RIDDOR Employee Responsibilities
Employees have a general duty of care in respect of workplace health and safety, in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
In addition to this, employees may also assume duties under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Under RIDDOR, it is the responsibility of the employer or the relevant responsible person who is in control of the premises where the incident took place to report a workplace incident.
RIDDOR employee responsibilities may apply therefore in situations where the responsible person is an employee and not the employer, for instance, where an organisation has multiple premises, each of which has an individual site manager.
Reporting health and safety issues and concerns
Although an employee is not responsible for reporting work-related incidents to the HSE, they still bear a responsibility to report any health and safety issues or concerns to their employer, or where that fails, to inform other relevant bodies.
Reporting incidents to an employer
Although employees do not bear any reporting responsibility under the RIDDOR regulations, should they become aware of a work-related incident they should inform their employer as soon as possible.
Incidents that the employer must report to the HSE under RIDDOR regulations include:
- where the incident has resulted in death
- RIDDOR specified injuries, such as fractures, serious burns and crush injuries
- where a worker is unable to work for over 7 days as a result
- non-fatal injuries to non-workers that led to hospitalisation
- occupational diseases, including carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma
- certain near-miss incidents that have the potential for inflicting harm
- gas-related incidents
The employer will require details such as the date and time of the incident, where it took place, who was involved, and a description of what happened. Generally, these details will be recorded in the employer’s accident book.
As the reporting of work-related incidents to the HSE is a legal requirement under the RIDDOR regulations, any employee who does not inform their employer of an incident may face disciplinary action, dismissal or even prosecution.
Reporting health and safety issues
An employee’s first step should always be to raise the health and safety issue with their employer. It cannot be assumed that an employer is already aware of any issues. As part of an employee’s duty of care regarding health and safety at work, they are required to communicate and co-operate with their employer to safeguard themselves, their co-workers and their workplace.
Should an employee be unsatisfied with the response of their employer, they may inform their trade union safety representative of the matter. Even where they are satisfied with their employer’s response, it may still be pertinent to approach their safety representative.
If an employee has approached their employer, and possibly their trade union safety representative, and are still unsatisfied that the matter has or will be dealt with satisfactorily, they may contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to report the issue.
The HSE have an online form for this purpose but are also happy to take health and safety concerns over the phone.
The HSE is responsible for health and safety in the following workplaces:
- building sites
- schools and colleges
- electricity, gas and water systems
- hospitals and nursing homes
- central and local government
- offshore installations
Should the workplace not be covered by the HSE, it may be that the local authority is responsible instead. Such premises include:
- offices (excluding government offices)
- hotels and restaurants
- leisure premises
- nurseries and playgroups
- pubs and clubs
- privately owned museums
- places of worship
- sheltered accommodation
- care homes
For any of the above premises, contact your local authority to find out how to make a health and safety report.
In addition to the above, there are certain specific types of premises that are covered by further bodies, such as the Office for Nuclear Regulation (responsible for nuclear installations) and the Highways Department (responsible for roads, highways and pavements). For a full list of these additional bodies, visit the HSE website.
Employee health and safety rights and responsibilities at work
Where an employee is not the specified responsible person, the RIDDOR regulations do not apply to them. However, they still have rights and responsibilities under the health and safety laws.
Employee health and safety rights
Under health and safety laws, employees have the following rights:
- a work environment where all healthy and safety risks are assessed and controlled
- information on all risks involved in their work and workplace
- access to health and safety procedures in their workplace
- the ability to leave the workplace should they deem themselves or others to be in danger
- consultation on any matters which may affect employee health and safety at work
- the ability to communicate with their employer with regard to health and safety issues and concerns
- become a member of a trade union and act as a safety representative, with paid time off work to train as such
- a rest break of a minimum of 20 minutes when working for over 6 continuous hours
- annual paid leave
- toilet facilities that are safe and suitable
- washing facilities
- access to drinking water
- first aid facilities
Employee health and safety responsibilities
All employees carry a duty of care to maintain their own health and safety, and that of others whom their work may affect. To this end, employees must abide by their employer’s health and safety rules and procedures, and follow any related training provided by their employer.
Employees must not misuse any work-related equipment in any way that could lead to a health and safety breach, for instance, using a fire extinguisher as a door stop.
Employees must not take part in any action that could put other people at risk. So looking back at that fire extinguisher propping the door open, should a fire break out and those affected be unable to locate the fire extinguisher, all persons in that vicinity have been put at risk.
Where an employee becomes aware of any hazard, is involved in or witness to an accident, or have a health and safety related concern, they are required to report this to their employer.
For example, should an employee become aware of a loose or broken handrail on a staircase, they should inform their employer or the responsible person as soon as possible.
A key factor in any employee’s role regarding health and safety is that of co-operation, be that with their employers, co-workers or health and safety procedures.
Penalties where employees do not fulfil their responsibilities
Where an employee is seen to have:
- not taken reasonable care in safeguarding the health and safety of themselves or those around them
- used work-related equipment incorrectly, inappropriately and in an unsafe manner
- not behaved appropriately or safely
- failed to co-operate with their employer, co-workers or other related parties to safeguard health and safety
- not informed their employer or the responsible person of any work-related incident
they may face disciplinary action, dismissal or in some cases prosecution.
Penalties where employers do not fulfil their responsibilities under RIDDOR
It is a legal requirement that reportable work-related incidents are submitted by employers to the HSE.
Where this doesn’t happen, the employer may find themselves facing legal proceedings from the HSE, their local authority or private individuals.
Why take legal advice?
Take specialist legal advice to ensure that you are fully informed of your position under health and safety laws and RIDDOR, and are in full compliance with all relevant legislation.