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Serious workplace accidents action list

  • Ireland
  • General


Action list for the first 48 hours of serious workplace accidents

  1. Notify (a) emergency services (b) next of kin (c) the HSA. Be available when they arrive
  2. Take the required steps to make the accident location safe and ensure to remove persons from the immediate vicinity of the accident.
  3. Follow company procedures in respect of reporting the incident internally (ideally using a pre action protocol) and consider contacting your legal team to maintain legal advice privilege.
  4. Arrange for appropriate staff designated to deal with accidents to attend on site as soon as practical and give immediate instructions to have the scene and/or plant and equipment preserved pending arrival of the HSA.
  5. Appoint a company spokesperson to handle all communications with the HSA and/or Gardai. Limit communications to the core facts relating to the incident. Do not speculate.
  6. Notify appropriate insurers and provisionally arrange early inspections. Liaise with PR company if appropriate.
  7. Identify staff, witnesses, members of the public and documents likely to be of interest to HSA (including on-site contractors / subcontractors) and assess availability to take relevant statements (to be privileged/in contemplation of litigation).
  8. Advise staff and management on the powers of the Inspectors including request for documents. 
  9. Assist staff and management when formal investigation and statement-taking is commenced by the HSA Inspectors (particularly if a charge/prosecution is anticipated).
  10. Anticipate practical consequences of potential Prohibition Orders and Improvement Plans.

In Ireland the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 2005 is just one of many pieces of legislation which imposes health and safety obligations, primarily on employers, but not exclusively so.

Our dedicated Health and Safety Group concentrates on providing specialist Health and Safety advice, and on defending Health and Safety based claims and prosecutions
on behalf of our commercial clients.

We focus on actively managing all aspects of Health and Safety, including advisory work such as commercial advice, performance of health and safety audits and due diligence on health and safety matters. On the litigation side, we are well placed to deliver an effective and cost beneficial service for our clients.

Good legal advice requires a combination of experience and knowledge of the technical areas of the law, in particular the application of local legislation, but also an ability to apply the general principles of EU Health and Safety Directives and Regulations to different circumstances.

Our core advisory work was focused on the interpretation of legislation, determining what is required to be compliant and identifying areas of potential short fall which could result in liability for our clients for non-compliance with the legislation.

The Group has experience of advising bodies corporate, the public sector and trades unions in the following areas.

  • Health and Safety Law Audits;
  • Construction Regulations issues;
  • Advice and defence litigation arising from the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the General Application Regulations;
  • CE Marking Scheme issues;
  • Advising on Trade Union Health and Safety issues, and defending employers from claims;
  • Advising on compliance of Risk Assessments and Safety Statements;
  • Advising on presentation of public health issues, and retention of PR advice;
  • Advising on Health and Safety due diligence issues in Mergers and Acquisitions; 
  • Product liability and Product recall issues;
  • Health and Safety Law compliance and best practice;
  • Advising on dealing with regulatory bodies generally in relation to Health and Safety compliance; and 
  • Serious and fatal workplace accident investigations.


This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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