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Let’s start off with the basics, RIDDOR stands for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (2013). It is the law that requires employers to report and keep records of any work-related accidents that cause deaths, serious injuries, diagnosed industrial diseases and other dangerous occurrences. Throughout this blog post we will take a look at what this means for the workplace and provide support on how and when to make a RIDDOR report. If you wish to see the legislation in more detail, it is available here. It is essential to know the accident reporting procedure in your workplace including what should be reported, whether you are an employer or an employee, in order to allow for a quick and timely response to workplace incidents.
How to report an accident or incident at work?
Each company will have their own policy regarding health and safety in the workplace and this will include how and when to report any accident or incident to managers within your company. If you are an employer or health and safety manager, it is part of your responsibility to report these incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who then ensure that all other relevant parties are informed including the local authority or Office for Rail Regulation. The HSE will evaluate the nature of the report and see if further action is required and whether the risk needs to be investigated.
What needs to be reported?
Sometimes, it can be a little confusing to know what needs reporting to RIDDOR and what doesn’t. The reporting of certain accidents, injuries, deaths and diseases is a legal requirement and must be completed promptly. In order for an incident to be considered ‘reportable’ it must be considered to meet the following criteria:
- The accident in which an injury was caused must be RIDDOR reportable.
- The injury that subsequently occurred must be RIDDOR reportable.
Let’s take a look at what this means:
- The accident which caused the injury must be work-related. Accidents outside of work are not considered to be reportable. An accident, in terms of RIDDOR is defined as, a separate, identifiable, unintended incident, which causes physical injury.
- An injury or illness resulting in time off from work is therefore not automatically RIDDOR reportable, unless there is an identifiable event that caused the injury.
Reportable injuries include deaths, major injuries, 7-day injuries and injuries to the public.
This one is pretty straightforward as deaths at work are almost always going to be RIDDOR reportable. Any death that has arisen as the result of a work-related accident must be reported. This includes deaths that happen within a year, following an accident at work. An example of this might be if somebody hit their head at work, which resulted in a reportable major injury, but later died as a result of this injury it would need to be reported again but as a fatality.
Major injuries that happen as a result of an accident at work are reportable under RIDDOR guidelines. Studies have shown that 581,000 working people sustained an injury at work in 2018/19. However, only 69,208 injuries to employees were reported to RIDDOR.
RIDDOR classifies the following as major injuries:
- Bone fractures (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes).
- Amputation of arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe.
- Any injury causing permanent blinding or reduction in sight to one or both eyes.
- Any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs.
- Any burn injury covering more than 10% of the body or causing damage to the eyes, respiratory system or vital organs.
- Any scalping requiring hospital treatment.
- Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.
- Any injury from work in an enclosed space leading to hypothermia or heat-induced illness, or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.
Injuries Lasting More Than 7 Days
This refers to the requirement to report injuries that lead to a person being absent from work, or unable to perform their normal duties, for more than 7 consecutive days. You should report these injuries to the HSE as soon as it becomes apparent that the employee will be off work for 7 days. Obviously, this might not be instantly apparent and so your own discretion is required. For example, if an employee produces a doctor’s note stating their absence for a period of longer than 7 days, it can be reported at this stage and it is not necessary to wait for 7 days to pass.
Injuries to Members of the Public
If a member of the public is injured as a result of any of your work activities, and they have to be taken to hospital for treatment, this must be reported under RIDDOR guidance. This doesn’t have to be a major injury, reporting applies to any injury. This doesn’t include when the member of the public is taken to hospital as a precaution with no apparent injury.
RIDDOR Also Covers Reportable Diseases
There are certain diseases that are also reportable under RIDDOR. Employers and self-employed people must report any diagnosis of certain occupational diseases, when they are likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the workplace. 1.4 million people suffered as a result of a workplace illness in 2018/19, which shows the importance of reporting and logging workplace illnesses, in addition to following health and safety guidance to prevent such illness from occurring.
These reportable diseases include:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from use percussive or vibrating tools.
- Cramp in hand or forearm from prolonged periods of repetitive movement of fingers, hands or arms.
- Occupational dermatitis from exposure to known skin sensitisers or irritants.
- Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome from regular use of percussive or vibrating tools or materials.
- Occupational asthma from exposure to respiratory sensitisers.
- Tendonitis or tenosynovitis in the hand or forearm from frequent repetitive movements.
- Diagnosis of cancer attributed to occupational exposure.
- Any disease attributed to occupational exposure to a biological agent.
Part of the RIDDOR legislation also covers the reporting of dangerous occurrences. A dangerous occurrence is when an incident has the potential to cause death or injury. For example, collapsing lift equipment, unintentional explosions and accidental contact with overhead power lines.
Further to this, the following are outlined in the RIDDOR document:
- Collapse, overturning or failure of any load-creating part of lifting equipment.
- Failure of any closed vessel or associated pipework forming part of pressure systems.
- Contact or electrical discharge between overhead electric lines and plant or equipment.
- Electrical incidents causing explosion or fire resulting or stoppage of plant for more than 24 hours or significant risk of death.
- Unintentional explosion or ignition of explosives, including misfires and failure of shots to cause a demolition.
- Any accident or incident that results of could have resulted in the escape of high-risk biological agents.
- The malfunction of radiation generators and radiography equipment.
- The malfunction of breathing apparatus with a significant risk of personal injury.
- The failure, damage or endangering of life or significant risk of personal injury during diving operations.
- The complete or partial collapse of scaffolding.
- Train collisions which could have caused death or specified injury of any person.
- A blow-out, unanticipated detection of hydrogen sulphide, mechanical failure or additional precautionary measures in relation to wells.
- Any damage to, uncontrolled release, failure of isolation or failure of equipment in pipelines or pipeline works.
Employer and Employee Responsibilities
Under RIDDOR guidance both employers and employees have a responsibility in terms of keeping the workplace safe. However, the responsibility for reporting incidents to RIDDOR falls to the employer or responsible person. A responsible person could also be a building owner or somebody who is self-employed, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the employer.
The employer or responsible person has a duty to report all RIDDOR reportable incidents in a timely manner and follow the correct guidance. The employer is responsible for providing relevant details of the event, following the online submission form which includes the date and time of the incident, where it took place, who was involved and a description of what happened. In some companies, the employer may not be deemed to be the person responsible for reporting incidents to the HSE inline with RIDDOR guidelines. Examples of other employees deemed to be a responsible person includes the person in control of the premises. In cases such as these, the employee in control of the premises is tasked with reporting work-related deaths, reportable injuries and dangerous occurrences.
Examples of employees in control of the premises includes (but is not limited to):
- Mines – The mine manager.
- Closed Tips – The owner of the mine associated with the tip.
- Quarries – Operator of the quarry.
- Pipelines – Operator of the pipeline.
- Diving Project – Diving contractor.
- Offshore Installations – Duty holder for the purposes of the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (Management and Administration) Regulations 1995.
This is also often the case in larger companies where multiple sites are in operation.
This also applies if they are diagnosed with a work-related disease or condition. If an injury occurs while on somebody else’s premises, the incident should only be reported if the injury is specified under the regulations or if it resulted in an absence of 7 days. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the owner of the premises the self-employed person was working in to report the incident under RIDDOR.
Where employees are not deemed to be the responsible person, the legal responsibility to report under RIDDOR guidance does not apply to them. However, in any workplace employees have a responsibility to help to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others. Employees still have a general responsibility to report health and safety issues under health and safety law (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: HSAW Act). Employees should always work to the company’s own specific health and safety policy, which should have taken into consideration current government guidance on health and safety procedures. If an employee is a witness or a victim of an incident it should be reported to their employer, the person in control of the premises or their supervisor. Similarly, if an employee notices any potential hazards in the workplace this should also be reported to an appropriate person.
If an employee has a concern that an incident is not being dealt with correctly, or that health and safety incidents are being ignored, they are able to speak to their union about this. Or, alternatively, they can report to the HSE using a different form, which can be found here.
How to Report a RIDDOR Incident to the HSE
Sometimes, even with many preventative measures in place, accidents and dangerous occurrences can still take place. When such incidents happen, it is important that they are reported and that the incident is learned about and reflected upon to prevent such incidents from happening in the future. All RIDDOR reportable incidents must be reported to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). Just to quickly recap, this involves fatal and non-fatal injuries, occupational diseases, dangerous occurrences, incidents that result in 7+ days absence from work and incidents involving gases.
Check there is no immediate risk of danger
Immediately after an incident has occurred, it is important to check that there is no longer a risk to safety. If you are able to do so safely, then remove the risk. However, do not put yourself at risk to do so.
If somebody requires medical assistance, this should be given as a matter of urgency. Always ensure that a qualified first-aider takes a look at the injured party. Call 999 if it is an emergency or for more advice call 111.
Report to Manager or Supervisor
If you are a manager or a supervisor, of course ignore this step. However, employees have a duty of care to report all incidents leading to injury or that were near-misses to management so that the correct procedures can then be implemented.
All companies are required to keep detailed records of accidents and near misses. Most companies do this in the form of an accident book. Recording incidents in the accident book, even if it isn’t RIDDOR reportable, is a great way for companies to track their accidents and look for patterns, putting more health and safety procedures in place to prevent such incidents.
Report to the HSE
If the incident falls into the RIDDOR guidance, it is mandatory that it is reported to the HSE as quickly and efficiently as possible. The wording in the RIDDOR guidance is ‘without delay’, but of course you must deal with any imminent risk first. All reports must be received within 10 days from the date of the incident. However, if you are reporting under the 7+ days absence clause, the report must be submitted within 15 days. For cases of occupational illnesses and diseases, reports should be submitted as soon as you are able to after a diagnosis is received. The report is submitted here.
The report must include:
- The date of the recording.
- Their personal details (name, job title, phone number).
- The details of their company (name, address, email).
- The location, date and time of the incident.
- The personal details of the person(s) involved (name, job title, etc.).
- A description of the injury, illness or incident.
After the report has been filed, it is important to carry out an investigation. Ideally, all investigations should be carried out by somebody who is impartial and is knowledgeable about workplace procedures and health and safety regulations. For a refresher on Health and Safety Regulations, click here. This investigation should allow a determination of whether the accident was avoidable and how the accident happened. If the investigation shows that the incident was avoidable, it is important that new measures are put into place to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
How long should RIDDOR records be kept?
It is a legal requirement for companies with over 10 employees to have an accident book. The book should contain all of the details above, even if it isn’t a RIDDOR incident. It is an example of good practice to do so. When submitting a RIDDOR report to the HSE, there is the opportunity for the report to be downloaded and can therefore be kept in your accident book. The HSE will not pass any information on to insurance companies if you need to make a claim, so therefore keeping records is important. Reports should be kept for a minimum of 3 years, although good practice is to keep them for 6. Remember that the accident book must be stored confidentially as it contains private and sensitive information.
While legislation surrounding reporting health and safety can often be a little confusing, especially to employees who are not 100% sure what their responsibilities are. I hope that this blog post has cleared this up somewhat. The purpose of RIDDOR legislation is to ensure that workplaces remain a safe place for employees and that all incidents are reported and investigated in order to prevent further incidents from occurring. Even when all health and safety guidelines are followed, accidents can still happen. This is important to know. However, what we do as a result of the accident or near-miss is essential in order to improve workplace safety and keep employees and the public safe. By following the step-by-step reporting procedure above, reporting to the HSE under RIDDOR guidance should be relatively straight forward. After an incident has occurred emotions are often heightened, which is perfectly normal. By gathering all of the information you are able to, if you are considered to be the responsible person, you are able to look at the incident in a factual way. Reporting the incidents is nothing to panic about, but it should trigger a response within the company in order to put measures in place to prevent further incidents from occurring.