A school can take every reasonable step to keep everyone safe but accidents can and do happen. All accidents should be captured by law in the school Accident Book and some of them will be reportable under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). There will also be a range of less serious incidents such as a nose bleed or a bumped head where it is good practice to also keep a record of the details and inform parents. Whilst there is no legal definition of what is recordable in the Accident Book, many schools will specify an event requiring first aid intervention.
Only certain accidents are reportable under RIDDOR. The first criteria is that the accident must have happened in relation to the workplace and its related activities. For example, asthma that is triggered by a known irritant in the workplace is reportable. However, if an asthma attack is caused by a cold virus, then it’s unrelated to work and isn’t reportable. The responsible person in your school must report accidents to the HSE that happen to students if:
The accident is reportable if it occurred in relation to:
Incidents that are not reportable to RIDDOR include:
To put this guidance into more context let’s look at three examples.
Accident in the School Playground
A student is playing on a swing at break time when the chain snaps and the child hurts their arm requiring a hospital admittal for a fractured arm. This is reportable because the accident was caused by poor maintenance of the playground swings.
Accident during a PE lesson
During a PE lesson, one of the students slips on a wet patch on the gym floor and breaks their foot. The gym floor was mopped before the lesson but not given enough time to dry. The cleaning schedule wasn’t planned well and is an example of poor management of a school activity and so is reportable under RIDDOR.
Accident while students play kickabout at lunch
Some students are using the playing field to play kickabout during their lunch break. One of the students run to kick the ball, but misplace their footing and sprain their ankle. They need to go to hospital for an x-ray, but because the injury was not caused by something related to how the school operates it is not reportable under RIDDOR but it would still go in the Accident Book.
However, whilst some incidents are not reportable under RIDDOR or the Accident Book, it’s still good practice to keep a record of minor incidents such as asthma attacks and keep parents in the loop regards any occurrence so they are fully informed on what happened and what action was taken. The record can be paper or electronic and should include a date, details of the incident, any treatment received with a copy going to the parents ideally with a mechanism for confirming receipt.
SG World’s Incident Reporting solutions give school staff a clear consistent process to follow which will keep parents/guardians informed and generate a central record at the same time – reducing paperwork, capturing all the facts and protecting students and staff alike from breakdowns in communication.