What is RIDDOR?
You might think it sounds like some kind of pest control, but RIDDOR is an integral part of your responsibilities if you're running a business, are self-employed or are responsible for the premises of a business. It stands for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013, and forms part of the general Health and Safety at Work provisions with regard to accidents.
If anything serious happens to an employee at the workplace which is attributable to the workplace itself, its equipment, or the manner of working, then such injuries must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Regulations also apply to people who are injured at the workplace, even if they're not employees. RIDDOR is there to protect workers and, ultimately, to reduce the number of accidents that occur. The HSE monitors trends so as to improve preventative measures, and employers are held responsible for the overall safety of their premises. Failure to comply could result in substantial fines.
What's classified as serious?
The Regulations list many examples, but in essence, a serious reportable accident means that someone has to be hospitalised. It must be reported if a person is kept away from work for seven days or more, breaks or loses a limb, or suffers other major trauma such as severe burns, concussion, or loss of eyesight. Occupational diseases also feature, such as work-induced cancers and illnesses resulting from exposure to biological agents.
Accidents at work can range from the merely irritating to the horrific and life-changing. In the worst-case scenario, the employee may die; this is particularly relevant to those working in industries such as quarries, mines, railways and offshore workplaces. Particular attention is given to employees in the gas industry, and those working with chemicals and biological agents such as cell cultures, micro-organisms or human endoparasites. The terms are more specifically defined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), and relate to toxic or allergenic substances which can cause infections in humans.
What do I need to do?
If the accident falls within the provisions of the Regulations, then the Responsible Person in the organisation is obliged to report it to the HSE. If you're the employer or the manager of the workplace premises, then you're the Responsible Person, and the same goes if you're self-employed. Suppliers of gas, and engineers working with gas appliances must report gas-related injuries or danger.
Filing a report is not as difficult or challenging as you might think, and simply involves filling in an online form for submission to the HSE. In certain circumstances, such as accidental death or an injury specified in the Regulations, you can also report by phone. The HSE emphasise that it's not an emergency service and doesn't operate out of normal office hours, so online reporting is the most straightforward means of notifying them. You should report any accident immediately, and in any event within 10 days of its occurrence.
Many workplace accidents can be avoided by carrying out a thorough Risk Assessment to identify potential dangers. At WSS, we're always happy to help you with this.