Reporting and recording workplace injuries: do you know your legal duties?

Wednesday November 6, 2019

What a Rugby World Cup sports fans have enjoyed. But boy has it shone a light on workplace injuries! With a new focus on preventing head injuries, we’ve seen a record  number of red cards for illegal tackling. Not to mention all the other bumps, cuts, twists and strains that players endure whilst “egg-chasing”.

Reporting a workplace injury

Unless you are a professional sports manager, your employees aren’t likely to spend all day knocking into one another! But there are still regulations on when, and to whom, to report an injury.

RIDDOR, the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 state that it is your responsibility as the employer to report serious work-related accidents, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences (known as near misses). It extends to non-workers like members of the public if they are injured and taken to hospital for treatment. In 2018/19, there were 69,208 employee injuries reported under RIDDOR.

Failing to report an injury can result in a fine of up to £20,000 from the enforcing authority. However, not all accidents need to be reported. So when an accident does occur, check the regulation, or ask us if in doubt.

Part of the intention of the regulation is that your report will help the HSE and local authorities to identify where and how risks arise so they can target their efforts.

Recording a workplace injury

You should already have a procedure for recording injuries at your workplace – for some businesses this will be as simple as an accident book. But the legal requirement to record the injuries specified under RIDDOR is less well known.

Records must be kept of any reportable death, injury, occupational disease or dangerous occurrence. Reportable injuries tend to be serious in nature, including most fractures, crushes, amputations and loss of sight, for example. In addition, all work-related injuries that result in the worker being away from work for seven days after the day of the accident must be recorded.

Most incidents can be reported online, but for a fatality or some serious injuries this can be done by phone.

Preventing workplace injuries

As the starting point of all good health and safety, a risk assessment should be carried out to reduce the possibility of injury. Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that it is a legal requirement for every employer with five or more employees to assess potential workplace health and safety risks. This assessment makes it easier for you to identify what needs to be done to manage health and safety risks.

Providing clear and suitable training to your employers will also help prevent workplace injuries. Last month, a manufacturer of steel water storage tanks and supporting towers was fined £9,400 after a worker suffered multiple fractures following a fall from height. This fine was levied for failing to provide clear training to employees. The costs they had to pay brought the total pay-out to in excess of £10,000.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group has called for the introduction of an enhanced reporting system through RIDDOR to help reduce the number of falls from height like this. This call demonstrates how seriously RIDDOR is taken in improving health and safety in workplaces.

For further support preventing, reporting and recording workplace injuries

Would you like guidance establishing better injury reporting and recording processes, as well as help conducting risk assessments and employee training? Our experts are available to help your business run smoothly while keeping your employees safe. Call today to find out how we can help.

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