Q: A member of staff has fallen down the cellar stairs – he has fractured his arm and has cuts and bruises – what health and safety responsibilities does my company have?
A. You must report this incident under the RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) requirements.
This is because a fracture is a reportable injury requiring a report to be made within 10 days of the incident.
There are numerous specific injuries which require such reporting. The easiest way to make a report is by using the online portal.
Had the employee not broken his arm and had cuts and bruises alone, a report would not be needed. The legislation makes it clear as to what injuries are covered and have a reporting requirement.
What happens when a RIDDOR report is made?
Q: Once a report is made what is likely to happen next? Should we be worried?
A. The RIDDOR report will go through to a central system and a decision will be made as to whether this requires an investigation. This is usually determined by the type of accident, the injuries, the circumstances of the incident, etc.
The more serious an incident, the more likely it is to be investigated. For an incident involving a non-fatality the investigation may not commence immediately or the same day, unlike, for example, a fatality at the premises, where the investigation will happen quickly.
If an inspector from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority attends to investigate the incident, then they are able to collect evidence that they feel is relevant to the incident.
They are seeking to investigate whether any of the health and safety legislation has been breached. This could include requesting copies of health and safety policies, training records, CCTV, etc.
You shouldn’t panic if an inspector comes to investigate as it doesn’t automatically mean you will face enforcement action, but you should be proactive. Seek the advice of health and safety solicitors to assist you through this process.
RIDDOR and interview under caution
Q: Following on from a RIDDOR-reported incident, the company has been asked to voluntarily attend an ‘interview under caution’ – what is this and should we attend?
A. An ‘interview under caution’ is a formal interview process whereby a regulator (police/HSE/local authority, etc) suspects a company or individual of committing criminal offences.
At this stage in their investigation, the law says that if they want to speak to the company or individual about suspected criminal offences, they have to do it in a specific way.
There are specific rules that the regulator needs to follow and there are various options available to the company/individual requested to attend such an interview.
Many factors may determine what decision is made as to the way in which a company/individual partakes in this process. You should seek the assistance of specialist health and safety solicitors if such a request is received.