In an employment setting, one has to be aware of any relevant legislation that determines how to act in given situations. The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) details what duties are put onto employers, self-employed persons, or those who are in control of workplaces in situations requiring reporting of incidents. This article explains some key definitions involved with the legislation, as well as some other associated things that are required to be reported.
Definitions in the Legislation
RIDDOR outlines when incidents have to be reported to an authority. It outlines that work-related deaths and injuries have to be reported:
- When the injury was caused by an ‘accident’
- The ‘accident’ was ‘work-related’
- And the injury is of a ‘reportable’ type
But what do these words specifically mean to an employer? In the context of RIDDOR, an ‘accident’ is an identifiable, unintended, separate incident that involves physical injury. Non-consensual violence at the workplace also falls under this definition. Injuries aren’t classed as ‘accidents’ automatically; there has to be an identifiable external cause for the injury, like being hit by a truck moving gear around. Likewise, cumulative events that eventually cause an injury, like repetitively lifting heavy objects, are not classed as ‘accidents’, because they are not singular events.
‘Work-related’ in the context of RIDDOR covers accidents that occur ‘outside of or in connection with work’. This means that if an accident occurs in a workplace, it might not be considered ‘work-related’ under RIDDOR. In order to be classed as ‘work-related’, the work activity must contribute to the sustained injury. If any of the varying factors play a large role in the accident, then it is likely to be ‘work-related’. In RIDDOR, these factors are the machinery/substances/equipment used in the work; the way in which the work was carried out; and the conditions of the site of the accident.
The final definition deals with what is considered ‘reportable’ under RIDDOR. RIDDOR stipulates that a reportable incident is one in which any of the following is a direct result of a work-related accident:
- Injuries that result in incapacitation for more than 7 days
- Specified injuries to workers at a workplace, or in a hospital environment
- Injuries to non-workers that result in them being taken immediately to the hospital
- And the death of any person
Reportable Incidents (RIDDOR)
As mentioned in the definition of ‘reportable’, a type of injury known as ‘specified injuries to workers’ can be reported under RIDDOR. Specified injuries encompass a wide variety of injuries, and are laid out in Regulation 4.
- Fractures: Excluding the extremities, fractures are reportable once diagnosed as existing by a doctor. An x-ray is not required if the doctor believes a fracture is the most likely thing.
- Amputation: Applies when an arm/hand/finger/thumb/leg/foot/toe is amputated during an accident or during a surgical procedure required because of the accident.
- Sight Loss: Any injury that causes a permanent loss or reduction of sight in one or both eyes, after it has been diagnosed as such by a medical professional, is reportable under RIDDOR
- Crush Injuries: If an accident involving a crushing impact delivers permanent damage to internal organs, then it is reportable under RIDDOR
- Burns: subject to certain conditions, burns are reportable under RIDDOR. These conditions in RIDDOR are where the burns cover more than 10% of the body, or where there is significant damage to the eyes, lungs, or vital organs.
- Scalping: Where the skin is traumatically scalped, e.g when hair is caught in a machine and yanks off a large amount of the scalp, it is reportable under RIDDOR providing the injuries necessitated hospitalisation.
- Loss of Consciousness: When a loss of consciousness occurs due to either asphyxiation or a head injury, it is reportable under RIDDOR. The length of time of unconsciousness is irrelevant for purposes of RIDDOR
A final category of injuries under RIDDOR is when an injury occurs in an enclosed space that leads to either hypothermia (or a heat-induced illness), or the requirement of resuscitation or hospitalisation for more than 24 hours.
Regulation 8 of RIDDOR requires employers (be they traditional employers, self-employed persons, or those in control of workplaces) to report any diagnosed cases of certain medical conditions. These conditions are:
- Occupational Dermatitis: likely to develop where a worker frequently comes into contact with skin irritants
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (as well as Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome): likely to occur where a person frequently uses vibrating tools
- Occupational Asthma: may develop when around frequent or significant contact to respiratory irritants
- Hand/Forearm Cramping: can develop when work involves prolonged periods of repetitive movements of the hand/forearms
- Tendonitis: which may develop in the forearm or hand where work is physically demanding and features frequent, repetitive movements
Finally, regulation 9 of RIDDOR requires that any cases of occupational cancers, or injuries as a result of exposure to biological agents in an industrial session.
Cancers have to be reported in cases where there has been an established link between the hazards of work and the confirmed cancer in a person. Reports of cancers are only required when the person’s work materially increases the risk of developing associated cancer, which is something a medical practitioner will be able to advise on.
For biological agents, reports are only required when the disease can be attributed to exposure to an agent in a work environment. Work-related exposure can include things such as when a laboratory container containing microorganism cultures are broken and cause an infection, but again a medical professional will be able to advise on the significance of any factors.
TutorCare Ltd offers an online course covering the legislation, your responsibilities as an employer and how to report incidents.
Our E-Learning Reporting of Injury, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations Awareness course is ideal for both employers and the self-employed. Available for a one-off payment of £39.00 + VAT it allows you the opportunity to complete the course at your own pace over a 12 month period. Successful candidates will receive a digital certificate upon completion.
Please visit the following link for a full list of our Health and Safety training.
Further Reading on RIDDOR
The Health and Safety Executive site contains detailed information on all aspects and implications of RIDDOR here – HSE Website