Last reviewed 14 May 2021
A recent case heard in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court has reminded builders of the importance of their obligations under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
On 8 January 2019, worker Simon Lewis had been clearing a site in New Malden with an excavator when it tipped and trapped his leg, resulting in an amputation.
The incident was not reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 10 days as required and the defendant in the case, Paul Adams, had not carried out an investigation.
The HSE was only able to start an investigation more than eight months later when the victim complained. By this time crucial evidence relating to the cause of the incident was unobtainable and the work was almost completed.
It discovered that Mr Lewis had no formal training for operating excavators and, although he had requested a three-ton model for the work, was put under pressure to use a smaller 1.7-ton excavator, which was the only one available.
The HSE also found that there was no health and safety related documentation and no employer’s insurance cover for Mr Lewis to claim against. During his 50 years in the construction industry, Mr Adams had never obtained any health and safety related training.
Having pleaded guilty to a breach of regulation 3(1) of the RIDDOR Regulations, Mr Adams received a 24‒week custodial sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £2033.
The judge noted that Mr Adams had not reported the incident even when prompted to by a solicitor and, despite his construction experience, had failed to take any interest in understanding his legal duties nor to invest in health and safety.