ASCL Annual Conference 2022: We are exhibiting

We are pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at the ASCL Annual Conference from 11 – 12 March 2022 at the ICC in Birmingham, and will be situated at Stand 02.

Date

Friday 11 and Saturday 12 March 2022

Venue

The International Convention Centre (ICC)

Broad St, Birmingham

B1 2EA

Book your place

Further information and booking details can be found on ASCL’s website.

Lateral Flow Testing facility now available on Smartlog®

With the majority of schools and colleges in the UK returning to in-person learning on 8 March – and following many requests from school leaders and safety officials; we have now added the ability to record and report on COVID-19 lateral flow testing within Smartlog.

Similar to the Track and Trace facility that we added last September, the basic breakdown is the following:

  • A unique QR code (and link) is available to all organisations.
  • When the code is scanned (or the link is followed), the user is presented with a simple form to complete.
  • If a user enters a positive test result, the Admin will be sent an email notification.
  • Users do not have to be logged in to Smartlog to view and complete this form.

For current Smartlog 5 customers, the Lateral Flow Testing facility is accessible completely free of charge, along with unlimited access to our brand new Fire Risk Assessment TemplateCOVID-19 Track and Trace facility, and many other existing features.

To book a demo of the new facility for your organisation or to request more information about Smartlog, visit our contact page or send us your query to info@safesmart.co.uk

COVID-19 Update: Professional Services

As this week marks a month of national lockdown – Britain’s third since 23 March last year, there remains uncertainty about a timeline for the lifting of restrictions.

The government has not yet made any clear indications for industries classed as ‘non-essential’ in the private sector about re-opening dates. However, schools have received more clarity, with the youngest pupils in Scotland set to return to classes full-time from 22 February and England hoping to bring back pupils from 8 March.

Whilst schools have not been completely shut to all pupils during the on-going pandemic; just like in September last year, re-opening will carry several health & safety challenges as temporarily abandoned facilities and buildings will need to be assessed for safety before being re-utilised to accommodate the increase of staff and pupil numbers.

Professional Services Availability: Site Visits

Per Government guidelines, our team continue to work remotely and remaining accessible by telephone, Zoom, MS Teams and email. However, our risk assessors are available for site visits nationwide to ensure that risk assessments remain up-to-date even while businesses and institutions remain temporarily closed.

We are still taking bookings for the following professional services:

COVID-19 Resources

Regarding a COVID-19 Risk Assessment, the HSE state that:

“As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 risk assessment and it’ll help you manage risk and protect people.”

We released the following resources last summer, which can all be accessed through Smartlog:

If you wish to access any of these resources, or for more information, fill in our contact form, get in touch with our customer services team on 01908 320152 or send us an email to: customerservices@safesmart.co.uk with your request.

Our Christmas Operating Hours

The Safesmart team would like to wish all our customers and their families a very Merry Christmas. After a difficult and challenging 2020, we hope that you all enjoy a happy new year.

For the Christmas holiday period, our office operating hours will be as following:

Closed from: Wednesday 23 December, 5.30 PM
Opening on: Monday 4 January, 9 AM.

During this period, our telephone number will be out-of-hours and all mailboxes will be monitored periodically.

We would once again like to thank our customers for their support during this challenging year.

Best wishes, 
The Safesmart Team

Safesmart becomes UK Government G-Cloud 12 supplier

We are pleased to announce that Safesmart has become a G-Cloud 12 supplier, supplying the health & safety compliance management cloud-hosted software Smartlog® to the public sector through the UK Government’s framework.

The G-Cloud initiative, which began in 2012, was set up to ease the procurement process of cloud-affiliated technological services by public sector bodies — which includes central government, local government and emergency services departments.

The G-Cloud framework is operated by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), and Smartlog is now listed and supplied on the Digital Marketplace under the ‘Cloud software’ category: “Applications that are accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud.

New Smartlog® Feature: ‘Track & Trace’

As more people return to workplaces amidst tightening social restrictions and the looming possibility of a second wave of infections, organisations are under pressure to maintain – or increase their safety measures in order to reduce infections and prevent a potential second lockdown.

One of these measures is the implementation of an effective ‘Track and Trace’ system in order to isolate any cases, prompt the self-isolation of any potentially infected individuals and prevent the further spreading of the virus – which is especially important in a medium or large organisation with many people.

To assist our customers – especially those in the education sector, we have now released a Track and Trace facility on Smartlog. Visitors to your organisation can quickly scan in to a selected location and submit their contact details, with no login needed.

In the event that any individuals need to be contacted, records are available for a GDPR-compliant 21 days before they are automatically removed from the system.

In order to learn more about this new feature or request a phone or web demo from a member of our team, contact our customer services team on:

customerservices@safesmart.co.uk or call us on 01908 320152.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business Resources

More information about our COVID-19 eLearning course can be found here: https://safesmart.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-awareness/

As industries slowly re-open and schools & businesses resume operations, it is of utmost priority to ensure that work premises of all types are risk assessed for COVID-19, necessary control measures are applied, and all employees are fully trained on minimizing the transmission of the coronavirus.

Brand New Courses

In order to help our customers navigate through the health & safety challenges which the COVID-19 pandemic presents – and its legal & practical impact on key business functions, Safesmart has created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Awareness training course utilising the latest information available from Public Health England, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the NHS and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

This course provides information about the following practical measures that can be implemented by businesses – if necessary:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Hand sanitizer/disinfectant
  • Temperature checking
  • Clear Signage
  • Working from home
  • Social distancing/restricting numbers

A Safe Working from Home eLearning course is also available to help protect against the dangers associated with DSE for those employees working from home.

Re-opening Schools

Along with a separate COVID-19 eLearning course for educational institutions, an in-depth COVID-19 Risk Assessment Checklist has also been created to ensure that schools and colleges re-open as safely as possible – and within government guidelines.

The Problem with Risk Scores and a Risk Matrix

risk score risk matrix image

Increasingly year-on-year health and safety management is incorporating lots of statistics that are recorded, monitored and reported on a regular basis using health and safety software. This software improves management and ensures things are not forgotten, particularly if like Smartlog, risk assessments automatically assign tasks to individuals and remind them via email so that they take corrective action. On the other hand it can be considered that too much focus on statistics, in particular risk scores in a risk matrix can hide certain hazards by focusing on other hazards due to their numeric values. Moreover whilst statistics and reporting are great to measure progress and identify frequently occurring accidents, it is evident that the majority of time in health and safety management should be on prevention by design, planning and training.

Whilst risk assessments that feature risk scores can list a multitude of different levels of hazards for identification and review purposes, they create confusion over what is the most likely to happen and what is the highest severity of harm, as peoples’ perceptions of risk and severity differ. Risk assessment categorisation of risk focusing on likelihood and injury severity together under the term priority and then setting normal or high priority is a better system as issues are fixed quicker based on priority and not based on the subjective aspect of severity which is circumstantial in every case. For example tripping on the stairs because of a worn surface can be unlikely and can often only result in minor injury accidents however it can also result in death; this highlights the potential issue with risk scores in a risk matrix which might rate this with a low numerical value for both likelihood and severity.

An Outdated System?

In health & safety management risk scores and the risk matrix structure could be considered as a 20th century management tool originating from paper based risk assessments as a way of highlighting risk within the lines and columns on a paper risk assessment to decide which should be considered first. With 21st century cloud based health and safety software like Smartlog, risks are automatically moved to the top a priority action list and removed when they are resolved. Today’s quick priority identification and resolution via software means it is questionable what purpose risk scores achieve in today’s era of health and safety management with quick software that can facilitate quick corrective action if it’s designed that way.

The concept of risk and risk assessments has a long history. More than 2400 years ago the Athenians offered their capacity of assessing risk before making decisions and over the years it has become central to keeping people and operations safe. The introduction of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 introduced documentation and management rules however there is no mention in these two pieces of legislation about the use of risk scores or a risk matrix in risk assessments.

Analysis – HSE

In fact risk scores and risk matrices are not mentioned in any health and safety legislation. Risk score matrices are mentioned on the HSE website but it’s only written that a risk matrix can be used, not that they must be used. In the Risk Management FAQs part of the HSE website here: www.hse.gov.uk/risk/faq.htm they have written:

‘Most businesses will not need to use risk matrices. However, they can be used to help you work out the level of risk associated with a particular issue. They do this by categorising the likelihood of harm and the potential severity of the harm. This is then plotted in a matrix (please see below for an example). The risk level determines which risks should be tackled first.
Using a matrix can be helpful for prioritising your actions to control a risk. It is suitable for many assessments but in particular to more complex situations. However, it does require expertise and experience to judge the likelihood of harm accurately. Getting this wrong could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones.’

(Accessed 19/11/2018)

The HSE explicitly mention here that getting risk scores wrong can result in failing to take important control measures. This is the issue and danger with using risk scores.

The HSE do not state that a score or colour rating of risk about the likelihood of risk occurring or severity is needed or that score and colour needs to be recorded or have a matrix. There is no mention of it on HSE’s website, in risk assessment examples from the HSE or in health and safety legislation. Moreover there is no mention of it in their risk assessment guide, HSE document indg163. www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf

The image of the risk matrix shown in the HSE’s mention of risk matrices on their website shows the complexity and subjectivity issue of deciding on a combined numeric value and colour for a risk. This is an example of a 3×3 grid matrix; when a grid gets larger e.g. 10×10 there can be the possibility of even more confusion, differences in opinion and lack of consistency in scoring amongst people.

risk matrix risk score hse website screenshot

An article in IOSH magazine from an independent health and safety consultant also mentions that ‘in most cases it is not possible to quantify either the likelihood or the severity with such accuracy, we make relative judgements’ furthermore she writes that:

‘To avoid confusion, ditch the numbers and replace “mostly harmful”, “unlikely” and so on with descriptions that match your organisation’s risk profile, and simply use the coloured areas to categorise the risk bands.’

Clearly it is also questionable as to what purpose the colours even serve if high and normal priority settings are used with health & safety management software that facilitates speedy corrective action in a priority list format. In summary she also concludes her article by writing ‘Poorly understood severity and likelihood categories and arbitrary risk bands will lead us to draw the wrong conclusions.’

Similarly the author of the article also presented a presentation named ‘What is significant risk?’ at the 11 February 2014 IOSH London Metropolitan Branch Meeting. This presentation sought to highlight the issues and over complexity of quantitative risk assessment (QRA) risk matrices based on risk scores amongst IOSH members.

Moreover the same author mentioned in another IOSH magazine article that ‘In most cases, we don’t have enough reliable data for QRA. Rather than sticking numbers on to categories and mistakenly calling assessments quantitative or semi-quantitative, we should be proud of producing high-quality qualitative risk assessments.’ Risk assessment that focuses on high and low priority allocation of corrective action and descriptive text from hazard assessment rather than numbers is qualitative rather than quantitative.

Regarding risk assessment methodology it is Safesmart’s view that you should choose a qualitative risk assessment so not to come across the issues of risk scores in the prioritisation of corrective action tasks based on over complexity via numbers in a risk matrix structure.

As you can see in the HSE’s risk assessment template there is no mention of risk scores or a risk matrix:

HSE risk assessment template

The HSE’s sample template can be found under resources here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/

INDG163 is the HSE’s legal guidance for completing risk assessments.

In document INDG163, The HSE state that in a risk assessment you need to:

– Identify the hazards
– Decide who might be harmed and how
– Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
– Record your significant findings
– Review your risk assessment and update if necessary.

Regarding HSE legal requirements for risk assessment it is important to remember that there is no required format for risk assessment so long as within the format you can achieve these aspects mentioned in INDG163.

INDG163 no mention of risk score risk matrix

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions:

In this section on p2 of HSE document INDG163, it does not specify that a risk likelihood, severity score, colour rating or risk matrix needs to be recorded. It just mentions that you have to decide ‘how likely it is that harm will occur and what to do about it.’

On p2 of HSE document INDG163 in the ‘Evaluate the risks’ information section it states:

‘Having identified the hazards, you then have to decide how likely it is that harm will occur, ie the level of risk and what to do about it. Risk is a part of everyday life and you are not expected to eliminate all risks. What you must do is make sure you know about the main risks and the things you need to do to manage them responsibly.’

Record your significant findings

When recording a risk assessment, the HSE state on p3 of INDG163 that ‘any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’. They state you need to ‘record of your significant findings – the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks.’

The passage reads:

‘Record your significant findings, Make a record of your significant findings – the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks. Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls.’

Putting hazards in order

On p4 of HSE document INDG163 it’s stated that the hazards identified need to be put in order of importance to address the most serious risks first.

The HSE state on p4 of INDG163 that:

‘If your risk assessment identifies a number of hazards, you need to put them in order of importance and address the most serious risks first.’

 By stating simply whether a hazard is normal or high priority it can be clearly and simply differentiated which hazards are high priority.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg163.pdf

RR151

In addition to the HSE’s comments about the danger of using risk scores and a risk matrix the ‘Health and Safety Laboratory’ (HSL) the research arm of the HSE have also conducted research on behalf of the HSE about ‘Good practice and pitfalls in risk assessment’ in the 2003 research report 151 (RR151).

RR151 mentions the following pitfalls that seemingly could be the case with quantitative numeric focused risk assessment with risk scores and risk matrices:

• ‘Carrying out a detailed quantified risk assessment without first considering whether any relevant good practice was applicable, or when relevant good practice exists’

• ‘Making decisions on the basis of individual risk estimates when societal risk is the appropriate measure’

• ‘Inappropriate use of risk criteria’

RR151 risk score risk matrix post

Moreover on p32 under the title of individual risk measures RR151 mentions a problem with numerical risk scores in a matrix:

‘Each risk box in the matrix represents the combination of a particular level of likelihood and consequence, and can be assigned either a numerical or descriptive risk value (the risk estimate). If numerical consequence and likelihood category indicators are used, it is common to estimate the risk values as the product of the likelihood and consequence values, as a convenient way of ranking the risks. Care should be taken if such an approach is adopted as, for example, hazards of low severity and high likelihood will receive the same risk value as hazards with high severity and low likelihood. Although the risk values may be the same, the response to these different hazards in terms of priority for correction may be very different (St John Holt, 1999), and care therefore needs to be taken to ensure the method for estimating risk results in values or categories that can be interpreted appropriately.’

Furthermore where there is mention of quantitative numeric risk assessment on p14 in RR151 it is not mentioned as a legal requirement it is just written that:

Where the hazards presented by the undertaking are numerous and complex, and may involve novel processes, for example in the case of large chemical process plants or nuclear installations, detailed and sophisticated risk assessments will be needed, and it is appropriate to carry out a detailed quantitative risk assessment in addition to the simple qualitative assessment. Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) involves obtaining a numerical estimate of the risk from a quantitative consideration of event probabilities and consequences (in the nuclear industry the term ‘probabilistic safety analysis’ is used in place of QRA).’

Regarding RR151 it is important to remember that ‘This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.’

But ‘it is hoped that this report will provide useful guidance for Inspectors involved in the assessment of industry risk assessments on the appropriateness of the adopted approaches, and also to practitioners in industry involved in the process of carrying out workplace risk assessments of how to avoid common pitfalls.’

www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr151.pdf

There is a lot of research online that criticises the use of a risk matrix and we encourage you to research and read this to understand the issues.

Examples of academic texts include Louis Anthony Tony Cox of the University of Colorado Department of Biostatistics and Informatics who wrote a journal article in 2008 for Risk Analysis the official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis in which risk matrix limitations are listed – the abstract of this journal article called ‘What’s Wrong with Risk Matrices?’ can be viewed here

As well as this, a well written piece called ‘The Risk of Using Risk Matrices’ was published in September 2013 for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE Economics and Management Journal. It was written by Philip Thomas, SPE, and Reidar B. Bratvold, SPE, University of Stavanger; and J. Eric Bickel, SPE, University of Texas at Austin. They have written in this article about risk matrices (RMs) saying that:

‘Despite these claimed advantages, we are not aware of any published scientific studies demonstrating that RMs improve risk-management decisions. However, several studies indicate the opposite: that RMs are conceptually and fundamentally flawed.’

Moreover this journal article is concluded with the following:

‘In this paper, we have illustrated and discussed inherent flaws in RMs and their potential impact on risk prioritization and mitigation. Inherent dangers such as risk-acceptance inconsistency, range compression, centering bias, and category-definition bias were introduced and discussed by Cox et al. (2005), Cox (2008), Hubbard (2009), and Smith et al. (2009). We have also addressed several previously undocumented RM flaws: ranking reversal, instability resulting from categorization differences, and the LF. These flaws cannot be corrected and are inherent to the design and use of RMs. The ranking produced by RMs was shown to be unduly influenced by their design, which is ultimately arbitrary. No guidance exists regarding these design parameters because there is very little to say. A tool that produces arbitrary recommendations in an area as important as risk management in O&G should not be considered an industry best practice.’

A summative key point to take from HSE INDG163 is that it’s written there that:

‘Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’

Risk assessment risk scores are not simple and as the HSE says themselves ‘could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones.’ The other benefit of keeping risk assessments simple is that they can be understood and conducted by all to help improve health & safety management and awareness across a whole organisation. Engagement and awareness of staff in health and safety is proven to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Does Smartlog have numeric risk score scales, colour coding or a risk matrix structure?

No, Smartlog has been designed to keep risk assessment simple and efficient in order help you improve safety quickly. In HSE document INDG163 on page 3 it’s actually stated that ‘any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’. Safesmart believe in safety through efficiency.

Smartlog’s qualitative risk assessment structure focuses on actions to improve safety and lower risk. Actions to correct hazards. Rather than having the option to give a numeric score or colour rating for a risk, Smartlog focuses on pass/fail questions with comments & images to ensure compliance and clearly show what action needs to be taken to improve safety via the selection of normal or high priority.

Scoring a risk out of 5 for example may mean that lower numbered risks are ignored or forgotten about. As mentioned earlier in this blog post, The HSE write online that ‘Getting this wrong could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones’.

Checks & Tests

Low risk hazards that may or may not have significant severity are still important and Smartlog ensures that all risks are clearly visible putting high importance hazards at the top of the interactive to-do list called ‘due checks & tests’ automatically based on answers to risk assessment questions and the selection of high or normal priority. Based on risk assessment answers, reminders are also sent to remind individuals to take corrective action, there are also reminder escalation levels so seniors are notified if action hasn’t been taken by tasked individuals. When corrective action is taken the due check & test is moved to complete and the risk assessment is updated accordingly so focus can again be on remaining corrective action that needs to be taken.

Safesmart’s view is that there is extensive difficulty in determining a score number for the likelihood and severity of risks as it’s a subjective process. As well as creating the issue of lower risk score hazards being forgotten, deliberation over scores can create confusion and waste time when the priority of a risk assessment is improving safety. Evidently time should be spent on this, not deliberating about the scoring of everything with a number or colour. Due to the nature of this subjectivity, discrepancy and difference in reporting by different individuals, issues are inherent in number & colour scoring of risk assessments. This means that compliance monitoring is affected, thus creating the possibility of confusion and misinformed decision as a consequence of scoring.

Conclusion

We hope reading this article has highlighted the issue of numeric risk scores and risk matrices. If you are still using a risk matrix with risk scores for your risk assessment process we urge you to reconsider and discover Safesmart’s Smartlog software. Our software is designed for fast and efficient risk assessment needed in today’s 21st century management environment that seeks to involve all in improving safety without unnecessary over complication and bureaucracy. Smartlog’s risk assessments are always live, always assigning corrective action and always helping to save lives.

A School Trip You Don’t Want to Go On

A robust health and safety policy is paramount to any organisation, but those working in the education sector will understand the magnitude of responsibility they have to ensure a safe learning and working environment for not only their students and staff but for the many contractors and visitors who may be on the premises at different times of the day.

Educational establishments are fairly unique as many will contain a variety of different buildings over one, or sometimes multiple sites, and there will most probably be grounds for sports.  These premises will also be host to a multitude of events over the academic year with varying numbers of extra visitors to the site.  Add into the equation children of any age and it’s enough to test the hardiest of Health & Safety Managers, however this responsibility usually falls to one or more individuals as just a small part of their normal job role.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, you can attribute 55% of health and safety-related accidents to trips and falls, and that percentage is just for the education sector.  90% of those accidents result in a broken bone, and some of them will be life changing for the injured party.

Slips and trips unfortunately are inevitable.  People fall; it’s human nature.  I’m clumsy, I know firsthand. However, that isn’t an acceptable excuse and if the right precautions and measures are implemented, some of those accidents can be prevented.

When conducting your regular risk assessments pay particular attention to slip and trip hazards on your premises, both within the school buildings and the grounds.  The HSE states the most common areas for these accidents to occur are corridors and outdoor areas, followed by stairs, but this will be different for each establishment.  Historical incident records will give you an indication of areas where changes may need to be made.

Next, identify who may be most at risk to slips and trips, taking into account staff, pupils and also external visitors to the site.  Identify what precautions are currently in place and decide if they are adequate or if additional measures need to be implemented. As with all risk assessments it’s important to document your findings as well as any action taken. You may find you need to change the matting in your entrances to minimise the amount of water being brought inside, or a change to specially designed slip resistant surfaces in high-risk corridor areas may be needed.  This can help to provide a permanent reduction in the amount of slip and trip accidents in that area.

The approach to slips and trip hazards needs to stretch further than just your risk assessment though, as there are so many people that are exposed to the risk and, as such, they should be involved.  Create a policy for your organisation that is dedicated to slips and trips.  Start the document with an outline of your organisation’s responsibilities, and then follow it by defining the responsibilities of key groups, such as pupils, caterers, cleaners, teachers and lecturers, maintenance staff and the board of governors.  Each group’s responsibilities will relate to their specific area of work and will include points such as reporting spills as a matter of urgency, wearing ‘sensible’ footwear, using the correct cleaning solutions for the type of flooring or simply maintaining a clear desk policy.

The way you communicate your policy is key for maximum engagement and you should ensure all stakeholders are trained appropriately.

Finally, by keeping an annual tab on slip and trip accidents you can directly attribute a decrease in them to the measures you have put in place and quickly identify any areas of concern in the future.

The HSE website contains a fantastic area of their website dedicated to slips and trips (here), and have also produced the leaflet Watch your step in Education, which has several detailed case studies and also practical advice of how to implement changes.

Safesmart can help avoid slips, trips and falls with our health and safety consultancy.

Our Smartlog software can also be used to do risk assessment for actual out of school trips.

RIDDOR – Reporting of Accidents and Incidents

Accidents within the workplace happen each and every day. This is to be expected, especially when we think of working environments with machinery or hazardous chemicals. However, the truth of the matter is that accidents can happen in any workplace, from building sites to offices and schools. Although this may be the case, many people fail to report these incidents to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive). A reason behind this could be the complexity of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) which were put in place in 1995. According to RIDDOR, not all accidents need to be reported and this could be a source of confusion as to what constitutes as a reportable incident.

Who is affected?

You could be forgiven for thinking that RIDDOR only affects employees but this isn’t the case. Anyone within the workplace who is injured as a direct result of that environment is reportable. This includes employees, self-employed individuals and members of the public, e.g. customers, service users etc.

Recording

Although it is not necessary to report every incident or injury, it is recommended that all are recorded. This is an incredibly useful practice and can make it much easier to establish a timeline of events.

What should be reported?

Differentiating between what should and shouldn’t be reported can be tricky but it is necessary for compliance with RIDDOR.

Deaths of workers and non-workers which were directly caused by a work-related accidents should be reported. It should be noted that this doesn’t include suicide.

In terms of injuries, there is a complete list of ‘specified injuries’, all of which are reportable. These include fractures (other than digits), serious burns, loss of consciousness, amputations, scalping which requires hospital treatment, injuries which are likely to cause permanent loss of sight, injuries which cause damage to organs and incidents which lead to hypothermia or heat related illnesses.

Absence

Specific accidents should be reported if they lead to the incapacitation of a worker or self-employed individual for a number of consecutive days. For example, if an employee is unable to attend work for seven consecutive days due to an injury gained within the workplace, this should be reported. It should be noted that the day of the incident doesn’t count but weekends and rest days do.

If an employee is absent from work for three consecutive days, due to an injury gained within the workplace, this doesn’t have to be reported but it does have to be recorded. In accordance with the 1979 Social Security Regulations, an accident book should be kept for this reason.

Disease

Occupational diseases are those which are likely to have been caused by exposure to the workplace environment or activities completed within the workplace. Workers and self-employed individuals should report such diseases if they have been directly caused by their workplace. Ailments within this category include, asthma, hand arm vibration syndrome, carpel tunnel syndrome, dermatitis, cramp, tendonitis and cancer.

Dangerous Occurrences & Gas Incidents

Specific dangerous occurrences should be reported to the HSE, even if these incidents don’t lead to injury. Just some examples of the type of incidents in question include, the release of dangerous substances, the collapse of load bearing parts and equipment hitting power lines, as well as others.

Those that work with flammable gas, whether suppliers, distributers or fitters, are required to report any accidents involving gas. These can include death, a loss of consciousness and injuries which required treatment within a hospital.

Non-Workers

Members of the public within the workplace can include customers, service users, students or even just passers-by. Accidents involving non-workers should be reported if it leads to them being taken straight to the hospital for treatment

Further information on RIDDOR can be found online.

Safesmart’s online Smartlog Software includes a log book for accident reporting (RIDDOR).

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