- an injury (eg a cut or fracture)
- an illness
- a mental trauma
Major accidents are defined in the Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).
I get a number of questions as to what should and should not be reported after an accident. Hopefully the attached HSE document should help. Make sure you read all the document to fully understand what should and should not be reported.
Always ensure that parents attention is brought to any accident involving a child.
Requirement to inform parents
The Early Years Foundation Stage requires providers, on the child’s admission, to seek parental permission for any necessary emergency medical advice or treatment in the future. Provider must also inform parents of any accidents or injuries sustained by the child while the child is in their care and of any first aid treatment given. It does not give a timescale in which to do this but it is good practice to do this on the same day. This will normally be when the child is collected from the childcare provider. Most providers do this by asking parents to view the record of the accident or injury and to sign to say they have seen it. If you wish to use this type of approach you must also be aware of the data protection rules and not allow parents to view personal information other than that relating to their own child. The requirement to inform parents is more general than that to notify Ofsted and parents should be informed of any accident or injury especially where first aid is necessary. Where a child is picked up by someone other than the child’s parent, with the permission of the parent, we would normally accept that notifying this person is sufficient to satisfy this requirement. You may wish to establish this practice by including it in the information you give to parents. The Childcare Register does not specifically require you to inform parents, but it remains good practice to do so.‘Serious accidents, injuries and deaths that registered providers must notify to Ofsted and local child protection agencies’ (A childcare fact sheet October 2011).
If accidents do occur they should be investigated to prevent them from happening again. The main points to consider when investigating accidents that have caused injuries or damage are:
- ensure that accidents, especially serious ones, are reported immediately;
- ensure any injured people are safe and given appropriate medical or first-aid treatment;
- seal off the scene of the accident – this stops other people getting hurt and will save any evidence;
- record the contact details of any witnesses;
- take photographs or draw a sketch of the accident scene;
- take witness statements – this should be in writing and done as soon aas possible;
- find out what caused the accident and why it happened. Don’t just look at what caused the injury or damage, find the ‘root’ cause, ie the first event that occurred in the series of events that led to the injury or damage;
- decide what you need to do to prevent the same accident happening again, and do it;
- review the actions you have taken to ensure they are effective
- make sure the accident form or book is filled in.
Remember an accident report is a legal document and as such should not be shared or given out without having an audit trail for any requests and ideally these should be made in writing. In some instances It might be advisable to check with your insurance company and or your governing body to ensure that they are happy for the information to be given out and shared. Remember you can’t refuse to show or share the information with parents but it is a legal document so therefore it is advisable to ensure you have an audit trail for such information requests.