What is RIDDOR and why is it important?

Here, we view RIDDOR - the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 2013. These regulations apply in England, Wales and Scotland. Incidents that occur in Northern Ireland are instead to be reported to the HSE (N.I.).

RIDDOR places responsibility on people in control of work places (known as the Responsible Person) to report certain serious accidents which result in death or certain types of injury (see below) and which happen on the premises, independently of whether they are an employer or self-employed. Occupational diseases and certain types of dangerous occurrences that do not necessarily result in an actual accident (these are referred to as ‘near misses’) are also to be reported. These might include spillage of carcinogens or biological agents, or gas incidents.

The regulations specify a list of injuries to replace the earlier 1995 list and include:

  • fractures (except fingers, thumbs and toes) and amputations.
  • any injury that may cause permanent loss of or reduction in sight.
  • burns (including scalding) to more than 10 percent of the body, or which damage the eye(s), the respiratory system or any other vital organs.
  • crush injuries either to the head which cause brain damage, or to the chest which cause damage to internal organs.
  • unconsciousness due to asphyxia or head injury.
  • when working in enclosed spaces, injuries that lead to hyperthermia or other heat-induced illness, or hypothermia (excessive cold).
  • scalping, if hospital treatment is required.
  • resuscitation, or hospital admission for more than twenty-four hours.

Accidents must also be reported if the injury causes more than seven days of sickness absence (or inability to work as normal) after the accident. Such reports are to be submitted within fifteen days of the accident.

Conversely, if the worker is laid up for over three successive days, the accident must simply be recorded (not reported); in this case, an entry in the employer’s accident book (Social Security Regulations 1979 refer) will suffice.

Accidents suffered by members of the public (who are not at their place of work) must also be reported if the person is injured and, as a result, taken directly to hospital. This does not apply if the hospital attention is limited to examinations and diagnostic tests. In addition, if no injury is apparent and the person is taken to hospital merely as a precaution, it is not necessary to make a report.

Occupational diseases that are to be reported include severe cramps, vibration syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis (possible RSI or repetitive strain injury) that occur in the hand(s) or forearm(s). Additionally, work-related asthma or dermatitis, occupational cancer and diseases attributable to biological agents must be reported.

Near misses that are subject to reporting requirements include when elevators or lifting equipment collapse, overturn or fail as well as if machinery or equipment comes into direct contact with electrical power lines. Any accidental release of harmful substances also requires a report.

Registered gas engineers also have to report defective gas appliances which they consider dangerous, i.e. those which might cause death, loss of consciousness or hospitalisation (due to noxious emissions, for example).

Reports may be submitted online. A telephone service is also in operation for reporting fatal and specified injuries (0345 300 9923, office hours Monday to Friday). Finally, paper report forms are no longer used; the online system is preferred. However, if it is essential to send a report by post, it should be addressed to the RIDDOR Reports section of the Health and Safety Executive in Bootle, Merseyside.