Reporting work-related injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences: how to avoid a criminal offence

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 ("RIDDOR") require employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises to formally report certain work related accidents to the Health and Safety Executive ("HSE"). Failure to do so is a criminal offence, and could be seen as an aggravating feature if a health and safety prosecution followed. Directors, HR teams and senior managers should be aware of RIDDOR, and know when and how to make a report.

What injuries are reportable?

Reportable injuries cover a broad spectrum.

Firstly, there are specified injuries under the relevant regulations that must always be reported. These include:

  • any fatality death (except suicide);
  • any fractures (except fingers, thumbs and toes);
  • any amputations;
  • any injury likely to lead to at least a reduction in sight;
  • any crush injury to the head or torso damaging the brain or internal organs;
  • serious burns:
    • covering more than 10% of the body; and
    • damaging the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs;
  • any scalping requiring hospitalisation;
  • any loss of consciousness due to a head injury or asphyxia;
  • any other injury from working in an enclosed space leading to hypothermia or a heat related illness that requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.

Secondly, there are injuries that result in hospitalisation or incapacitation that must be dealt with. These include:

  • incapacitation for more than seven consecutive days due to an injury (which must be reported within 15 days);
  • incapacitation for more than three consecutive days (this should be recorded but not reported);
  • non-fatal accidents to non-workers where that person is hospitalised for treatment of their injury (which must be reported);
  • a diagnosis of an occupational disease where they are likely to have been caused or made worse by work (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis of forearm, hard-arm vibration syndrome etc.)

Thirdly, reports are required for certain dangerous occurrences that had the potential to cause injury or death. Dangerous occurrences can include:

  • collapsed of lifting equipment;
  • electrical dangers;
  • failure of pressure systems;
  • explosions; and
  • gas releases.

Finally, where a gas incident has resulted in a death, loss of consciousness or treatment at hospital in connection with that incident then the distributor, filler, importer or supplier of that gas should make a report.

When should I make the report?

For death, serious injury and dangerous occurrences, the report should be made immediately or as soon as possible after the event. Generally however, the relevant authority (the local authority or the HSE) should be notified of the incident without delay by the fastest possible means.

Generally, reports should be made within 10 days of the incident. The exception is where a worker has been incapacitated for 7 days. In which case the report must be made within 15 days of the incident. 

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