An Overview of RIDDOR
RIDDOR – Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 – makes employers responsible for reporting certain serious accidents in the workplace as well as occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences.
The regulations also make the self-employed and those in control of work premises, known as the Responsible Person, liable for RIDDOR reporting.
Injuries that should be reported
Several types of injury must be reported, in particular, if someone has died or been injured in a work-related accident. You don’t have to report all accidents; a RIDDOR report is required only when the accident is work-related and results in an injury relating to the following:
Deaths: Every death of a worker or non-worker has to be reported if the death arises from a work-related accident. That does not include suicide but does cover a worker who has been subject of an act of physical violence.
Specified injuries: These are detailed in Regulation 4 of RIDDOR and include:
- Fractures, other than to toes, fingers and thumbs
- Any injury that is likely to lead to permanent loss of sight or a reduction in sight
- Serious burns covering more than 10% of the body and cause significant damage to the respiratory system, eyes or other vital organs
- Crush injuries to the head or torso causing damage to internal organs or the brain
- Any loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or a head injury
- Any scalping that requires hospital treatment
- Any injury arising from working in an enclosed spaced resulting in hypotheremia, heat-induced illness, requires resuscitation or more than 24 hours in hospital.
If a worker is incapacitated for more than seven consecutive days, the accident must be reported. For incapacitation over three days, the accident must be recorded but not necessarily reported.
A non-worker who has an accident in the workplace – for example, a member of the public –requires RIDDOR to be reported if the person is injured and is taken straight to the hospital for treatment.
Occupational diseases: Employers and the self-employed must report diagnoses of certain occupational diseases if work is likely to have caused them or made them worse. These include:
- Severe cramp of the hand or forearm
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome
- Occupational asthma
- Occupational dermatitis
- Any occupational cancer
- Tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm
- Any disease attributed to occupational exposure to a biological agent
Dangerous occurrences: These are known as near-miss events and don’t all have to be reported. The major ones are when plant or equipment comes into contact with overhead power lines, when load-bearing parts of lifting equipment and lifts collapse, overturn or fail, and when any substance that could cause injury to anyone is accidentally released.
There are many other categories of dangerous occurrences that can be found in the RIDDOR guidelines, and others that apply to quarries, mines and offshore workplaces.
- Gas incidents: If you distribute, fill, import or supply flammable gas, you must report any incident where someone has died, lost consciousness or had to be taken for hospital treatment of an injury connected to that gas. Registered gas engineers need to give details of any gas appliances or fittings they consider dangerous. In this context, dangerous relates to the possibility that someone could die, lose consciousness or need treatment in hospital.
- Exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents: If there is an established causal link between a type of cancer diagnosed and the dangers to which a person contracting cancer has been exposed to in the workplace, it must be the subject of a RIDDOR report. Reportable cancers include:
- Lung cancer or mesothelioma in someone occupationally exposed to asbestos fibres
- Cancer of the nasal cavity or sinuses where someone is occupationally exposed to wood dust
You are only required to report if the person’s work means the risk of developing the cancer is significantly increased, and discussions will be needed with the medical practitioner to determine what significance there may be. You don’t need to report if the cancer case is not related to exposures to carcinogens or mutagens at work.
Biological agents that can cause infection, toxicity or allergy are the subjects of RIDDOR reporting if there is reasonable evidence to suggest that a likely cause of a disease was work-related. That could occur through a spillage in a laboratory or an accident with a contaminated needle.
As with all health and safety issues in the workplace, employers, the self-employed and the Responsible Person should ensure they are fully up to date with the reporting requirements for RIDDOR. They should also make sure that an accident book is kept so that details of work-related injuries are kept, in particular for injuries that mean that state benefits could be payable. Accurate records are essential to protect employers, employees and, where appropriate, members of the public.
Who should make RIDDOR reports?
In most cases, the employer or the Responsible Person in charge of work premises will carry out RIDDOR reporting. The employer will often be the Responsible Person and is required to report any work-related deaths and some work-related injuries. The employer must also report cases of disease and any near misses involving employees wherever they are working.
A person in control of premises also has to report certain injuries to self-employed people and members of the public that occur on the premises, as well as dangerous occurrences.
Self-employed people injured on someone else’s premises should, where appropriate, have a report made by the Responsible Person. If something reportable occurs on their premises or the domestic premises where they are working, they need to report it themselves.
Employees or members of the public who suffer a reportable incident should have a report submitted by the Responsible Person. It is not appropriate for them to submit one themselves, but if dissatisfied or unsure whether one has been submitted, they can approach an employee or union representative or, where necessary, raise a concern with the Health and Safety Executive.
Gas suppliers and gas engineers can also make RIDDOR reports in the appropriate circumstances.