Using RIDDOR: A Guide for Laboratories

RIDDOR outlines the legal requirements for reporting and recording certain incidents in the workplace. If you own or are responsible for the running of a laboratory, you should already be familiar with the process. For those of us who could do with a refresher, we’ve put together this straightforward guide you can use to make sure your lab is compliant.

This article will run through a quick overview of RIDDOR, who should report incidents, what types of incidents are relevant and how to submit a report quickly and easily.

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What is RIDDOR?

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences.

RIDDOR is the system by which employers and business owners, or the relevant ‘responsible person’ should report injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents which take place in the workplace.

what is RIDDOR

Who should report incidents?

The ‘responsible person’ refers to either the employer, facility owner or business owner. If you are self-employed, you are responsible for reporting incidents that occur whilst you are working.

What is classed as a reportable incident?

Not all incidents are required to be reported. This section details what types of incidents are classed as reportable.

Death and Injuries

You are required to submit a report if an employee or non-worker has died or suffered injury as a result of:

  • A work-related accident
  • An act of violence against a worker

Only accidents which have led to the injuries on the specified injuries list need to be reported.

Or in cases in which:

  • The type of injury sustained is reportable as detailed on the above specified injuries list
  • A non-worker has sustained an injury for which he or she has been transported directly to hospital and has gone on to receive treatment for the injury, beyond examinations and testing
  • The injured person has been incapacitated for a period of seven days or longer following, and as a direct result of, the accident

Except in incidences of suicide, which do not require reporting.

Occupational Diseases

If a self-employed person or a member of staff develops an occupational disease or an existing condition is made worse as a result of their work-related activities, the diagnosis must be reported.

The list of reportable conditions includes diseases like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, dermatitis, tendonitis, severe cramping of the hands or forearms and occupational cancers or diseases caused by exposure to biological agents.

liquid chemical

Incidents of exposure could include a case where contamination has occurred due to a broken flask or another piece of laboratory equipment, or when the worker has been exposed to a bacterium without their knowledge.

Laboratory owners must report:

  • Infections which can be directly linked to work with microorganisms
  • Cases of infectious diseases
  • When exposure to a biological agent or its toxin, or infection materials has caused a worker to require hospital treatment (not including diagnostic testing or medical examination)

Laboratory owners can minimise the risk of exposure by taking steps to improve laboratory safety. Ensure chemicals and harmful substances are stored correctly in safety storage cabinets and carry out regular safety checks on all equipment.

Common colds and viruses are not generally reportable unless they can be attributed to direct exposure to infectious materials within the laboratory.

Dangerous Occurrences

A ‘dangerous occurrence’ is defined by the HSE as a high-risk incident which had the potential to cause death or serious injury – or a ‘near-miss’.

Laboratory owners must report:

  • Any accidental release of harmful substances which could cause human illness or injury
  • Failure of load-bearing equipment which could cause injury or death to a worker or an accidental ignition of explosive materials

Further guidance on what constitutes a dangerous occurrence has been provided by the HSE.

In addition, any business whose operations involve any aspect of the supply of flammable gas products must report any incident which results, or may have resulted in, the death, injury or loss of consciousness of any person caused by exposure to the gas. 

What records should be kept?

You should keep a record of any reports submitted under RIDDOR. You will receive an electronic copy to the email address you provided on the online RIDDOR report form.

Accidents should be recorded in your workplace accident book as normal, in addition to the RIDDOR report.

what is riddor

RIHow to report an incident

Only business owners, self-employed persons and those responsible for a place of work should report an incident.

The reporting process is quick and easy. Simply visit the Health and Safety Executive website and select the appropriate incident report form. Forms are filled out and submitted online and you will receive an electronic copy which you must keep for your records.

Please note: If you are ever unsure whether or not to create a RIDDOR report, all the information you require can be found on the HSE’s dedicated RIDDOR page

If your lab needs redesigning to improve safety and practicality, the team at InterFocus may be able to help. For more information about our bespoke fitted labs, visit our homepage or call our team on 01223 894 833.

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