Open-access content Friday 21st October 2011
The RIDDOR rules are designed to ensure injuries at work are reported properly. Kate Gardner explains how to comply
13 October 2011
On The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), require organisations to look at certain situations that occur within the workplace and report them through a centralised point to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
From this information, a picture of how health and safety is being managed within the UK can be produced which enables the HSE to determine any areas that need to be addressed.
This article discusses what the current RIDDOR reporting procedures are, and the proposals to extend the time threshold for reporting workplace injuries from the current level of over three days to seven days.
RIDDOR places a legal duty on three groups: employers; self-employed people; and people in control of premises, to report work-related deaths, major injuries or over-three-day injuries, work related diseases, and dangerous occurrences (near miss accidents).You must file a report:
- In cases of death, major injury, or dangerous occurrences. In these circumstances you must notify the enforcing authority without delay, most easily by calling the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) directly on 0845 300 9923
- In all other cases, you must report as soon as you’ve been notified that someone’s injury or absence from work is due to a RIDDOR reportable situation. Cases of over-three day injuries must be notified within ten days of the incident occurring
- Cases of disease should be reported as soon as a doctor notifies you that your employee suffers from a reportable work-related disease (See below).
Only call the contact centre to report fatal or major incidents, for all other reports go to the HSE web site, download the form, complete it and email it back to the RIDDOR email address or return it by post.
You must also keep a record of any reportable injury, disease or dangerous occurrence. This must include the date and method of reporting; the date, time and place of the event; personal details of those involved; and a brief description of the nature of the event or disease.
It is also important that you keep good records which include the following information:
- date and method of reporting;
- date, time and place of event;
- personal details of those involved; and
- a brief description of event or disease.
Reportable over three-day injuries
This is the one area that causes some concern because trying to identify when an accident is counted as ‘over three days’ can be difficult.
An over three-day injury may not be something “major” but should be reported if it has resulted in the injured person being away from work or unable to fulfil their full range of normal duties for more than three days This includes acts of physical violence such as assaults on staff by members of the public or assaults on medical staff by patients. Acts of violence also need to be reported to the police as well at the HSE.
A range of diseases listed in the regulations include:
- certain poisonings;
- some skin diseases such as occupational dermatitis, skin cancer, chrome ulcer, oil folliculitis/acne;
- lung diseases including: occupational asthma, farmer’s lung, pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma;
- infections such as: leptospirosis, which can occur when working with water sources exposed to rat urine; hepatitis; tuberculosis; anthrax; legionellosis and tetanus; other conditions such as: occupational cancer; certain musculoskeletal disorders; decompression illness and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
In all these cases, if a doctor notifies you that your employee is suffering from a reportable work-related disease, then you must report it to the enforcing authority.
It’s important to note that when reporting dangerous occurrences there does not have to be any harm caused, only that the potential for harm is present.
In Lord Young’s Common Sense, Common Safety report, published last year, it was proposed that the reporting period for RIDDOR be extended from three to seven days – the time you are off work, before you class this as an injury or accident that has to be reported. Allied to this is the proposal to extend the reporting time frame from ten days to 15 days, although this is still to be confirmed.
The HSE reports that these proposals went out to general consultation and gathered 775 responses, of which 67 per cent supported the proposals being made.
The key message is that everyone needs to be aware of the RIDDOR requirements. If you haven’t already done so, you can obtain a copy of the RIDDOR Approved Code of Practice from the HSE website which will help you identify which areas of your business you may not be aware you have a duty to report.
For further information, please visit: www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/index.htm
Kate Gardner, business manager for health, safety and facilities management at Workplace Law