[7 min read] What is RIDDOR?

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) is law that was revised in 2013.

This requires employers to report and keep records of work-related accidents and diseases. RIDDOR also covers dangerous occurrences or near misses. 

This blog explains everything you need to know about RIDDOR, what to report and your responsibility as an employer.

What is RIDDOR

Not all incidents need be reported – only certain types set out in the regulations. RIDDOR requires ‘responsible persons’ to report and keep records of:

  • Work-related accidents that result in death;
  • Work-related accidents that cause serious reportable injuries;
  • Diagnosed cases of certain occupational diseases;
  • Certain dangerous occurrences with the potential to cause harm; and
  • Gas-related incidents.

Aim of RIDDOR

The aim of RIDDOR is to create a record of incident numbers and types in order to form a picture of the risks involved in different industries and occupations. This data is important in understanding how common different occupational injuries are. It allows regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to know where and how risks in the workplace arise so that they can advise organisations how to avoid incidents. Reporting also allows the authorities to consider whether further investigation is needed.

Who must report?

Only ‘responsible persons’ are required to submit reports under RIDDOR. Responsible persons include employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises, such as the manager of the site where an incident takes place:

  • For non-fatal injuries, fatalities and dangerous occurrences, this will be the employer (and for self-employed people or non-workers, the person in control of the premises).
  • For occupational diseases, exposure to carcinogens and offshore incidents, this will be the employer (and for the self-employed, that self-employed person).

If self-employed and working on a client’s premises, your client should report matters. If working on your own premises, you should make the report.

There are also a number of special instances involving gas suppliers and engineers, working offshore, mines, tips, quarries, pipelines and wells – RIDDOR lists specific workplace cases and their ‘responsible person’.

What about employees?

Employees do not have a legal responsibility to report incidents under RIDDOR. However, if employees witness or experience something falling under RIDDOR, they should report it to an appropriate supervisor.

Free Download: RIDDOR Checklist

What must be reported?

An accident only need be reported if it is work-related and causes an injury of a reportable type.

RIDDOR provides that an ‘accident’ is ‘an act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work’. This means there must be an identifiable, unintended incident which causes physical injury, for example, when an object falls and strikes someone.

A ‘work-related accident’ is said to be ‘an accident arising out of or in connection with work’. In judging whether an injury is work-related, the responsible person should consider:

  • Whether the accident was related to the way the work was organised, carried out or supervised;
  • Any machinery, plant, substances or equipment used for work; and
  • The condition of the site or premises where the accident happened.

If none of these factors are relevant to the incident, it’s unlikely a report will be required.

Types of reportable injury under RIDDOR

Fatalities – all deaths to workers and non-workers must be reported if arising from a work-related accident, including an act of physical violence to a worker. This includes where a worker suffers a work-related accident that is then the cause of their death within a year of the accident date. Suicides are not reportable as they do not result from a work-related accident.

Specified injuries – RIDDOR sets out a list of worker injuries that must be reported. 

They include:

Any bone fracture, other than to a finger, thumb or toe. Bone fractures include a break, crack or chip. They are reportable when diagnosed or confirmed by a doctor. If an X-ray is not taken, there may be no definitive evidence of fracture but the injury will still be reportable if a doctor considers it likely there is a fracture. 

Self-diagnosed ‘suspected fractures’ are not reportable.

Amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe – both traumatic amputation at the accident time and surgical amputation following an accident as a result of the injuries sustained.

Permanent blinding or reduction of sight in one or both eyes – any blinding or reduction in sight is reportable when a doctor diagnoses the effects are likely permanent.

Any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs in the chest or abdomen.

Serious burns (including scalding) covering more than 10% of the body or significantly damaging the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organ are reportable, irrespective of the nature of the agent involved. This includes burns caused by direct heat, chemical burns and radiological burns. 

Where the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs are significantly harmed, this is reportable irrespective of the surface area covered by that burn. Damage caused by smoke inhalation is not included in this definition.

Any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment. Scalping is the traumatic separation or peeling of the skin from the head due to an accident, such as hair becoming entangled in machinery. 

Lacerations, where the skin is not separated from the head, are not included, nor are surgical procedures where skin removal is deliberate.

Unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia. The length of time someone remains unconscious is not significant in whether an incident is reportable.

Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which leads to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or admission to hospital for more than 24 hours. An enclosed space includes any space wholly or partly enclosed that creates a significantly increased health and safety risk.

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It must also be reported if, following work injury, an employee or self-employed person is away from work or unable to perform their normal duties for more than seven consecutive days. Sometimes the full extent of an injury may be unclear, such as when a prognosis has not yet been made in relation to an eye injury. In such instances, a report need not be made until the final prognosis. However, it’s likely that an injury will first need reporting if a worker is out of action for more than seven days. The enforcing authority should be notified or updated as soon as a specified injury has been confirmed.

Injuries to non-workers – all injuries to members of the public or non-workers must be reported if taken directly from the accident scene to hospital for treatment. Reporting is not required if only taken to hospital as a precaution where no injury is apparent. NB: Examinations and diagnostic tests are “treatment”.

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Occupational diseases

Once diagnosed, the following eight categories of reportable work-related illnesses must be reported by employers and the self-employed:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – where work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools.
  • Cramp in the hand or forearm – where work involves prolonged repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm. Where cramp is so severe as to lead to a clinical diagnosis, it can be severely debilitating, and impair ability to work. This condition is reportable when chronic but an acute incident in the course of work is not reportable.
  • Occupational dermatitis – where work involves significant or regular exposure to a known skin sensitiser or irritant. In particular, this includes any chemical with the warning ‘may cause sensitisation by skin contact’ or ‘irritating to the skin’. Dermatitis can be caused by exposure to a range of common agents found outside the workplace. If there is good evidence the condition has been caused solely by such exposure rather than exposure to an agent at work, it is not reportable.
  • Hand-arm vibration syndrome – also known as HAVS, this is where work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools, or holding materials that are subject to percussive or vibrating processes.
  • Occupational asthma – where work involves significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitiser. In particular, this will include any chemical with the warning ‘may cause sensitisation by inhalation’. If there is good evidence that the condition was pre-existing, and was not triggered or made worse by exposure at work, the condition is not reportable.
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm – where work is physically demanding and involves frequent, repetitive movements.
  • Any occupational cancer – cases must be reported where there is a causal link between the type of cancer diagnosed and the hazards exposed to through work. Hazards include all known human carcinogens and mutagens, including ionising radiation. Cases are not reportable when they are not linked with work-related exposures to carcinogens or mutagens. Reports are only required when work significantly increases the risk of developing the cancer. The following must be reported: 1) mesothelioma or lung cancer in someone occupationally exposed to asbestos fibres, and 2) cancer of the nasal cavity or sinuses in someone occupationally exposed to wood dust.
  • Any disease attributable to occupational exposure to a biological agent – A ‘biological agent’ is defined in the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 as a micro-organism, cell culture, or human endoparasite which may cause infection, allergy, toxicity or other hazard to human health. A report should be made whenever there is reasonable evidence to suggest work-related exposure was the likely cause of the disease. Exposure may take place as a result of an identifiable event (such as accidentally breaking a laboratory flask, accidental injury with a contaminated syringe needle or an animal bite) and unidentified events, where workers are exposed without their knowledge (for example, exposure to legionella bacteria while routinely maintaining a hot water service system).

As always, a Health & Safety Consultant would be best placed to help you understand what should/should not be reported under RIDDOR.

Dangerous occurrences

RIDDOR defines “dangerous occurrences” as certain specified near-miss events which have the potential to cause harm. In other words, instances when a serious accident was thankfully avoided.

The regulations provide that an occurrence is dangerous if it arises out of or in connection with work and is within certain specified categories. RIDDOR lists three kinds of reportable dangerous occurrence

These apply to all workplaces and include dangerous occurrences involving lifting equipment, pressure systems, overhead electric lines, electrical incidents causing explosion or fire, other explosions, biological agents, radiation generators and radiography, breathing apparatus, diving operations, collapse of scaffolding, train collisions, wells and pipelines or pipeline works.

These include structural collapses, explosions or fires, releases of flammable liquids and gases and hazardous escape of substances.

Industries with specific requirements are offshore workplaces, mines, quarries and relevant transport systems.

27 categories of dangerous occurrences are relevant to most workplaces and the full list can be found in RIDDOR. The list is designed to obtain information mainly about incidents with a high potential to cause death or serious injury but that happen relatively infrequently.

Gas-related incidents and RIDDOR

Distributors, fillers, importers and suppliers of flammable gas must report incidents where someone has died, lost consciousness or been taken to hospital for treatment to an injury arising in connection with that gas.

Registered gas engineers under the Gas Safe Register must provide details of any gas appliances or fittings they consider dangerous – to the extent people could die, lose consciousness or require hospital treatment. The danger could be due to the design, construction, installation, modification or servicing of appliances or fittings that could cause:

  • Accidental leakage of gas;
  • Incomplete combustion of gas; or
  • Inadequate removal of products of the combustion of gas.

What is exempt?

Incidents already reported under other legislation, such as nuclear installations, civil aviation events or under electricity safety rules do not need to be reported. Reports are also not required for deaths or injuries resulting from:

  • Medical or dental treatment;
  • Duties by members of the armed forces; or
  • Road traffic accidents, unless the accident involved loading or unloading a vehicle, construction or maintenance work alongside a road, escape of substances being carried by the vehicle, or a train.
£ 0
Total fine for Tesco RIDDOR failure

When and how to report

Reports are made according to the procedure set out in RIDDOR:

  • Injuries, fatalities and dangerous occurrences should be reported without delay and must be reported within 10 days.
  • Accidents that result in the incapacitation of workers for over seven days must be reported within 15 days from the day of the incident.
  • In occupational diseases, a report of the diagnosis should be sent without delay.

Reports are made to the HSE. All incidents can be reported using one of the standard online RIDDOR forms available on its website.

A telephone service is also provided for reporting fatal, specified and major incidents only. Call the Incident Contact Centre on 0345 300 9923 – opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm. More information on when and how to report very serious or dangerous incidents can be found by visiting the HSE ways to contact HSE webpage.

If you want to report less serious incidents out of normal working hours, you can always complete an online form.

Recording requirements

To comply with RIDDOR, the responsible person must also keep a record of all incidents.

Recording helps make sure sufficient information is being collected to manage health and safety risks and effectively prevent injury. RIDDOR record-keeping includes:

  • All accidents, occupational diseases, work-related deaths or dangerous occurrences that must be reported under RIDDOR.
  • Specific injuries lasting more than seven days.
  • Other occupational accidents causing injuries resulting in the worker being away from work or incapacitated for more than three consecutive days – not including the accident date but including weekends or other rest days. NB: Over three-day incapacitation must be recorded but need not be reported.
  • Keeping all records in a file, accident book, on a computer or written log.

Employers are generally advised to record all workplace accidents and near-miss incidents regardless of impact on the ability to work. Many employers use accident books to record injuries and this is sufficient to satisfy the injury reporting requirements but an alternative means of reporting diseases will need to be made. Alternately, employers can print a copy of the reporting form and keep this for their record.

In addition to capturing details of the incident in an incident book, it’s useful to capture the number of incidents in a system to build a picture of your organisation’s health and safety record over time. This may help demonstrate good health and safety practice.

Proper recording of the details of an illness or injury is essential in helping organisations carry out full risk assessments and understand workplace risks. The following should be recorded:

  • Date of report;
  • Incident date, time and location;
  • Personal details of those involved – name, job title, etc.;
  • Brief description of the event or disease;
  • Details of any treatment; and
  • Name and signature of person completing the record.

RIDDOR records need to be provided to the regulator on request and must be kept for a minimum of three years after the date of the last incident in the book. All employee RIDDOR records must be kept strictly confidential and stored securely to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Get help with RIDDOR

As an employer, you must understand your legal responsibility to correctly follow RIDDOR. In 2011, Tesco was fined £34,000 for RIDDOR failures after it admitted not following essential procedures for reporting staff injuries at two of its stores.

Following RIDDOR also helps protect the health and safety of your workers. Collecting details bring risks to light so that they can be safely managed and further incidents prevented.

Ellis Whittam’s qualified Health & Safety Consultants can help untangle the complexities of RIDDOR and provide guidance on reporting instances in line with the regulations.

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Nick Wilson

Health and safety should be a priority for any business but ensuring compliance can often feel like a daunting task. We’re here to help you turn complex regulations into sensible, proportionate controls.

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