I was recently contacted by a client who had been in hospital for several weeks after having suffered severe crush injuries to both his legs in a work accident on a construction site.
My client was 100 miles away from his wife and family, his pay had been stopped and his employer had said: “I don’t need to report the injury”.
I informed him that, by law, because the injury he had suffered was so serious, his employer should have reported the accident to the Health and Safety Executive via the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) system.
The conversation we had made me go back to the regulations to remind myself of the exact position and obligations imposed on employers by law.
Recording and reporting accidents and ill health at work is a legal requirement under the RIDDOR regulations. RIDDOR puts legal duties on employers, the self-employed and people in control of work premises to report certain serious workplace accidents, occupational diseases and specified dangerous occurrences.
People in control of work premises are ‘responsible persons’ who must record and report certain incidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences involving employees, self-employed workers and members of the public.
What do these responsible persons actually have to do? Details of all reportable incidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences must be recorded. Reportable incidents include:
- Work-related deaths or major injuries
- Work-related diseases
- Dangerous occurrences/near misses
- Gas incidents
- Carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents
In addition, work accidents must be reported where they result in an employee or self-employed person being away from work, or unable to perform their normal work duties, for more than seven consecutive days as a result of their injury.
This seven-day period does not include the day of the accident but does include weekends and rest days. Furthermore, the report must be made within 15 days of the accident.
To conclude, all work accidents – no matter how insignificant they may seem at the time – must be recorded by an employer. This is essential, particularly as some initially minor symptoms may develop into something much more serious.
But only those that satisfy the criteria above (serious injuries, fatal accidents, dangerous occurrences and absences over 7 days) must by law be reported to RIDDOR. Despite these requirements, it seems that there are still employers who for whatever reason, fail to report matters which should reach the Health and Safety Executive database, meaning accident reporting figures are never entirely accurate.
Clients who are uncertain as to whether their work accident has been properly reported should contact the Health and Safety Executive to check exactly what has or has not been reported.
Adam Wilson is a Principal Personal Injury Lawyer at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK, specialising in work accident compensation claims.
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