On 6 of April 2012 RIDDOR requirements changed moving from three days absence to seven. Although the new guidelines have been in place for a while, there’s still some confusion over accident reporting and RIDDOR reporting . We have sifted through the facts and are able to provide some practical guidance to stay on the right side of the law and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The HSE guidance
Although RIDDOR reporting requirements have changed the HSE still requires that accidents resulting in over three days (consecutive) absence or incapacity should be recorded in an accident book under the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1979. That’s three days absence or incapacitation excluding the day of the accident but including weekends and rest days.
A RIDDOR is when an absence or incapacity lasts over seven consecutive days as a result of an accident but again not counting the day of the accident. Employers have 15 days from that end of those seven days in which to report the RIDDOR to the HSE.
Consecutive days V Working days.
It can be a challenge to accurately capture and monitor absence or incapacitation over consecutive days. Some employers may not follow up and record a three day absence if an employee was injured on the Thursday and returned on the Monday of the following week. Proper capture of this information requires resources such as occupational health and processes such as return to work interviews. These often do not rank highly on the priority list for business especially for small or medium sized enterprises.
While consecutive days are the technical parameters to determine a workplace absence over three and seven days, many employers find it more practical and consistent to record absence in work days. The current parameters do ensure a consistent approach as employers whose employees work on a week on week off basis such as on oil rigs are a prime example of this.
It is still unclear if the HSE plans to audit accident books. Although budget cuts and economic pressures have meant the HSE has had to focus its efforts on RIDDOR reporting and accident investigation, an audit of accident books may yet be on the cards.
Some companies have seen their reportable accidents decrease significantly with the changes in RIDDOR reporting, but most boards have understood this is down to a change in process and not just as a result of an improving health and safety culture and risk exposure.
QBE recommends where practically possible that companies take accident reporting a step further and begin recording accidents that don’t result in lost time as well as “near misses”. This gives a far more accurate picture of risk within the organisation. Together with a proactive approach to risk management it could mean employee injuries and accidents are prevented before they occur.
Planned RIDDOR changes from October 2013
From 1 October 2013, subject to Parliamentary approval, the law on reporting incidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences will change. The main changes are to simplify the reporting requirements in the following areas:
For further advice please see the below guidance documents from the HSE: