In road transport, accident reporting is not confined to just the incidents that occur on the road infrastructure, which may involve one of your commercial vehicles. It also includes the incidents that may occur during:

  • loading or unloading of your vehicles, either at a client’s site location or at your own premises
  • in your workshops
  • at your operating centre to either other vehicles or persons at your premises during manoeuvring
  • an incident caused by a service provider working at your premises

Incidents on the road infrastructure are invariably dealt with by your transport manager, a company manager or director and your insurers.

Incidents that involve staff or vehicles at a client’s site location or at your own premises are invariably dealt with between all companies involved, your insurers and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) via the riddor process.

For the benefit of making this easier to understand, we have divided the subject of accident reporting into accidents/incidents on the roads and those accidents/incidents that occur at a client’s site location or at your own premises.

Accidents/Incidents on the Road

Accident/Incident Procedure

If you are involved in a road traffic collision, there are some steps you must take no matter who was at fault. Not stopping at the scene of an accident or failing to report an accident you are involved in is a serious offence that can result in a hefty fine, disqualification or even prison.

The procedure to be adhered to, if the vehicle you are in charge of is involved in an accident, is as follows:

If you are driving, and:

  • A person, other than yourself, is injured.
  • Damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property – including lamps, signs, bollards, and other street furniture.
  • An animal (horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat, or dog) has been killed or injured, except in your own vehicle or trailer.

Then you must:

  • Stop and remain at the scene for a reasonable period.
  • Give your vehicle registration number, your name and address, and that of the vehicle owner (if different) to anyone with reasonable grounds for asking for those details.
  • Exchange other details that may be required to determine who was at fault. These could include witness details and/or statements and may include a crime number if a police officer attended

If you do not exchange details at the scene, you must report the accident at a police station or to a police constable as soon as you can, and in any case within 24 hours.

If another person is injured, you must produce your certificate of insurance, if anyone at the scene has reasonable grounds to see it. If you do not, you must report the accident at a police station or to a constable as soon as you can and in any case within 24 hours. You will need to produce your certificate of insurance but if you do not have it when reporting the accident to the police, you may take it, within seven days of the accident, to the police station you nominate when you report the incident.

Reporting the accident to the police by telephone is not sufficient and you cannot ask someone else to report for you. You are obliged to do these things not only when you are directly involved in an accident, but also if your vehicle’s ‘presence’ was a factor.

At the scene

Collect and note down as much information – photographs and notes – as you can while at the scene, which should include the following:

  • Date, Time, and Location
  • weather conditions
  • road and traffic conditions
  • road markings/signs/signals
  • number of persons involved (drivers, pedestrians or passengers)


Including the make, model, registration number, colour, condition, estimated speed, direction, use of lights or indicators, number of passengers in third party vehicle.


All contact details, description/distinguishing features of driver(s), contact details of passengers, pedestrians or other witnesses, details of any police officer(s) involved.


A full description of the damage to vehicles or property, and any injuries to people involved.

Photographic Evidence

Photographic evidence of third-party damage, registration plate(s), damage to property, fences, or shrubbery. Also, take photos of the scene and all road markings.

It is invariably company policy that all staff driving upon behalf of the company and/or being in charge of a company vehicle involved in an accident, however small, MUST report the incident immediately to the transport department.

Having gathered all the information at the scene, you are required to report to the transport manager or your line manager to complete an accident report form, inputting all the data you have collected at the scene of the incident. You will also be interviewed by a manager.

Your manager will download any camera data from your vehicle, assuming camera systems are installed, and upon all documentation being completed, will send everything to the company insurers.


Regardless of whether you were at fault or not, under NO circumstances are you to admit liability or make any comment(s) at the scene. Whatever else, you would likely NOT be in the right frame of mind to make that judgement.

Please also be aware that your vehicle being involved in a road traffic accident, where someone has suffered minor injuries or is fatally injured will likely result in the driver being arrested at the scene. Equally, he/she will be given an alcohol and drugs test by the attending police officer(s).

Other factors to consider

During the 2019 updates of the Traffic Commissioners Statutory Documents, of which there are 13 in total from Statutory Document 0 to Statutory Document 12. These documents give a raft of information pertaining to repute of the driver, operator and transport manager as well as notifiable instances that must be referred to the Traffic Commissioners office within the relevant traffic area.

An example of the above could be where a driver is involved in a road traffic collision and fails a drug or breathe test at the scene, and is subsequently cautioned and arrested. In instances such as this, the operator is obliged to notify the TCs office within 28 days.

Health & Safety

Managing health and safety is an integral part of managing your business. You need to do a risk assessment to find out about the risks in your workplace, put sensible measures in place to control them, and make sure they stay controlled.

This section provides information on what you need to consider when managing health and safety and assessing the risks in the workplace. It shows how you can follow a ‘Plan, Do, Check and Act’ approach:

Plan: Describe how you manage health and safety in your business (your legally required policy) and plan to make it happen in practice.

Do: Prioritise and control your risks – consult your employees and provide training and information.

Check: Measure how you are doing.

Act: Learn from your experience.


Planning is the key to ensuring your health and safety arrangements really work. It helps you think through the actions you have set out in your policy and work out how they will happen in practice. Consider:

  • what you want to achieve, eg how you will ensure that your employees and others are kept healthy and safe at work
  • how you will decide what might cause harm to people and whether you are doing enough or need to do more to prevent that harm
  • how you will prioritise the improvements you may need to make
  • who will be responsible for health and safety tasks, what they should do, when and with what results
  • how you will measure and review whether you have achieved what you set out to do

Find out more

If you want more information to help you put suitable arrangements in place, see the

managing for health and safety site

The law

Under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (the HSW Act), you have to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable , the health and safety of yourself and others who may be affected by what you do or do not do. It applies to all work activities and premises and everyone at work has responsibilities under it, including the self-employed.

Employees must take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at work. They must also co-operate with employers and co-workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also apply to every work activity and workplace and require all risks to be assessed and, where necessary, controlled.

Controlling the Risks

As part of managing the health and safety of your business, you must control the risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.

This process is known as risk assessment and it is something you are required by law to carry out. If you have fewer than five employees, you do not have to write anything down.

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.

You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have covered all you need to.

Identify the hazards

One of the most important aspects of your risk assessment is accurately identifying the potential hazards in your workplace.

A good starting point is to walk around your workplace and think about any hazards (things that may cause harm). In other words, what is it about the activities, processes or substances used that could injure your employees or harm their health?

When you work in a place every day it is easy to overlook some hazards, so here are some tips to help you identify the ones that matter:

Check manufacturers’ instructions or data sheets for chemicals and equipment, as they can be very helpful in explaining the hazards and putting them in their true perspective.

Look back at your accident and ill health records – these often help to identify the less obvious hazards

Take account of non-routine operations (eg maintenance, cleaning operations or changes in production cycles)

Remember to think about long-term hazards to health (eg high levels of noise or exposure to harmful substances)

There are some hazards with a recognised risk of harm, for example working at height, working with chemicals, machinery, and asbestos. Depending on the type of work you do, there may be other hazards that are relevant to your business.

Who might be harmed?

Then think how employees (or others who may be present such as contractors or visitors) might be harmed. Ask your employees what they think the hazards are, as they may notice things that are not obvious to you and may have some good ideas on how to control the risks.

For each hazard you need to be clear about who might be harmed – it will help you identify the best way of controlling the risk. That does not mean listing everyone by name, but rather identifying groups of people (eg ‘people working in the storeroom’ or ‘passers-by’).


Some workers may have particular requirements, for example new and young workers, migrant workers, new or expectant mothers, people with disabilities, temporary workers, contractors, homeworkers and lone workers (see your workers)

Think about people who might not be in the workplace all the time, such as visitors, contractors and maintenance workers.

Take members of the public into account if they could be harmed by your work activities.

If you share a workplace with another business, consider how your work affects others and how their work affects you and your workers. Talk to each other and make sure controls are in place.

Ask your workers if there is anyone you may have missed.

Evaluate the risks

Having identified the hazards, you then have to decide how likely it is that harm will occur, ie the level of risk and what to do about it. Risk is a part of everyday life and you are not expected to eliminate all risks. What you must do is make sure you know about the main risks and the things you need to do to manage them responsibly. Generally, you need to do everything reasonably practicable to protect people from harm.

Your risk assessment should only include what you could reasonably be expected to know – you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks.

Look at what you are already doing and the control measures you already have in place. Ask yourself:

  • Can I get rid of the hazard altogether?
  • If not, how can I control the risks so that harm is unlikely?

Some practical steps you could take include:

  • trying a less risky option
  • preventing access to the hazards
  • organising your work to reduce exposure to the hazard
  • issuing protective equipment
  • providing welfare facilities such as first-aid and washing facilities
  • involving and consulting with workers

Improving health and safety need not cost a lot. For instance, placing a mirror on a blind corner to help prevent vehicle accidents is a low-cost precaution considering the risks. Failure to take simple precautions can cost you a lot more if an accident does happen.

Involve your workers, so you can be sure that what you propose to do will work in practice and will not introduce any new hazards.

If you control a number of similar workplaces containing similar activities, you can produce a ‘model’ risk assessment reflecting the common hazards and risks associated with these activities.

You may also come across ‘model’ assessments developed by trade associations, employers’ bodies or other organisations concerned with a particular activity. You may decide to apply these ‘model’ assessments at each workplace, but you can only do so if you:

  • satisfy yourself that the ‘model’ assessment is appropriate to your type of work
  • adapt the ‘model’ to the detail of your own work situations, including any extension necessary to cover hazards and risks not referred to in the ‘model’

Record your findings

Make a record of your significant findings – the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks. Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls.

If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. However, it is useful to do this so you can review it later, for example if something changes. If you have five or more employees, you are required by law to write it down.

Any paperwork you produce should help you to communicate and manage the risks in your business. For most people this does not need to be a big exercise – just note the main points down about the significant risks and what you concluded.

An easy way to record your findings is to use our risk assessment template. When writing down your results keep it simple, for example ‘fume from welding – local exhaust ventilation used and regularly checked’.

A risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, ie it should show that:

  • a proper check was made
  • you asked who might be affected
  • you dealt with all the obvious significant hazards, taking into account the number of people who could be involved
  • the precautions are reasonable, and the remaining risk is low
  • you involved your employees or their representatives in the process

Where the nature of your work changes fairly frequently or the workplace changes and develops (eg a construction site), or where your workers move from site to site, your risk assessment may have to concentrate more on a broad range of risks that can be anticipated.

Look at the HSE selection of example risk assessments. They show you what a completed risk assessment might look like for your type of workplace. You can use these as a guide when doing your own. If your risk assessment identifies a number of hazards, you need to put them in order of importance and address the most serious risks first.

If your risk assessment identifies a number of hazards, you need to put them in order of importance and address the most serious risks first.

Identify long-term solutions for the risks with the biggest consequences, as well as those risks most likely to cause accidents or ill health. You should also establish whether there are improvements that can be implemented quickly, even temporarily, until controls that are more reliable can be put in place.

Remember, the greater the hazard the more robust and reliable the measures to control the risk of an injury occurring need to be.

Regularly review your risk assessment

Few workplaces stay the same. Eventually, you will bring in new equipment, substances and procedures that could lead to new hazards. Therefore, it makes sense to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis, look at your risk assessment again and ask yourself:

  • Have there been any significant changes?
  • Are there improvements you still need to make?
  • Have your workers spotted a problem?
  • Have you learnt anything from accidents or near misses?

Make sure your risk assessment stays up to date.

Find out more – Managing risks and risk assessment at work

Source – Health & Safety Executive