The reporting of injuries according to the RIDDOR system helps authorities become aware of events, and, helps them decide whether to investigate serious incidents. The HSE does lead on employee health and safety, however, there are other regulatory and enforcing authorities involved in the health and social care system. These include the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Midwifery Council (NMC) and General Medical Council (GMC). These governing bodies may do deeper and more all rounded investigations, outside of whtat the HSE is responsible for, and they will have more specific legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 always applies, even if the incident isn’t reportable under RIDDOR.
The reporting of incidents at work should be done by a “responsible person”, this may be an employer or manager. In the case where there are temporary or agency workers, it is the duty of the employment agency to report the incidents. The employment agency should ensure that the hosting company and workers understand how the reporting of accidents will be handled. If injuries, dangerous occurrences, diseases or fatalities are not reported it is a criminal offence. There are varying timescales for reporting incidences according to RIDDOR. Diseases as a result of work should be reported as soon as the GP has has made the diagnosis. Documents of the reports must be available for health care advisors. There may be other reporting situations that are separate from the legal duties of RIDDOR. These are administered by other regulatory bodies. These regulators may need to share information so that people are not put at risk.
Injuries to Health and Social Care workers that need to be reported
- Fractures (other than fingers and toes) and amputations
- Injuries causing permanent loss or reduction in sight
- Damage to the brain or internal organs due to crush injuries
- Any loss of consciousness caused by head injury
- Any scalping that requires hospital treatment
- Any injury working in an enclosed space
- Injuries from sharps that contain blood borne viruses
- Accidents to employees must also be reported where there is time off work as a result
There are reportable diseases under RIDDOR. The infection must have been definitely acquired at work. Infections that are easily contactable in the community are not reportable. Reportable diseases at work include carpel tunnel syndrome, dermatitis, severe cramps of legs and arms, hand-arm vibration syndrome, occupational cancer and asthma, and, any disease attributed to the exposure of a biological agent at work.
There are certain incidents reportable even if the person is not at work. These are situations where incidents occur as a result of an accident out of or in connection with work. This applies to employees and patients. An example of a reportable incident involving a patient could be where they receive a burn in the bath and are subsequently hospitalized. Clearly the patient was vulnerable in this situation, and preventative measures were not take. Another example could be of where a service user falls out of bed where there should have been bed rails in place. There are also certain dangerous occurrences or “near misses” in health and social care that can occur. These include the failure of load bearing lifts to work properly, the accidental release of any substance that might cause injury or harm to health, an electrical short circuit that could cause fire or bursting of any pipe work pressure system.
Following the general guidance of health and safety law, adhering to the RIDDOR system, being aware of governing bodies and administering the job role according to training and expertise should be enough to mitigate against dangerous occurrences.