The College and Union have a legal responsibility under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to have effective arrangements in place to manage health and safety including the management of accidents, incidents, and near misses. In addition to the above, the College has a duty under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) to report certain types of injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences to the enforcing authorities.
This act outlines responsibilities that the Union and its volunteers (you) must uphold in relation to any accidents, incidents, and near misses that happen as a part of your student group activities. These include:
- A legal duty to take reasonable care of your own health and safety.
- You must also take reasonable care not to put other people (fellow students, members of staff and members of the public) at risk by what you do or don't do in the course of your group activities.
- You must report any accidents, incidents, injuries or illnesses anyone suffers from as a result of taking part in your groups activities or events (the Union may need to change the way you do things).
- You have a duty to report all accidents or near misses experienced at work.
- The Union has a responsibility to hold a record of anything reported and investigate them.
Investigating why accidents and incidents take place is part of building a positive health and safety culture. It helps the Union and committee leaders ensure lessons can be learnt and apply changes to avoid such things reoccurring.
Do you need immediate help?
If you are in an emergency off campus call 999, or if you are in an emergency on campus call Security on 020 7589 1000 from any phone or dial 4444 from any internal handset.
Preventing Accidents, Incidents and Near Misses
Of course, avoiding accident and incidents is the best policy which is why we have the risk management processes such as the annual activities proposal, events proposal form, and the trip proposal form.
Risk assessments help guide your thinking on how to minimise risks, and pre-plan what you would do if an accident did happen. Please ensure the people organising, delivering, or taking part in any of your CSP's activities, events, or trips know what the Risk Assessment includes. This way organisers won’t have to think on their feet in an emergency and individuals know how to handle hazards related to your activities.
Types of accidents and incidents you have to report
You can read here the details of various types and definitions of accidents and incidents, including:
Level 1 - Accident or Incident
Any accident resulting in physical injury to a person while taking part or delivering your students groups activities. This includes field work and other types of off-site work.
Work-related ill health
Any condition believed to be caused by CSP activity, or the environment in which the activity is taking place. Typical examples would include:
- Any condition caused by repetitive movements or inappropriate working positions.
- Skin conditions resulting from repeated exposures to particular agents such as cleaning products.
- Asthma or respiratory problems that could feasibly be attributable to environmental conditions or activities
Any other accident during a group activity resulting in injury that cannot be described as activity related e.g. an injury resulting from a person being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Any undesired event or condition where no injury, ill health, or damage occurs, but potentially could have. Examples would include:
- Any non-compliance with regulations that could have led to an accident.
- Unsafe conditions such as fire risks or faulty equipment, including failure of a control measure.
- Falling or flying objects that do not make contact with individuals or cause any significant property damage.
- Laboratory waste going into the wrong waste stream.
- Failure to adhere to any standard operating procedures or risk assessments.
- Failure identified by statutory testing, e.g. fume cupboard tests, testing equipment under a Written Scheme of Examination
- Failure of building facilities which cause a potential risk to building occupants e.g. lift entrapments, lack of water supply, room temperature problems etc.
Medical issue (not activity-related)
Any incident that is not activity-related and can be ascribed to a medical condition.
Property damage or other loss
Where property or equipment is damaged or some other form of loss occurs, but no injuries are sustained.
Accidents occurring whilst undertaking sports activities on College premises, e.g. muscle strains, sporting injuries etc.
Level 2 - Critical Accidents and Incidents
These are serious incidents which are likely to require emergency services and the professional staff at the College to resolve. This would include:
Dangerous occurrence (RIDDOR Schedule 2 only)
These are very rare in the College/Union and only include Dangerous Occurrences of the type listed under Schedule 2 of the RIDDOR Regulations. They are typically serious incidents including failure of lifting machinery or pressure vessels, explosions, and releases of biological agents.
Incidents where an actual fire occurs.
Breach or potential breach of security such as theft of controlled materials or unauthorised access into restricted areas.
Incidents relating to outside environmental conditions such as release of environmentally damaging materials.
Release of hazardous or controlled material (radioactive)
Release of radioactive material, either to outside the lab, or inside but outside of primary containment.
Release of hazardous or controlled material (biological)
Release of biological agents, either to outside the lab or inside, but outside of primary containment.
Release of hazardous or controlled material (chemical)
Release of a chemical, either to outside the lab, or inside but outside of primary containment.
Accidents and incidents which involve or affect any building or building-related infrastructure.
- Failure of ventilation systems
- Failure of heating systems
- Blocked fire escapes
- Fire alarms not working.
Work environment incident
Any accident relating to an undesirable activity condition, such as foul odours, noise, or inappropriate lighting.
Site partner incident
An incident either in a site partner area, or involving a site partner’s personnel or equipment.
Other types of critical examples include:
- A death or multiple or serious injuries of a participant
- Participants missing, overdue or in other immediate danger
- Serious illness or hospital admission
- Arrest or detention by Police or other security services
- Participants being a victim of a criminal incident
- Serious Road Traffic Accident
- Any situation where the emergency services are involved
- Any situation which is likely to bring the College into disrepute
Step 1 - Stay Calm, Take Action.
Do your best to make sure everyone is safe and ok including yourself.
If you are not comfortable to take charge of the situation, find someone who is. And if possible, ask another person to take on the role of checking that everybody else around is ok.
Do what is necessary at the time to resolve this accident or incident. It is always best to try and stay as calm in a situation and to figure out what action you need to take to resolve the incident or to get help if needed.
If an accident occurs on-campus
- Call security on 020 7589 1000 from any phone or dial 4444 from any internal handset. They can provide first aid or guide you through a situation on the phone if they aren’t able to arrive quickly enough. They can also arrange for the emergency services to come to any campus if required.
If an accident occurs off-campus
- Call 999 for the emergency services if necessary. Call the recovery services for vehicle break downs, take a participant to A&E for a simple injury.
- As soon as possible (when the situation is under control), call Imperial College Security on +44 (0) 20 7589 1000 to report the incident.
Step 2 - Submit an Accident and Incident Report Form
The committee leader in charge of the event or activity should complete an Accident and Incident Report Form.
We use the college's system called SALUS to report all Level 1 and 2 accidents or incidents. Once you open the link above it will ask you to sign in using our college credentials.
When choosing the Faculty/School/Division, please choose 'Other Services' and next choose 'IC Students Union' After this you can choose the relevant category your CSP falls within. If you are not sure what type of incident to choose, you can use the diagram in the FAQ's below.
Accessibility: If you are visually impaired, Salus may not be fully accessible so please log any incidents or near misses by asking another committee member or a member of Students' Union staff to submit the report on your behalf.
Note: The form is also accessible via VPN, so it is possible to complete a report from remote locations (e.g. trips or tours incidents) if necessary.
Step 3 - Investigation (if necessary)
The Union will review all Accident and Report Forms that are submitted. If necessary, we will contact you or your whole committee to notify you that an investigation is going to take place as it may be legally required.
Step 4 - Review and Make Changes
Whether or not there has been an investigation, it is really important that your committee reflect on the report form that has been submitted and whether any changes need to happen within your student activity or events. You may be asked to update your annual or one off risk assessment depending on the severity of the accident or incident.
Investigations of Accidents and Incidents
If a report form is for a serious or severe incident, the Union may be legally required to conduct an investigation. If not legally required, sometimes the Union may wish to conduct one to support the delivery of a positive health and safety culture or because it has had a significant impact on business continuity. The benefits of having an investigation is:
- Investigation of incidents and accidents is key to preventing future accidents.
- The investigation aims to identify causes and to make recommendations in order to prevent or minimise the possibility of it happening again.
If an investigation is necessary in relation to a report you have submitted, the Union will contact you with further information and will aim to conduct an investigation as swiftly as possible.
Should I contact the next of kin?
Under no circumstances should any member of a club society or project contact the next of kin of a fellow participant. If the next of kin needs to be contacted, the college or Union will take the necessary steps to make contact.
Will I get in trouble for reporting an accident or incident?
The staff who answer the College Security Phone have extensive experience in dealing with incidents. Most things have been seen before so do not be afraid of calling. The number is staffed 24 hours, every day of the year. Both the Union and College will support you and whoever is involved in an incident to make sure you can be looked after and supported appropriately.
Calling the phone number and providing information about the incident will also allow a briefing to be given to the College Press Office - this is an important consideration as there is generally a large amount of media interest in incidents involving students.
The Press has got in contact or is asking questions, what shall I say?
Do not talk to the press and certainly do not attempt to sell stories to the press.
Please contact the Students' Union if the press has reached out to about an incident. The Officers of the Union will make official comment if necessary.
Accident Report Form Guidance - What Faculty/School/Division Do I Choose?
The highlighted field is for the Department who has overall responsibility for investigating the incident, and resolving any problems. Please choose 'Other Services' then 'IC Students Union'. This ensures your report will come to the Students' Union properly.
Accident Report Form Guidance - What type of Incident Do I Choose?