What is an accident?

    While this may be self-evident, an accident is an unplanned event resulting in death, resulting in an injury such as a severe sprain or strain (for example, manual handling injuries), laceration, a broken bone, concussion or unconsciousness.

    The Safety Health & Welfare Work Act 2005 contains the following definitions:

    • “Accident” means an accident arising out of or in the course of employment which, in the case of a person carrying out work, results in personal injury.
    • “Personal Injury” includes –
    (a) Any injury disease, disability occupation, illness or any impairment of physical or mental condition, and
    (b) Any death,
    That is attributable to work

    Key Points

    The following outlines the key points in relation to reporting of accidents and dangerous occurrences:

    HSA logo


    • Only fatal and non-fatal injuries are reportable. Diseases, Occupational Illnesses or any impairments or mental conditions are not reportable;
    • Fatal accidents must be reported immediately to the Authority or Gardai. Subsequently, the formal report should be submitted to the Authority within 5 working days of the death;
    • Non-fatal accidents or dangerous occurrences should be reported to the Authority within 10 working days of the event;
    • The injury of any employee as a result of an accident while at work where the injury results in the employee being unable to carry out their normal work duties for more than 3 consecutive days, excluding the day of the accident, must be reported


    The Guide proceeds to give situations by way of example where accidents should be reported, and a more detailed reading of the Guide should be undertaken so that both the employee and the employer can familiarise themselves with these situations.

    Who is responsible for reporting?

    While there is normally an assumption that only employers are liable for reporting accidents, the Guide points out that employers, self-employed, landlords, owners and tenants all have a duty to report accidents and dangerous occurrences to the Authority. One of the examples given is that if you are responsible for roadworks and a member of the public is injured by a reversing vehicle in the course of the work and subsequently dies as a result of their injuries, then you must report that accident. Another example given is where there is a road collision involving your employee driving for work and a member of the public driving a car. The member of the public is injured and required to be taken to and treated in hospital or medical facility. In that instance, the accident must be reported to the Authority.

    Other requirements

    The Guide also assists on other issues such as preserving the scene of a fatal accident, when and how reports are to be made and the requirement to keep records.

    Reportable Dangerous Occurrences

    Construction Workers

    Construction Accidents

    While there may be an assumption on the part of the employers that it is only necessary to report actual accidents where employees are injured, the Guide emphasises, in the interests of ensuring that the Health & Safety Authority has data of all possible dangerous occurrences, that dangerous occurrences in certain circumstances are also reportable. For instance, the collapse of, the overturning of, or the failure of any load-bearing part of any lift or lifting equipment, the overturning of any vehicle, the explosion, collapse or bursting of any closed vessel are given as instances of situations where dangerous occurrences are reportable despite the fact that no employee was injured.

    This Guide in of invaluable assistance and should be printed and retained on the desk of all Employers and Safety Representatives

    This BLOG was written by Brian Morgan, Litigation & Employment Law Solicitor with Morgan McManus Solicitors who represents claimants in Road Traffic Claims, Clinical Negligence Claims, Workplace Accident Claims and related Court Actions.