Last reviewed 12 November 2013
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) came into force on 1 October 2013 and bring about major changes that affect every employer. Paul Smith outlines a 10-point guide to make sure your organisation has implemented the key changes, in order to ensure that everything that should be reported is reported, on time.
You must report immediately any fatalities “occurring as a result of work activity” — whether or not the person killed was your employee. Do not forget that this applies even if the person killed was not actually at work (eg a member of the public). Be ready for investigation by the police in relation to possible manslaughter charges, as well as for an inquest by HM Coroner. You can report deaths online at www.hse.gov.uk or make a phone report to the Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 9923 (opening hours Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).
2. Specified injuries
This replaces the term “major injuries”, but the concept is the same — these are the serious work-related injuries to employees that you must report immediately, regardless of any lost time. The list has been shortened, but includes three new types of injury: “crush”, “scalping”, and “injuries arising from confined space work”.
A fracture, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes.
Amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe.
Permanent loss of sight or reduction in sight.
Crush injuries leading to internal organ damage.
Serious burns (covering more than 10% of the body, or damaging the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs).
Scalpings (separation of skin from the head), which require hospital treatment.
Unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia.
Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space, which leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness, or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.
You can report online at www.hse.gov.uk or make a phone report on 0845 300 9923.
3. Other injuries to employees
As before, you must report injuries to employees that cause more than seven days’ incapacity for work. However, do not forget to record more than three days’ injuries, even though these are no longer reportable. In deciding whether to report, do not count the day of the accident itself. Remember that more than seven days’ incapacity is required for the accident to be reportable, and that “incapacity” means “unable to carry out normal duties”. So if people come back on “light duties”, that still counts in terms of incapacity, as of course does any sickness absence resulting from the accident.
Go online at www.hse.gov.uk to make your report within 15 days of the accident. You cannot use the phone service in this category.
4. Dangerous occurrences
The concept here is the same as in the old RIDDOR (events with high injury potential that are reportable even if no injury occurred), but the list has been revised and updated. “Industry specific” dangerous occurrences applicable to mines, quarries, offshore workplaces and certain transport systems including railways remain reportable.
This section has seen a major change, as the old list of 47 reportable “industrial diseases” has been reduced to 8 categories of “work-related illness” (see below). Diseases due to exposure at work to biological agents, categorised as “major injuries” in the old regulations, are now reportable under this heading.
Under the old rules, a specific illness was always linked to a specific occupation, but now you need to report the listed illnesses whenever they occur — as long as they are linked to an activity as shown in the table below.
If in doubt, check with the doctor who made the diagnosis (having first got the employee’s written consent). Report illnesses online at www.hse.gov.uk.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Regular use of percussive or vibrating tools
Cramp in the hand or forearm
Prolonged periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm
Significant or regular exposure to a known skin sensitiser or irritant
Hand-arm Vibration Syndrome
Regular use of percussive or vibrating tools, or the holding of materials that are subject to percussive processes, or processes causing vibration
Significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitiser
Tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm
Physically demanding work involving frequent repetitive movements
Any occupational cancer
Any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent
6. What about injuries to non-employees?
This definition has been simplified to make it easier to apply in practice. Under the new rules, you must report non-fatal injuries to non-employees (eg members of the public) when they were injured in a work-related accident and then taken from the scene to hospital for treatment. If they were taken to hospital for examination, diagnostic tests or as a precautionary measure, this is not reportable. If you do need to report, you should do so online at www.hse.gov.uk.
7. Gas safety issues
Special requirements apply to you if you distribute, fill, import or otherwise supply flammable gas. You must report online if you find out (either directly or indirectly) that someone has:
lost consciousness, or
been taken to hospital for treatment for an injury arising in connection with the gas you supplied.
If you are a gas engineer registered with the Gas Safe Register, you must report any gas appliances or fittings that you consider to be dangerous (to the extent that people could die, lose consciousness or require hospital treatment). This could be due to the:
The key issue is whether you believe the situation could result in an accidental leakage of gas, inadequate combustion of gas or the inadequate removal of gas combustion products. If yes, you should report it.
8. Road accidents
Road accidents are generally out of scope for RIDDOR, as was the case with the previous rules. There are, however, four exceptions; these are reportable incidents involving the following.
Work alongside the road (eg road works).
The escape of a substance being conveyed by a vehicle.
The loading or unloading of a vehicle.
9. If you are self-employed
Last year, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) proposed to exempt from health and safety law anyone who is self-employed and whose work poses no risk to any other person. This is now expected to be implemented through the Deregulation Bill, which is currently going through Parliament. If you are self-employed, you should continue to comply with RIDDOR and watch out for the new legislation when it comes in.
10. Key actions
Update any internal accident reporting procedure and training materials with the new definitions.
All reports should be made online at www.hse.gov.uk although fatalities and specified injuries can also be reported by phone on 0845 300 9923.
Reports should be made as soon as possible but always within 10 days of the incident (15 days for “more than 7-day” incapacity for work accidents).
Brief the changes to managers and anyone responsible for reporting and recording.
If you use a computerised recording system, contact your supplier to find out about updates/new versions prompted by the RIDDOR changes.
The following HSE resources are available at www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/resources.htm.
Reporting Accidents and Incidents at Work
Incident Reporting in Schools
Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences in Health and Social Care
Paul Smith is a Fellow of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner with many years’ experience of investigating accidents. He is a former HSE Inspector and is now a member of the Setters coaching community.