Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
Since 2015 or so, accident reports sent to HSE and local authorities show that nearly 60 employees were killed and 5,000 seriously injured whilst at work in haulage and distribution. Another 23,000 suffered injuries severe enough to keep them off work for more than three days. These figures take no account of work-related ill health such as back pain or stress. This represents a higher rate of accidents to employees than either construction or agriculture, both widely regarded as hazardous industries.
These figures are unacceptable in today's modern society where a plethora of regulation and procedural practice pervades in an industry that has introduced speed limiters, safer working practices, reduced working hours through the Road Transport Working Time Directive and equally so the EC Drivers Hours Rules (561/06). There is no such thing as an accident. A 'so-called' accident is wholly down to the negligence of one or more individuals not adhering to sensible policy/procedure, which inevitably results in pain, suffering and unnecessary cost for all involved. A little more thought, a lot less speed in the workplace and doing things properly rather than looking for short cuts will undoubtedly make for safer working and ultimately save lives.
What is RIDDOR?
RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, referred to as RIDDOR for short. These Regulations came into force on 1 April 1996. This legislation places a legal duty on:
- self-employed people
- people in control of premises
As such, businesses are required under the regulations to report work-related deaths, major injuries or over-three-day injuries, work-related diseases, and dangerous occurrences i.e. near-miss accidents. The easiest way to do this is online via the HSE website at the link below:
Reporting accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement. The information enables the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities, to identify where and how risks arise, and to investigate serious accidents. The enforcing authorities can then help and provide advice on how to reduce injury, and ill health in a workplace.
From 6 April 2012, subject to Parliamentary approval, RIDDOR's over three-day injury reporting requirement will change. The trigger point will increase from over three days' to over seven days' incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened).
What is reportable under RIDDOR?
An employer, a person who is self-employed, or someone in control of work premises, has legal duties under RIDDOR that require the reporting and recording of some work-related accidents by the quickest means possible. If there is an accident connected with work and an employee, or a self-employed person working on the premises, or a member of the public is killed, the business must notify the enforcing authority without delay. The procedure for reporting serious injuries at work is identical and should be followed in the same manner.
Reportable major injuries are:
- fracture, other than to fingers, thumbs and toes
- dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine
- loss of sight (temporary or permanent)
- chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye
- injury resulting from an electric shock or electrical burn leading to unconsciousness, or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
- any other injury: leading to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or unconsciousness; or requiring resuscitation; or requiring admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours
- unconsciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent
- acute illness requiring medical treatment, or loss of consciousness arising from absorption of any substance by inhalation, ingestion or through the skin
- acute illness requiring medical treatment where there is reason to believe that this resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material
- reportable over-three-day injuries
If there is an accident connected with work, including an act of physical violence and the employee, or a self-employed person working on the premises, suffers an over-three-day injury it must be reported ed to the enforcing authority within ten days.
An over-three-day injury is one that is not "major" but results in the injured person being away from work or unable to do the full range of their normal duties for more than three days.
What is a reportable disease or occurrence?
If a doctor notifies that an employee suffers from a reportable work-related disease, then it must be reported to the enforcing authority. Reportable diseases 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; hepatitis; tuberculosis; anthrax; legionellosis and tetanus
- other conditions such as occupational cancer; certain musculoskeletal disorders; decompression illness and hand-arm vibration syndrome
If something happens which does not result in a reportable injury, but which clearly could have done, then it may be a dangerous occurrence that must be reported immediately and is referred to as a reportable dangerous occurrence or near-miss. Reportable dangerous occurrences are:
- collapse, overturning or failure of load-bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment
- explosion, collapse or bursting of any closed vessel or associated pipework
- failure of any freight container in any of its load-bearing parts
- plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines
- electrical short circuit or overload causing fire or explosion
- any unintentional explosion, misfire, failure of demolition to cause the intended collapse, projection of material beyond a site boundary, injury caused by an explosion
- accidental release of a biological agent likely to cause severe human illness
- failure of industrial radiography or irradiation equipment to de-energise or return to its safe position after the intended exposure period
- malfunction of breathing apparatus while in use or during testing immediately before use
When to make a report
Although the Regulations specify varying timescales for reporting different types of incidents, it is best to report the incident as soon as possible. In cases of death, major injury, or dangerous occurrences, the incident must be notified to the enforcing authority without delay.
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 that an employee suffers from a reportable work-related disease.
What records should be kept?
A record must be kept of any reportable injury, disease or dangerous occurrence and must include:
- the date and method of reporting
- the date, time and place of the event
- the personal details of those involved
- a brief description of the nature of the event or disease
The record may be kept in any form e.g.
- keeping copies of report forms in a file
- recording the details on a computer
- using an Accident Book entry
- maintaining a written log
For further information pertaining to RIDDOR, please use the links below.