RIDDOR stands for the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations and was introduced in 1995, with updates in 2013 (RIDDOR 2013).
RIDDOR sets out rules that should be followed by employers, the self-employed and anyone responsible for working premises (e.g. a site manager) in case a workplace accident or work-related illness is suffered by an employee or member of the public. It also covers near misses. Not all incidents need to be reported, but the RIDDOR guidelines set out clearly which accidents, injuries and illnesses are required by law to be disclosed to the authorities.
The changes to RIDDOR introduced in 2013 were significant but centred on tighter definitions and the reclassification of major injuries into a shorter list of ‘specified injuries’. The list of 47 types of industrial diseases was replaced with eight groups of work-related illnesses and the number of dangerous occurrences that needed reporting was cut.
The aim of RIDDOR is to create a record of the number and type of incidents and illnesses in order to form a picture of risks involved in different industries and occupations, and to improve the investigation of serious accidents. This key data is important for researchers to gain a full understanding of how common different occupational injuries are (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as lower back pain). Armed with this information, government organisations can give guidance and support to industries, businesses and workers.
When reports should be made to RIDDOR
Only certain types of reportable injuries need to be disclosed and these must be work-related. In judging whether an injury is work-related, the responsible person should consider:
- the way the work was organised, carried out or supervised;
- whether any machinery or substance was involved;
- the condition of the site.
- The death of a worker or member of the public due to an incident at a workplace, including a worker being physically attacked. This does not include a suicide that occurs at work.
- Major injury, which is defined by RIDDOR to include:
- broken bones or dislocation (with the exception of fingers or toes);
- injury where the skin separates from the head (requiring hospital treatment);
- injury from electric shock or serious burns;
- loss of sight or chemical burn to the eye;
- crush injuries affecting the head or torso;
- injury as a result of confined space work that results in hypothermia, heat-related illness, the heart stopping or requires hospital treatment for more than 24 hours;
- loss of consciousness due to head injuries, chemicals, toxins, infected materials or asphyxia.
- Injury resulting in more than seven days of lost work. Accidents must be reported to RIDDOR when they result in the worker being unable to work for seven consecutive days, including weekends. An accident should be recorded by the employer if a worker is unable to work for three consecutive days (an accident book or internal online reporting is adequate for this). Employers are however generally advised to record all accidents and near miss incidents that occur in the workplace regardless of any impact on the ability to attend work.
- Injuries to members of the public which involve that person being taken directly to hospital for medical treatment.
Reportable occupational diseases
Employers and the self-employed should report all diagnosis of certain occupational conditions where these relate to their job, such as:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVs).
- Tendonitis in the lower arm caused by working practices.
- Severe cramp in the arm or hand.
- Occupational dermatitis.
- Occupational cancer.
- Lung diseases such as occupational asthma or
- Any disease associated with exposure to a biological agent.
Reportable dangerous occurrences
These are clearly-defined incidents which may be near-misses but could have resulted in death or injury. These include:
- collapsed lifting equipment;
- equipment touching power lines;
- major fires;
- accidental chemical spillages;
- failure of diving equipment or breathing apparatus;
- collision between a train and another vehicle.
Reportable gas incidents
Distributors and suppliers should report all cases of people dying, losing consciousness or being taken to hospital for treatment of an incident involving gas. And gas fitters should report badly designed and installed gas appliances.
Who is responsible for reporting under RIDDOR?
Incident reports are the responsibility of the employer, the self-employed, or the site manager where the incident took place. Employees do not report incidents to RIDDOR. Only deaths, serious incidents or specified injuries should be reported to the HSE by phone, by calling the Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923 during office hours (although deaths or serious incidents should be reported out of hours).
Other reports should be made within 10 days of the incident through the HSE’s online system. Online forms are available on the HSE website.
Employers are also required under RIDDOR to keep records of incidents including:
- any injury, disease or dangerous occurrence that requires reporting under RIDDOR;
- any illness or injury that forces a worker to miss three consecutive days work.
The proper recording of the details of an illness or injury are regarded as essential in helping companies undertake full risk assessments and gain an understanding of the risks of the workplace. The following details should be recorded:
- The date, time, place of the event.
- Details of those involved.
- A summary of what happened.
- Details of the injury/illness that resulted.
RIDDOR-reportable incidents are relatively infrequent but organisations need to know what to do in case any injuries or notifiable illnesses do happen in the workplace. For guidance, contact the free Fit For Work advice line on 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Welsh). Those in Scotland can call 0800 019 2211.