RIDDOR for beginners

Welcome to our next blog, blog number 3 in our "back to basics" series. This blog is going to focus on Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences in simplistic terms for your understanding.

First of all apologies to all of you outside the United Kingdom, as this set of Regulations are only applicable here. However some of the principles may be the same in your own country.

In the UK the statistics are overseen by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). You may have OSHA Recordable in the USA, SWA in Australia, BLS in Canada or the OSH framework directive in the EU. The principles are the same, its about recording serious accidents and incidents.

It may also give those of you from outside the UK an insight into accident reporting here in Blighty.

OK one thing that does not change from country to country is the way in which regulations, directives, codes or Acts are written. They are way over complicated for many.

The main reason for writing this blog is really quite simple. There are forums out there, generally used by health and safety professionals. There are always questions relating to RIDDOR, examples of topics include:

  • Time frames for reporting?

  • Accidents to a 3rd party on our premises.

  • Covid-19 reportable issues.

  • Volunteers and members of the public.

  • Misunderstanding of definitions.

  • Commuting to work.

  • Responsible person for reporting.

  • What is actually reportable.

If these are questions from health and safety professionals and they find it difficult to understand the requirements, then what chance does everyone else stand.

So with that in mind lets have a look a the the regulations and work through them in layman's terms.

All the information that I am about to put here comes from the following document so click the link so you can read it in more detail.

So what needs reported

Lets start at the beginning with the first reason INJURIES

  • All deaths to employees and non-employees.

  • ANY fractures except to fingers or toes.

  • Amputations.

  • Permanent or partial loss of sight.

  • Crushes leading to organ damage.

  • Burns to >10% of the body or eyes or respiratory system or vital organs.

  • Scalping's requiring hospital treatment.

  • Unconscious by head injury or asphyxiation.

  • If working in an enclosed space any injury that leads to hypothermia or heat induced illness or resuscitation or hospitalisation for 24 hours or more.

  • Injuries where the employee is off work for 7 or more days.

  • Injuries to members of the public where they are taken straight to hospital but must have treatment. BUT not just as a precaution.

Next on the list is DISEASES

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Severe cramp of the hand or forearm.

  • Dermatitis caused by work.

  • Hand Arm Vibration syndrome.

  • Asthma caused by work.

  • Tendentious or tenosynovitis of the hand or forearm.

  • Cancer caused by work.

  • Any disease from biological agents.


  • The collapse, overturning or failure of load bearing parts of lifts or lifting equipment. So for example a runaway elevator

  • Plant or equipment coming into contact with overhead lines. Take a farmer in a field and they touch an overhead power line with an attachment on his tractor.

  • Explosions or fire that make activities cease for 24 hours or more. A fire in a warehouse caused by an electrical fault and the equipment is unusable for more than 24 hours for example. Another example would be a fire in a firework factory.

  • Failure of closed vessel, pipework or part of a pressure system. This failure could cause death. So an unsecured gas bottle falls over and the valve ruptures sending the bottle flying around the place.

  • ANY release of ANY biological agent that is likely to cause severe human infection. So an escape of Ebola from a laboratory that is working on a vaccine for example.

  • The malfunction of any radiation generator. That could be a failure of an x-ray machine at a dentist.

  • Malfunction of Breathing Apparatus. B.A malfunctions during the testing immediately prior to use.

  • Endangering of life during diving activities. This could be lifting equipment used in diving, an explosion near a diver or even an uncontrolled assent.

  • The complete or partial collapse of a scaffold. For example a scaffold over 5m high.

  • Train collisions.

Easy, right?????

So whats the confusion giving everyone a headache from time to time. This where it starts to get a little complicated.

OK Injuries, wheres the confusion?

  • The injury has to be in conjunction with work and not just AT work. So lets look at an example. Lets take stepping off a kerb onto a road and an employee twists their ankle and are off work for 8 days. Reportable or not? Well it depends, if the road surface is of sound construction then NOT, if the employee steps into a pothole caused by lack of maintenance then YES.

  • OK lets take this a step further. The employee steps into the pothole on their commute to work, reportable or not?. NOT commuting does not count as being at work.

  • So, if its classed as a real life event and does not happen as part of your work activity or on works premises then there is no need to report.

Well let's look at fatalities.

  • It does not apply to the self employed who dies from an accident or exposure on their own premises.

  • If it's in conjunction with medical treatment under the supervision of a registered medical practitioner, so such as a doctor or dentist.

  • Fatalities caused through movement of a vehicle on a road. This means a road traffic accident does not require reporting except if you say run over a workman at the side of the road .The following need reporting, if it involves a train or a substance being carried causes a fatality such as a chemical. Loading or unloading a vehicle is reportable.

  • Deaths to members of the armed forces while on duty is not reportable.

  • RIDDOR also applies to certain premises and activities outside of Great Britain, so Oil rigs, territorial seas, pipeline and wind farms etc.

  • Finally there are Acts and regulations that trump RIDDOR and if it's covered in these it does not need reported, these are: Nuclear Installations Act, Merchant Shipping Act, Ionising Radiation Regulations, Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations, Civil Aviation (Investigation of Military Air Accidents at Civil Aerodromes) Regulations and Civil Aviation Regulations.

Now for dangerous occurrence.

  • A fire in a firework factory, is extinguished straight away with suppression, Reportable or not?. NOT as a fail safe device prevented people from being endangered.

  • Let's look at an example where a fire broke out due to arson and an employee sustained a burn RIDDOR or not? Well depending on your definition of first aid then YES or if they required medical treatment.

  • A scaffold example: A 3m scaffold partially collapses, the scaffold is on the side of a swimming pool, RIDDOR or not?. Yes RIDDOR, even though it is less than 5m high there is a risk of drowning.

One thing that we come across very often is companies who try to do everything not to report RIDDOR events, there is a fear from within organisations that thinks that reporting will put them on the HSE radar to be targeted by the HSE for intervention. What will put them on the radar is breaking the law by not reporting, so it is imperative to report and if unsure contact us for help.

So that was our beginners guide!!! Easy to follow right?

You can see why there is so much confusion and why it is a bit of a minefield.

That's why ECSHE are here, to help business who are unsure, we give professional advice and guidance on all topics including RIDDOR.

Contact us at:


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