Reporting Accidents and Injuries in the Workplace
A recent case heard in Manchester Magistrates’ Court highlighted the importance of reporting accidents in the workplace. An employee of a home improvement company who was working on a garage roof fell nearly 4 metres onto a driveway. The worker was left with several injuries, including fractured ribs, arm, cheekbone and eye socket and a collapsed lung. The worker’s employer was fined £2,700 and ordered to pay costs of £1,000 for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2005 and a subsequent investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered that the home improvement company which employed the injured worker waited nine months to report the incident which prevented a proper investigation being carried out during the time following the incident.
Regulation 4 (1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) states the following:
“Where any person at work, as a result of a work-related accident, suffers any bone fracture diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner, other than to a finger, thumb or toe, the responsible person must follow the reporting procedure.”
Guidelines from the HSE state that a report must be received within 10 days of an incident or within 15 days for accidents resulting in the more than seven-day incapacitation of a worker. All construction company owners should be aware that the HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action against those that fall below their required standards.
Moreover, an HSE Inspector has revealed that the above incident could easily have been avoided if the company had carried out the correct control measures and safe working practices.
Knowing RIDDOR will help construction company owners to understand not only what types of incidents should be reported, but also when to report these incidents. Under the RIDDOR rules, there are duties to report certain types of injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents and these should be reported within specified timescales.
- WITHOUT DELAY – some injuries must be reported as soon as possible, without delay. This applies in particular to any fatality that occurs as a result of a work-related accident and this applies even if the death is not immediate. As long as the death is caused by the accident and occurs within one year. Some reporting requirements are not the result of an accident – for example diseases.
- 10 DAYS – in the case of injuries, fatalities and dangerous occurrences, the responsible person must notify the relevant enforcing authority without delay. This allows 10 days for a full report of the incident to be sent in an approved manner (the full RIDDOR report).
- 15 DAYS – where a person at work is incapacitated for more than seven consecutive days after a work-related accident (known as an over 7 day injury). It is worth noting that this means 15 days from the day of the accident, not 15 days from the 7 days incapacitation.
Fifteen days is the maximum time that should be allowed to pass before needing to report an accident or injury.