According to the HSE, it is estimated that about one third of RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) reports in health and social care are incorrectly recorded. Accidents in residential care homes, hospitals, dental practices, health care clinics, in patients own homes and in any care setting should be appropriately recorded and reported according to the RIDDOR regulations. Employers and others are required to report deaths, certain types of injuries, some occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences that ‘arise out of or in connection with work’. When an accident is reported via RIDDOR, this alerts the enforcing authorities to investigate the more serious incidents. Reports enable the HSE or the local authorities to identify where and how health and safety risks arise, reveal trends and help target activities. The report should be done by the ‘responsible person’ who may be the employer, a self-employed person or someone in control of the premises.
Death of any person, whether or not at work, if it was in connection with work, must be reported. However, there are certain instances where a death does not need to be reported. One is where a self-employed person in a premises where they are the owner or occupier. Other incidences include the death of the employee after one year from the date of the accident, if there is a suicide and where a disease is contracted not due to an accident (for example, contracting Legionnaires’ disease due to poor maintenance on a hot water system). However, this latter incident may be investigated and litigation brought forward under the HSW Act. If an employee (or self-employed person) is injured in a health or social care environment and has to take more than three days off work, then their injury needs to be reported. Injuries can be anything in connection with work and can include fractures, burns, any crush injury, reduction in sight etc. Also, if a person is off work for more than seven days the accident must also be reported. Records must be kept.
If an employee (or self-employed person) contracts a disease at work, it is reportable. Examples can include occupational dermatitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, a disease attributed to a biological agent, etc. An example could be where a paramedic becomes hepatitis B positive after contamination with blood from an infected patient. A sharps injury must be reported. Sharps that do not cause diseases do not need to be reported (i.e. sharps not containing a blood borne virus). Injuries and ill health not involving people at work need to also be reported. The incident must arise out of or in connection with work being undertaken by others, for example, where a patient is scalded by hot bath water and taken to hospital for treatment. A fall is reportable under RIDDOR when it has arisen out of or in connection with a work activity. This includes where equipment is involved. Dangerous occurrences in health and social care should also be reported. An example could be the failure of load-bearing parts of lifts and lifting equipment, an electrical short circuit or overload that could or has caused a fire or explosion. Although these may not result in a reportable injury, if they have the potential to cause harm they need to be reported.