As an employer, you have a legal obligation to protect the health and wellbeing of your employees. As part of this obligation, you must conduct a risk assessment of the work and working area to eliminate or reduce the risks to your employees.
While it’s impossible to remove all risks, you’ll have to show you have taken reasonable steps to prevent risks to your employees (physically and mentally).
When accidents do occur, you must report it to the appropriate authority. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is the body responsible for health & safety in the workplace.
If you’re looking for immediate advice on managing health & safety in your workplace, contact Croner today on 0808 145 3380. Our expert consultants are on hand to help you create policies and procedures or to conduct risk assessments to guarantee the safety of your workforce.
This piece focuses on RIDDOR reporting and Health & Safety, the legislation in place for reporting certain accidents that occur at work. In it, we highlight your responsibilities, the types of accidents you must report and the repercussions for not reporting them.
What is RIDDOR?
Before we get into the details, we will establish what RIDDOR means.
First, what does RIDDOR stand for? Although it’s commonly referred to as RIDDOR, it stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.
It regulates your responsibility as an employer (or persons responsible for work premises) to report certain accidents (and near misses) that occur at work.
The RIDDOR legislation requires you to report all deaths and injuries when:
- The accident causes a specific injury.
- The accident was work-related.
- The injury is of a reportable nature.
Why is RIDDOR important?
Contrary to popular belief, RIDDOR wasn’t just set in place to regulate the risk of working in hazardous environments like warehouses and construction sites. Instead, it focuses on the risks in a majority of workplaces including offices, schools, restaurants and other commercial buildings.
The HSE’s annual health and safety statistics puts the cost of injuries and illnesses due to current working conditions at an estimated £15 billion while the number of working days lost for the same reason was over 28 million days.
With this in mind, the HSE introduced RIDDOR as a way of further protecting employees and preventing the reoccurrences of injuries.
By placing the responsibility of negligence or dangerous working habits on the employer, the HSE hopes to encourage them to identify how and where risks arise, so they can make recommendations on how to prevent it in the future.
RIDDOR reportable accidents
You’re not required to report all accidents that occur at work.
The HSE put together a set of RIDDOR reporting requirements that can serve as a guide. In it, they state that you must report:
- Deaths: All work-related accidents that lead to death (doesn’t include suicides or sudden deaths such as a cardiac arrest) that occur on work premises including to non-workers. You must report deaths if they arise from a work-related accident, including through non-consensual physical violence to an employee.
- Injuries: You may only report ‘specified injuries’ including:
- Fractures (other than digits, fingers, thumbs or toes).
- Injuries likely to lead to permanent loss of or reduction in sight.
- Crush injuries causing damage to the brain or internal organs.
- Serious burns (covering more than 10% of any part of the body).
- Scalping which requires hospital treatment.
- Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.
- Any other injury arising from working in an “enclosed space” which leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24-hours.
- Occupational diseases: You must report diagnoses of certain types of occupational diseases where they’re likely to have been caused or made worse by their work. Regulations eight and nine of the RIDDOR legislation, include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Occupational dermatitis.
- Severe cramp of the hand or forearm.
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome.
- Occupational asthma.
- Tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm.
- Any occupational cancer.
- Any other diseases attributed to occupational exposure to a biological agent.
- Dangerous Occurrences: Schedule 2 of RIDDOR requires you to report Dangerous Occurrences (near misses) with the potential to cause death or injury. These include:
- The collapse, overturn or failure of load-bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment.
- Plant or equipment to overhead power lines.
- Explosions or fires causing work to stop for more than 24 hours.
RIDDOR employer responsibilities
The legal responsibility to report work-related incidents resulting in death or injury lies with yourself or the selected ‘responsible persons’.
As well as reporting, you should also keep a record of the incident on file. The record should show the:
- Date and method of reporting.
- The date, time and place of the event.
- Any personal details of those involved.
- A brief description of the nature of the event or disease.
RIDDOR employees’ responsibilities
This regulation doesn’t put the responsibility of reporting incidents on to the employee.
However, if an employee has delegated duties as the ‘responsible person’, they have the legal responsibility to report these incidents. It’s down to your internal policy to ensure they capture this information accurately.
Just because your staff aren’t required to report these incidents does not mean they should ignore them. Encourage them to speak to you or the appropriate person within the organisation when they experience something that falls under the RIDDOR legislation.
RIDDOR reporting timescales
In accordance with schedule one of the RIDDOR reporting procedure, you (or the responsible persons) must report incidents to the relevant authority immediately (within ten days of the incident).
However, when incidents result in the incapacitation of an employee for more than seven days, you have 15 days to report it to the relevant enforcing authority.
It’s also worth noting when incidents relate to occupational disease, the ‘responsible persons’ must report it as soon as they receive a diagnosis.
The most convenient way to report incidents is with the online reporting form. You should ensure you’re selecting the appropriate form for the specific situation.
You could also phone the HSE directly on 0345 300 9923 to report fatal accidents or accidents resulting in specified injuries to workers ONLY.
Consequences of not reporting RIDDOR
Breaching the regulations laid out in this legislation is a criminal offence.
Failing to report ‘reportable’ incidents can lead to fines as much as £20,000 through a magistrate court or an unlimited fine through the Crown court.
Creating a RIDDOR policy
As part of your efforts to ensure the health & safety of your workforce, it’s important to have policies in place that set out your organisation’s arrangements regarding the reporting of incidents in accordance with RIDDOR and reportable incidents.
The policy should include information on whom it relates to, the aim, roles and responsibilities, the procedure for reporting accidents and the timeframe in which they must report it.
COSHH and RIDDOR
Both work together to protect the health & safety of everyone entering the work environment, this includes your staff and members of the public.
While RIDDOR provides legislation on reporting incidents, COSHH focuses on controlling hazardous substances.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 or COSHH is the legislation requiring employers to prevent or reduce their employees’ exposure to hazardous substances. They do this by:
- Identifying health hazards.
- Developing a plan to prevent harm to health.
- Implementing control measures to further reduce the harm to health.
- Enforcing the use of these control measures.
- Maintaining the integrity of control measures.
- Providing information, instruction and training.
- Providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases;
- Planning for accidents and emergencies including first aid provisions.
Contact Croner for information about our employee health & safety services, including updating your policies and procedures and help with conducting risk assessments. Call free on 0808 145 3380.