We go out with the best of intentions and yet the fact is, employees still get injured or killed while at work. Whether that’s through a set of unfortunate circumstances, malfunctioning equipment, mistakes or even just through the repetition of the same task. To this end employers are legally required to report specific injuries, illnesses and incidents through RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.
To give this some scale, in 2020/21, there were 51,211 non-fatal injuries to employees, and 142 fatal injuries according to RIDDOR. But there is some good news: in general, non-fatal injuries are showing an annual downward trend, whilst fatal injuries, after showing a downward trend to 2012/13, have levelled out to be broadly flat.
By studying the reports, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can identify common occurrences and trends, and develop its enforcement strategy accordingly. Ideally, by specifying these historically dangerous situations, the HSE is encouraging employers to pay particular attention to these hazards and ensure they avoid, or manage them through risk assessment. The aim is to reduce injuries, illnesses or incidents.
In an ideal world we wouldn’t need RIDDOR. However as this is not the case it enables reflection on the events that have occurred to ensure people are kept safe at work by learning lessons.
In a move away from my recent articles, RIDDOR regulations relate to ‘responsible’ persons reporting incidents and injuries. In this case, ‘responsible’ is generally taken to mean employers, but it could also mean managers, the self-employed and people in control of premises.
The first thing to do is to ensure that there is no immediate danger to employees or any other person. Next, make sure the affected person receives appropriate medical attention, which will often be first aid delivered by the organisation’s qualified first aider. If the incident has been discovered by an employee, they should then report it to a manager or supervisor.
The company needs to record details of the incident (and indeed any dangerous occurrence, often called ‘near misses’) so that any trends or commonality can be spotted. This should also be supported by an investigation into what happened, all of which will help you learn lessons and take measures to reduce the likelihood of a repeat incident.
And of course, you’ll need to complete a RIDDOR report.
You’ll need to fill out the correct form on the HSE website, where all of the options are clearly highlighted.
Alternatively, for fatal or specified incidents only, you can make a telephone report by calling the HSE’s Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923.
It’s important to note that RIDDOR incidents must be reported within 10 days, or within 15 if the incident leads to more than seven days’ absence from work. All reported RIDDOR incidents should be recorded, so I recommend that you download your RIDDOR report for your records and keep it for at least three years, but ideally six years in case it’s needed for any legal procedures.
The list of what to report is fairly self-explanatory, but there are some sections which are worth taking a more detailed look at to clarify some points.
Death: as you would imagine, all work-related deaths (employee and non-employee) must be reported. This includes those that occur up to one year after the accident if that accident was the cause of death. Suicide and self-harm are not reportable.
Injuries: RIDDOR 2013 specifies 8 types of injury that must be reported, and they can be summarised as:
Occupational diseases: these can easily be overlooked when it comes to RIDDOR, but any of the following which has been caused, or made worse, by the person’s current work must be reported:
Dangerous occurrences: because these are ‘near misses’, this is another category which is in danger of going unreported. Incidents that could have caused harm that should be reported include:
The overall message is to stay on top of all of your reporting, investigation and risk assessment responsibilities. To be human is to make mistakes, and if we do, learn from them.