Reporting a Health & Safety Problem at Work
Statistics by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) suggests that 137 employees suffered a fatal injury whilst working in 2016/2017. If a worker suffers a fatal or serious workplace injury, then employers are legally required to report it to the relevant authorities under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
Employers or other people in control of work premises are also required to keep records of:
- Work related accidents which caused death
- Work related serious injuries resulting in hospital treatments
- Diagnosed cases of certain industrial diseases
- Dangerous occurrences or near miss incidents, which could have caused serious harm.
The report must be made to the enforcing authority without delay and within ten days of the incident (Weightmans, 2018). Employers can complete a RIDDOR report via telephone or by completing the appropriate online form. This will be submitted to the RIDDOR database and you will receive a copy for your records.
Employers are only required to complete a RIDDOR report if the accident was work-related. The following factors can help identify this:
- The way the work was organised, carried out or supervised
- Any machinery, plant, substances or equipment used for the work or
- The condition of the site or premises where the accident happened.
It’s very important to report deaths and serious injuries caused at work as it helps the relevant authorities to identify where or how risks arise and whether they need to be investigated. The report will also allow the enforcing authorities to provide advice about how to avoid workplace deaths, injuries, ill health and accidental loss (HSE RIDDOR, 2017).
Employers have a duty of care requirement to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of every employee within their organisation. This also includes employees who work alone without much direct supervision.
The HSE also states that employers are required to ensure the safety of anyone that deals with the organisation, directly applying to customers, suppliers and the general public (HSE, 2018). This means building premises are kept clutter free, clean and help eliminate risks.
Hazards that can cause serious injury include; electrical safety, fire safety, slip or trip hazards and falls from height. Less obvious dangers should also be considered such as musculoskeletal disorders and work-related stress. Employers can conduct a risk assessment to identify these hazards and implement effective measures to help avoid any serious workplace injuries.
According to Unison (2018), “a risk assessment is the process of defining what hazard exists or might appear in the workplace”. With an effective risk assessment an organisation will be able to take reasonable steps to prevent harm. The HSE also introduced the following 5 step approach to help control risks in the workplace:
A lone working risk assessment should be put in place if there are lone workers within your organisation. Employees who work alone are more exposed than someone who works in a busy office in an incident occurs. Consider setting up a lone worker solution to help protect their safety, which could be crucial should an emergency situation arise and they are unable to call for help.
Most accidents can be easily avoided if the right measures are put in place to help identify the potential cause of the accident and how it could affect someone. Effective training and a positive approach towards safety at work would also help encourage staff to be more proactive towards their own safety.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 990 3563 to find out how you could set up an effective lone worker risk assessment.
Weightmans, (2018) – https://www.weightmans.com/insights/reporting-a-workplace-health-and-safety-problem/
Unison – https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/health-and-safety/hazard-reporting/
RIDDOR – http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg453.pdf
HSE – http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/fatalinjuries.pdf
HSE RIDDOR, (2017) – http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg453.pdf