What should be covered in the School Accident Reporting Policy?

What is the purpose of an Accident Reporting Policy?

An accident reporting policy should clearly outline the procedures that need to be followed if anybody experiences an accident, injury, near miss or dangerous occurrence either on school premises or during the course of school activities, such as on school trips.
It’s helpful to actually define the school’s interpretation of an accident and a near miss:

  • an accident is defined as an unplanned event that causes injury to persons, damage to property or a combination of both
  • a near miss is defined as an unplanned event that does not cause injury or damage, but could do so.

The policy should require all accidents are reported, recorded and reviewed because in the absence of a robust reporting process, a school will be unable to identify what is wrong and take remedial action. The policy requirements should apply to all school staff and managers, temporary staff such as agency workers, and non-employees such as pupils, parents and visitors. Include a commitment to provide suitable information and training on accident management, emergency response and incident reporting.

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Setting out safety priorities in your policy

People’s safety and welfare are the top priority and any accident or incident needs to be managed in a way which contains and eliminates any danger and minimises risk. Immediate first aid or emergency medical treatment should be sought where there are injuries. Include any specific guidance e.g.

  • Pupils who are injured should be accompanied to the medical room.
  • Any pupil with a head injury should be sent to hospital for assessment.
  • If a danger or risk of further injury exists staff or managers attending the incident should ensure that people are removed to a place of safety. Appropriate assistance should be called.
  • Incidents should be escalated to the senior leadership team or Headteacher as appropriate to their perceived severity.

Outlining RIDDOR requirements in your policy

Every school has legal duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) to report certain serious accidents and incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). An accident reporting policy should reflect these legal requirements.
The following must be reported under RIDDOR:

  • accidents resulting in death or major injury must be reported immediately
  • any incident that results in over seven consecutive days of incapacity for work must be reported within 15 days.
  • Certain dangerous occurrences, including physical acts of violence to staff, and certain reportable diseases and medical conditions must also be made as specified in Schedule 1, Part 2 of RIDDOR.
  • Over-three-day injuries are not subject to RIDDOR reporting but a record of them must be kept in the accident book.

All incidents that might require RIDDOR notification should be escalated to the Headteacher and the senior leadership team immediately. RIDDOR reports should be made in person by the Headteacher or by the designated lead for health and safety.

Fatal and specified incidents only should be reported by calling the HSE RIDDOR Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923 (opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5 pm). All other reports should be made using the RIDDOR online reporting facility on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/riddor.

Records/copies of RIDDOR reports must be saved by the person making the report and kept within the relevant page of the accident book.

Injuries to pupils and visitors who are involved in an accident at school or on an activity organised by the school are only reportable under RIDDOR if the accident results in:

  • the death of the person, and arose out of or in connection with a work activity or
  • an injury that arose out of or in connection with a work activity and the person is taken directly from the scene of the accident to hospital for treatment (examinations and diagnostic tests do not constitute treatment).

Defining accident & incident reporting procedures

An accident reporting policy should set out the procedure for reporting incidents or accidents.

  • Who needs to be informed – line manager, senior staff member or school head?.
  • When must the report be submitted i.e. school staff have a duty to ensure that all accidents and near misses are reported as soon as is practicable.
  • What is the procedure for reporting injuries which occur while carrying out work duties off site, such as on school trips?
  • If an injury means an employee is unable to make an accident report, what are the provisions for a colleague or witness to enter the report? What is the follow-up for recording the victim’s account as soon as possible after the event?
  • What are the provisions for recording injuries to pupils, visitors or contractors?

What is the role of the School Accident Book?

Schools must define what type of accident/incident needs to be recorded in the Accident Book - a bumped head, an asthma attack, an upset stomach?. Let people know where the Accident Book is kept, who is responsible for it and its legal status.

Most accidents will not be reportable under RIDDOR and some incidents may be viewed as minor enough not to warrant a full Accident Book report. However a school may also have a procedure to record minor incidents such a short nosebleed and keep parents in the loop regards any occurrence, so they are fully informed on what happened and any action that was taken.

All near misses must also be reported as soon as possible so that action can be taken to investigate the causes and to prevent recurrence.

bigstock-Word-Lessons-Learned-Written-O-234002551Review and Investigation

In order for lessons to be learnt, the school accident reporting policy must set out a review and investigation procedure to ascertain the exact circumstances and the root causes. Identify who needs to be included in the review process e.g. the Headteacher, senior management team and school governors, in conjunction with staff health and safety representatives. The policy itself should be signed and dated with a note of the next review date.

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