Every employer has a legal obligation to present a healthy and secure workplace environment. By adhering to safety laws and proper procedures, accidents risks can be managed (even eliminated in some cases).
One set of laws all employers must comply with is RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). These rules help facilitate workplace accidents from start to end.
However, if the safety law is neglected, it could lead to maximum compensation fees, business closure, and even imprisonment.
In this guide, we'll look at RIDDOR meaning, UK laws on health & safety, and how to report accidents in the workplace.
What is RIDDOR?
RIDDOR is a legal requirement that relates to reporting accidents and injuries found on work premises. The full title of the legislation is, 'the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013'.
Under RIDDOR 2013 legislation, RIDDOR reports by company must include:
- An accident that causes a specific injury.
- An accident that occurs due to the nature of work.
- An injury that's of reportable nature.
When workplace accidents happen, employers have to report them to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). HSE are a governing body who regulates workplace safety standards. They show businesses ways to prevent injuries, ill-health, and dangerous occurrences.
What does RIDDOR stand for?
The RIDDOR acronym stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
Why is RIDDOR important?
Workplace accidents can happen in any environment, not just in construction or warehousing. That's why RIDDOR focuses on health and safety compliance in overall sectors (like offices, hospitality, and commercial workplaces).
Under RIDDOR, some of the common accidents reported include:
- Injury from improper lifting equipment (also known as 'manual handling').
- Slips, trips, and falls.
- Unintended collision from moving, flying, or falling objects.
- Physical violence.
- Mental health illnesses.
These accidents can occur during every day, normal work. But can affect an injured person personally. Employees may seek statutory sick leave and medical treatment in order to recover. Some dangerous occurrences can cause long-term disabilities, paralysis, and even work related deaths.
The HSE introduced RIDDOR as a way of protecting people. They outline legal obligations which fall on a 'responsible person'; which is the employer on their own premises.
What happens if you breach RIDDOR legislation?
If an employee suffers from an accident at work, they may raise their claim to an employment tribunal. This is particularly common if they’ve suffered from semi- or permanent injuries which affect everyday functionality.
Tribunal judges will ultimately decide a verdict after:
- Evaluating the serious accident.
- Measuring the extent of negligence.
- Determining the recovery or 'rest days' rate.
Employers may be forced to pay compensation penalties (£20,000 from the Magistrates court, or an unlimited fine from the Crown court). Some serious accidents could lead to permanent business closure and imprisonment.
What are examples of reportable injuries?
Employers don't need to report every single accident that occurs in their workplace. The HSE breaks down the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations to show injuries that are reportable:
All work-related accidents that cause fatal and major injuries must be reported. This goes for employees and non-employees (like customers or the general public). It's not just work-related accidents; it can include a major injury caused by physical violence.
Death that involves suicides or sudden death (like a heart attack) don't need to be reported under RIDDOR.
All kinds of injuries can occur on work premises, which causes a loss of time and money.
There are specified injuries that need to be reported, like:
- Major injuries caused by fractures.
- Injuries leading to permanent loss or reduction of mobility/function.
- Penetrating injury (causing damage to the brain or internal organs).
- Serious burns and scalding.
- Scalping which requires hospital treatment.
- Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.
- Any other injury arising from working in an 'enclosed space' (causing hypothermia, heat-induced illness, resuscitation, or hospital admittance for more than 24-hours).
You must report certain occupational diseases found in the workplace. These may come from a dangerous substance or biological agent used during work. Or are the result of improper working conditions and an unsafe environment
Some examples of reportable occupational diseases include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Occupational dermatitis.
- Severe cramp of the hand or forearm.
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome.
- Occupational asthma.
- Any occupational cancer caused by a dangerous substance.
- Any other work-related disease which is attributed to occupational exposure of a biological agent (which would require RIDDOR infection control).
Employers are required to report dangerous occurrences (or near misses) which could potentially cause injury or death. For example, mismanaging the intended exposure period of biological agents. Or suffering a major injury caused by an electrical short circuit (in overhead electric lines).
According to the HSE, a dangerous occurrence includes:
- General incidents occurring at any workplace. (For example, broken load-bearing parts or breathing apparatus).
- Incidents occurring at any place other than offshore workplaces. (For example, the accidental release of biological agents).
- Incidents occurring at specific types of workplaces. (For example, offshore workplaces, mines, and relevant transport systems).
Exposure to flammable gas is a very common occurrence. Harmful substance or pressure systems incidents must be reported to the HSE (alongside the appropriate enforcing authority).
A gas-related incident can include:
- An accidental leakage of gas;
- Incomplete combustion of gas or;
- Inadequate removal of products of the combustion of gas.
All of these categories class as a reportable injury under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
How to report workplace accidents through RIDDOR
It is your responsibility, as an employer, to manage every minor and major injury in the workplace.
By complying with RIDDOR, you're on your way to managing risks - even permanently eliminating them for good.
Here are factors to consider when reporting workplace accidents through RIDDOR:
Create a RIDDOR policy
Employers should create a RIDDOR policy which presents the importance of workplace safety. Policies outline your methods for managing and reporting accidents in accordance with RIDDOR.
The policy should include information on who it relates to, the aim of the policy, and the reporting procedure. You can create this as a separate policy or add it to your health and safety one.
Report to the Health and Safety Executive
Employers must understand which major injury needs to be reported to the HSE. Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, you need to submit them to the incident contact centre under these categories:
- Report of an injury.
- Report of a dangerous occurrence.
- Report of a case of disease.
- Report of flammable gas incident.
- Report of a dangerous gas fitting.
- Report of an injury offshore.
- Report of a dangerous occurrence offshore.
Write an incident report
Every employer has a legal responsibility for workplace health and safety. They, or their responsible persons, need to outline the details of the incident through a written report.
The responsible person should write one for acute illness, minor injury, and dangerous occurrence.
The report should include:
- The date and method for reporting.
- When and where the incident took place.
- Personal details of everyone involved.
- Brief description of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences.
The responsible person needs to send the report within an appropriate timeframe. It's sent to the HSE's incident contact centre where you may be asked to fill online forms.
In other cases, you might be asked to report incidents to a relevant enforcing authority. Whoever it may include, you need to do this within 10 days of the incident.
Highlight employee responsibilities
In some cases, you may assign workplace safety obligations to a competent and responsible person. Or you might hire a professional officer who will help you remain compliant with the health and safety law.
Whoever it is, your employees must understand their responsibilities for workplace safety. That means following proper work procedures, using protective equipment, and raising safety risks. Collectively, it helps create a healthier and safer workplace environment for all.
Prevent injuries, dangerous occurrences, and work-related disease
Workplace accidents happen all the time - there are, in many cases, fully unavoidable.
Employers need to have measures in place which help prevent injuries, dangerous occurrences regulations, and work-related disease. For example:
- Provide health and safety training.
- Offer personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Outline procedures for work equipment and normal duties.
- Carry out risk assessments.
- Display appropriate safety warning signage
Is RIDDOR the same as COSHH?
No, RIDDOR and COSHH are not the same. They are both health and safety laws but have their own legal requirement.
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) is the legislation that requires employers to prevent or reduce exposure to hazardous substances during work. RIDDOR is the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 health and safety legislation (sometimes referred to as RIDDOR 2013).
Get expert advice on RIDDOR with Croner
No matter what your business is, every employer must comply with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
Through the right methods, you can safeguard every injured person - whether they're employees, customers, and the public. However, if you neglect RIDDOR rules, you could end up facing compensation, business closure, and even imprisonment.
But you don’t need to sort it all out on your own. From the stage of putting together an employment contract to other necessary documentation, our HR advisors are here to help.
Have questions about RIDDOR or workplace accidents? Speak to a Croner expert for any HR or employment law issue today on 0800 470 2755.
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