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7th October 2013

Changes to the RIDDOR Regulations: An Overview

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 come into force on 1st October 2013. The HSE consulted on proposals for new, simplified regulations, based on recommendations in the Lofstedt report. Here is an overview of the primary alterations to the regulations.

The main changes made by these Regulations are:

  • A simplified and shortened list of specified reportable injuries (“major injuries”) to workers sustained as a result of a work-related accident.
  • A clarified and shortened list of reportable dangerous occurrences (near-miss events).
  • A simplified and significantly shortened list of reportable ill-health conditions in workers (replacing 47 specified ill-health conditions with 8 categories of work related diseases).
  • A simplified list of dangerous occurrences within the rail-sector, and removal of the requirement to report suicides on railways.

No changes are being made to:

  • Recording requirements;
  • Reports of fatal accidents;
  • Reports of accidents involving non-workers including members of the public;
  • Reports of accidents which incapacitate workers for more than seven days;
  • Requirements to preserve certain incident sites at mines, quarries and offshore workplaces pending investigation and subject to overriding safety needs.

Minor changes in wording have been made to the requirements for reporting gas hazards and injuries.  It remains a defence in proceedings to prove that the organisation was unaware of the circumstances which gave rise to a reporting requirement, provided they have taken reasonable steps to be made aware.

A new regulation (15) restricts the need to report the same incident twice, provided that all the information required in respect of the multiple reporting requirements has been given and timescales are met.

New categories of reportable injury to employees

The list of major injuries is now contained within regulation 4 rather than within a schedule. Fractures other than to fingers, thumbs and toes are still reportable though with the caveat ‘as diagnosed by a medical practitioner.’ ‘Any amputation’ as a category has been replaced with ‘amputation of an arm, hand, finger, thumb, leg, foot or toe’.

Dislocations, chemical/ hot metal injuries to the eye, electric shock related injury, heat induced illness, hypothermia, unconsciousness (in general), injuries requiring resuscitation in general and those requiring admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours are no longer reportable as major injuries.

The sight loss category has become, ‘any injury diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner as being likely to cause permanent blinding or reduction in sight in one or both eyes’.

Next there are three new categories:

  • Any crush injury to the head or torso causing damage to the brain or internal organs in the chest or abdomen;
  • Any burn injury (including scalding) which covers more than 10% of the whole body’s total surface area or causes significant damage to the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs;
  • Any degree of scalping requiring hospital treatment;
  • Loss of consciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia is an altered category (previously loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or exposure to substances was reportable).

Another new category is:

  • Any other injury arising from working in an enclosed space which leads to hypothermia or heat-induced illness; or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.

Note. For the time being we do not have a definition of ‘enclosed space’.

As mentioned previously, ‘the over seven day’ category is also retained.

Changes to Reportable Disease Categories

Reportable occupational diseases are now summarised in regulation 8 as follows:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, where the person’s work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools;
  • Cramp in the hand or forearm, where the person’s work involves prolonged periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm;
  • Occupational dermatitis, where the person’s work involves significant or regular exposure to a known skin sensitizer or irritant;
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, where the person’s work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools, or the holding of materials, which are subject to percussive processes, or processes causing vibration;
  • Occupational asthma, where the person’s work involves significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitizer; or,
  • Tendonitis or tenosynovitis in the hand or forearm, where the person’s work is physically demanding and involves frequent, repetitive movements.

And regulation 9 adds two further categories:

  • Any cancer attributed to an occupational exposure to a known human carcinogen or mutagen (including ionising radiation); or
  • Any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent.

Conclusion

The regulations have essentially been redrafted with some sections imported from the old regulations into the new structure. Even where requirements are very similar such as in the list of general dangerous occurrences there are subtle differences in wording.

In some cases the use of new words within the regulations will require clarification within the new guidance and it is hoped that this will not leave scope for misinterpretation.

The change affects all employers – including the self-employed. New web-based information and guidance is now available on the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/index.htm

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