Monday 10 September 2012

Accident Reporting Conundrum.

I reported a near miss accident earlier this year to British Waterways by telephone. When we helped with the rescue of a lady who had fallen into a lock whilst operating the lock paddle equipment. I requested that BW should check out the broken equipment. BW in their wisdom wanted me to fill in a form that they would mail to me. I pointed out that it would be weeks if not months before we returned home.

The CART website says "If you do have an accident or near-miss, you should report it to the local waterway office or member of staff on the bank. Your report could help to save others."
Do you know who or where the local waterways office is?
How often do you see a CART member of staff on the bank?
Can you report accidents and near misses to volunteers?

Imagine my surprise to find out recently that the BW/CART accident reporting procedure is in my opinion flawed.  

Quote from BW in a FoI request. "Where reports are made by a witness rather than the involved party British Waterways will, at the very least, check the validity of the incident/accident with the individual involved before recording such a report."

Now in this case it was me (acting on behalf of the person who was in no fit state) who reported the near miss directly to BW. I was not asked to give details of the individual (I did not know them at the time anyway). When we returned through the lock some six months later the equipment was found to be in exactly the same condition and no remedial repair had been carried out.

How can BW now CART check the validity of an incident/accident with the person concerned when they don't even attempt to collect and collate the information.

This begs a question for which I would appreciate readers views.

We came across another person who had "put out their back" this was due to the poor condition of a lock gate that they were trying to operate at the time. It took three people and a lot of effort to open the lock gate. If I report the incident, and BW/CART do not accept reports from third parties. How can problematical locks and the risk of further injury be reduced or actual incidents recorded?

Looks to me to be a very convenient way for BW/CART to sanitise accident and health and safety reporting records.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Mike,

    I have read your post with great interest and I have contacted our Head of Health & Safety about this. He asked me to post the following response on his behalf:

    Our standard on reporting and recording states: “Every incident on Canal & River Trust's property or in relation to the Trust's activities must be reported and entered onto the health and safety incident notification system, where possible, before the end of the shift or as soon as possible after the event. This includes all accidents, near miss events, incidents of ill health (as defined by RIDDOR 1995) and incidents of loss or damage. The reporting of incidents applies to visitors and includes incidents of all types e.g. boating, walking, cycling, angling and discouraged activities i.e. horse riding, swimming and shooting”.

    Regarding reporting - People can report by telephone, text, online, by printing off a freepost incident report form or we can also send the individual the freepost incident report form.

    Clearly dependant on the information received we may need to get additional information to understand the nature and extent of any incident. It is important, where possible, to get information from those directly involved to understand how the incident was caused, hence the statement in the FOI response.

    In general if a witness provided a report that they saw defective equipment (however that defect was brought to their attention) then the Trust will investigate the alleged defect. If it was in need of repair we would create a repair notification but not raise it as an additional near miss notification. This is not to sanitise the H&S records, but to avoid duplicate records of the same problem and to ensure it gets fixed, as only repair notifications commission work activities within our systems.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.

    Kind regards,



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