What is RIDDOR & How Important is it for UK Organisations?

Whether you’re an established business or you just started a business in the UK, you have probably come across the term RIDDOR and wondered, “What is RIDDOR, and is it something I need to know?”

To answer the first part of the question, RIDDOR is a health and safety UK law that requires all UK businesses to make their workplaces safer and healthier. RIDDOR stands for and refers to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. 

As for the latter half of the question, the answer is yes. Every employer needs to know about RIDDOR because they are legally required to comply. In this article, we share the most essential things about RIDDOR employers need to know. 

Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013

As the name suggests, this 2013 law requires employers to report certain accidents and incidents to the relevant authorities within specific timeframes. Its aim is to provide an effective and efficient framework for reporting health-related injuries, illnesses and dangerous occurrences. 

RIDDOR is being applied to all employers in all sectors in the UK. It is essential for employers to understand their obligations under RIDDOR to ensure workplace health and safety to the best possible standards. 

There are two main parts to this law: 

  • RIDDOR I — the Health and Safety section, which provides a legal framework for health and safety complaints relating to workplace accidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences.
  • RIDDOR II — the Workplace accidents compensation scheme, which provides a legal framework for work-related accidents and illnesses.

Why is RIDDOR Important? 

Workplace injuries are a frightening reality for the UK. These injuries are the third-highest cause of ill-health and disability in the UK, after heart disease and cancer. Some 33,000 Britons die every year from work-related injuries and illnesses. In fact, more people in the UK die from workplace accidents than car accidents. 

According to HSE statistics, common workplace accidents and injury, which include both non-fatal and fatal injuries, have cost employers in Great Britain a total of £3.2 bn from 2017/18 to 2019/20. It has also cost the government £3.2 bn in the same period. These costs are predicted to grow even further.

Thus, reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations were created to help minimise work-related ill health and injury for the benefit of employees and employers alike.

Paying attention to RIDDOR I can benefit companies in numerous ways, including reducing the risks of workplace accidents, avoiding the hefty fines imposed for serious health and safety breaches, and minimising the expensive toll that workplace injuries can have upon a company under RIDDOR II compensation scheme.

What are RIDDOR Reportable Injuries?

What does RIDDOR cover? In general, this law covers any work-related injury, illness, poisoning, and dangerous occurrences at work. Specifically, the types of RIDDOR reportable injuries and dangerous occurrences fall into the following categories:

  1. Non-fatal injuries to workers
    Any bone fracture other than to a finger, thumb, or toe; amputation; injuries that are likely to cause permanent blinding or sight impairment; a crush injury to the head or torso; any burn injury that covers more than 10% of the body or causes significant damage to an organ; any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment; loss of consciousness due to head injury or asphyxia; and any other injury that results from working in a closed space that leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness, requires resuscitation or requires hospital admission for more than 24 hours.
  2. Non-fatal injuries to non-workers
    Any injury to a person not on work duty or not an employee that requires hospital treatment.
  3. Work-related fatalities
    Suppose any person dies due to a work-related accident, or as a result of occupational exposure to a biological agent. A report must also be made if any non-fatal injuries to workers become the cause of death within one year of the date of the accident.
  4. Dangerous occurrences
    Dangerous occurrences refer to any incident with a high potential to cause death or serious injury that occur at a workplace, at an offshore workplace, or at a workplace with specific requirements such as mines, quarries, and relevant transport systems.
  5. Occupational diseases
    Any work-related tasks that lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, cramps in the hand or forearm, occupational dermatitis, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, occupational asthma, and tendonitis or tenosynovitis in the hand or forearm.
  6. Exposure to carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents
    Any cancer or disease attributed to occupational exposure to a known human carcinogen, mutagen, or biological agent.
  7. Diseases offshore
    An offshore worker receiving a diagnosis of a disease.
  8. Gas-related injuries and hazards
    Injury, loss of consciousness, or death linked to an accidental gas leak, gas combustion, or the inadequate removal of the product of gas combustion.

RIDDOR Reporting Timescales and Record-keeping

If one of these reportable incidents does happen in your workplace, there are a few steps you need to follow:

  1. You must keep detailed, up-to-date records of any incidents in an accident book or something similar. This information should then be used to inform future risk assessments and updated health and safety policies for your organisation. It’s also a good idea to take a photograph of where the accident happened.
  2. All RIDDOR records must be kept for at least three years from the date it was recorded. Employers are also legally obliged to keep the record accessible to the workplace it relates to, or at the workplace of the person responsible for RIDDOR record-keeping. 

In order to fully comply with RIDDOR, the most forward thinking businesses empower their staff to report incidents and near-misses directly. This makes staff share in the responsibility and captures the data that senior stakeholders may miss when they're not on the front-line. A mobile incident reporting software lets employees log any unsafe practices the moment they're spotted, keeping your reporting up to date and ensuring you can prevent a potential RIDDOR breach.

Make Incident Reporting Easy with our Incidents Reporting solution. Learn more

The reporting timescales will depend on the type of injury or accident:

  1. You must notify the enforcing authority and accident resulting in the death of any person, specified injuries to workers, non-fatal accidents requiring hospital treatment for non-workers, and dangerous occurrences, as soon as possible and no later than 10 days after the incident.

  2. You must notify the enforcing authority, any accident resulting in the over-seven-day incapacitation of a worker, within 15 days of the incident.

  3. You must notify any case of occupational disease, including those associated with exposure to carcinogens, mutagens or biological agents, as soon as a diagnosis is confirmed and reported to the employer.

The easiest way to submit a reportable incident is to use the RIDDOR online form, or call the Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 9923.

Why Should I Report RIDDOR Incidents?

Many employers ask, “Why should I report RIDDOR, even if the injury was small, or if the employee admits his fault, or if nobody is going to sue me?”

Regardless of the situation, an employer is still legally obliged to report RIDDOR incidents. The consequences of not adhering to RIDDOR reporting can result in a fine of up to £20,000 in the Magistrates' Court or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court. The person(s) responsible may also have to face a jail term of up to two years, depending on the severity of the incident.

Take the example of Tesco as a cautionary tale. Between 2009 and 2010, the environmental health council officers of Bracknell Forest Council discovered that Tesco had failed to report two employee accidents at two of its store locations. 

The supermarket giant admitted that they failed to stop an unsafe working practice involving unloading to ensure employees’ safety. Consequently, they were fined £14,000 in breach of Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. Since Tesco had also not reported the work accidents resulting from this unsafe working practice, they were fined a further £34,000 for three breaches of RIDDOR.

Conducting a Risk Assessment Hand-in-Hand with RIDDOR

The Tesco case study underlines the importance for an employer to also conduct a risk assessment to identify and mitigate workplace risks, which can help reduce the risk of accidents and injuries that need to be reported under RIDDOR. 

A risk assessment is a review of workplace conditions and the dangers that could be present. These dangers could be posing a risk to your workers, managers, customers, or a combination of these factors. 

The main objective of a general risk assessment is to determine how to decrease occupational injuries and ill health for your company. Conducting a risk assessment can help reduce the risk of reportable RIDDOR incidents, 

To get started with a risk assessment, or for guidelines on improving your current risk assessment in compliance with HSE regulations, you can go here to download our free risk assessment template

Lone Worker Risk Assessment Template

Are you interested in tracking and reporting incidents with ease? With our Incident Reporting product, you can streamline how you capture, manage, and report on safety incidents. Our digital system eliminates the headache and manual errors of pen and paper.

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