The New RIDDOR Regime

The reporting requirements in relation to accidents at work changed on 6th April 2012. It therefore seems a good time to review when workplace accidents must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive (‘HSE’).

Under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) there is a legal duty on employers, the self employed or someone in control of work premises to report and record some work related accidents and injuries.

Failure to report ‘reportable’ accidents is a criminal offence and the responsible person can be sentenced in the Magistrates’ Court with a fine up to £20,000, or in the Crown Court with an unlimited fine. Individuals deemed responsible for non-reporting can also face a period of imprisonment for up to two years.

It is therefore vitally important that if an accident occurs which is ‘reportable’ that it is reported and recorded in accordance with RIDDOR’s requirements. However, businesses should be certain that an accident is ‘reportable’ before reporting; making an unnecessary report may bring unwanted scrutiny and investigation by the HSE.

So what work related accidents are reportable?

  • Deaths;
  • Major injuries, including but not limited to fractures (other than to fingers, toes and thumbs), dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine and loss of sight;
  • Over-seven-day injuries (previously over-three-day injuries) which are non major injuries which cause an employee or a self-employed person working on your premises to be away from work or unable to do their full range of normal duties for more than seven days;
  • Disease, including but not limited to certain musculoskeletal disorders (for example repetitive strain) and hand arm vibration syndrome (vibration white finger); and
  • Dangerous occurrences (near misses) including but not limited to collapse, or failure of load bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment and electrical short circuits.

(Please note that this list is not exhaustive but highlights the most common reportable accidents and other injuries and accidents (including some gas incidents) need to be reported as well)

All the above accidents must be recorded within the responsible person’s internal records. Deaths, major injuries and dangerous occurrences must be reported without delay. A written report must be submitted within 10 days of the incident, apart from over-seven-day injuries which require a written report to be submitted within 15 days.

So far the changes have received a mixed response. Whilst businesses will be pleased for the reduced regulatory burden to report injuries, other groups are concerned that the changes will be detrimental to the health and safety of employees as many accidents that were previously caught by RIDDOR will now go unreported and the regulatory bodies will not be aware of such accidents.

Either way, businesses must be aware that their reporting duties have changed to avoid making unnecessary reports to the HSE.

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