RIDDOR: How to Report an Incident or Accident at Work

December 19, 2016
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No matter how hard you try to prevent it, accidents do unfortunately happen. Finding out what caused them is, of course, essential so you can take action to stop future incidents. However, it’s equally important to report any cases of work-related injuries, illnesses, or incidents to the right authorities: this is where RIDDOR comes in.

What is RIDDOR?

RIDDOR stands for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

It is a legal requirement to submit a report to RIDDOR if certain reportable injuries, illnesses, or incidents occur in the workplace or as a direct result of work activities. This includes work-related deaths, major injuries, 7-day injuries (those causing more than seven days’ absence from work), work-related diseases, and dangerous occurrences (also known as near misses – for example, a person almost falling off a ladder).

Worker with a broken arm

Certain responsible persons – including employers, self-employed, and other superiors such as managers and supervisors – must keep records of these incidences and submit the relevant report form to RIDDOR through the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

How Do I Report to RIDDOR?

If an accident occurs at work that is considered one of the reportable incidents, a responsible person needs to submit a report online via the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with all the details of the incident.

Employer on computer reporting RIDDOR incident

This includes:

  • The date and time of the incident.
  • The location of the incident.
  • The work activities that were being carried out before the incident.
  • The type of incident.
  • Details about what happened.
  • Details about the afflicted person(s).
  • Details about the business.

RIDDOR reportable incidents all need to be submitted online. Only under certain circumstances can it be reported over the phone or via paper. You may use the telephone service for fatal/specified and major incidents and can report by post if you have no other means of reporting.

Reporting RIDDOR incident injury form

Remember: only responsible persons must report to RIDDOR. It is not appropriate for injured people, members of the public, or other people who do not have specific duties under RIDDOR to use the HSE’s reporting system.

What Must I Report to RIDDOR?

Not all work-related incidents need to be reported to RIDDOR. Only certain types of:

  • Fatal and non-fatal injuries.
  • Occupational diseases.
  • Dangerous occurrences (often referred to as ‘near misses’).
  • Incidents that result in more than seven days’ absence from work.
  • Incidents involving gases.

There are some incidents that are not reportable at all, such as traffic road accidents and those involving members of the armed forces.

You need to send a report without delay, as reports must be received within 10 days of the incident. If the incident resulted in more than seven days’ absence from work, however, it can be submitted within 15 days. In the case of occupational illnesses and diseases, the report should be submitted as soon as a diagnosis is received.

Reportable injuries include:

  • Fractures.
  • Amputations.
  • Loss of/damage to sight.
  • Scalping.
  • Burns.
  • Crushing.
  • Dislocations.
  • Serious electric shocks.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Injury from working in an enclosed space.

Employee in a wheelchair

Reportable illnesses include:

  • Occupational asthma.
  • Occupational dermatitis.
  • Hand/arm vibrating syndrome.
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis.
  • Carpal tunnel.

Reportable dangerous occurrences include:

  • Explosion, collapse, or bursting of pipework.
  • Accidental release of a dangerous biological agent.
  • Collapsed, or partially collapsed scaffolding.
  • The accidental collision of a train with any vehicle.
  • The load-bearing parts of lifts or lifting equipment collapsing, overturning, or failing.

Do I Need to Keep RIDDOR Records?

It is a legal requirement for companies with more than 10 employees to keep an accident book, and this needs to contain all the details of an incident that you would report to RIDDOR. It is, therefore, a legal requirement to keep records of RIDDOR incidents that you have reported.

This may be accomplished by filling in the accident book or maintaining a written log in hard copy or digitally. When you submit to RIDDOR, a copy of the form is sent to the email address provided and you have the option to print and/or save a copy of the online form.

Not only is this necessary for abiding by the law, but also for aiding your health and safety management. Records of past incidents offer insight into where risks are high in the business and how employers can reduce these risks. During risk assessments, this information is useful for identifying hazards and assessing existing controls.

Accident books for RIDDOR incidents

Plus, RIDDOR will not pass on information to insurance companies if you need to make an insurance claim, so it’s important that you retain records, which contain vital details that may be requested during claims.

Records must be kept for a minimum of three years, although good practice recommends keeping them for six in case of any legal issues that require them being presented.

Don’t overlook the requirements of the Data Protection Act, however. Records of RIDDOR incidents – and any incidents kept in the accident book for that matter – contain personal information about people and so must be stored confidentially. Protecting people’s privacy is just as important as protecting their health and safety.

Why is RIDDOR Important?

Reporting to RIDDOR enables the relevant enforcing authorities to identify where and how risks arise, fully investigate situations, and find the root of the problem. This data also enables them to track the year-by-year rate of work-related incidents and produce statistics on injury and illness occurrence.

This, in turn, helps raise awareness of the prevalence of accidents and ill-health caused by work and so reminds people of the need to address health and safety risks.

Construction worker in an accident

For example: did you know that in 2017/18, an estimated 555,000 injuries occurred at work and 1.4 million working people are suffering from a new or ongoing work-related illness?

This shows the need for everyone – including you – to improve their business’ health and safety procedures. You must protect your workplace from RIDDOR incidents so people can work and live comfortably, free of ill health or harm.

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