Reporting workplace hazards and accidents is vital so that they can be reduced. For that reason, both employers and workers have strict responsibilities under health and safety legislation.
Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations
This 2013 legislation imposes strict obligations to report all injuries, diseases and “dangerous occurrences” (near misses) that occur in places of work. If you don’t, you face a criminal record and unlimited fines. RIDDOR is explained here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/.
Employers are also responsible for reporting dangers, accidents, and illnesses under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. There are additional obligations in mining, quarrying, oil rigs, and gas fitting. Companies should appoint “responsible persons” to log illnesses and hazards and report them to the HSE or local Environmental Health department. Serious incidents should be reported immediately, along with any injury-causing over 3 days off within 10 days.
Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health
With such high penalties in place, managers need to be fluent in all the details. While some dangers are relatively obvious (gas leaks, guards, slip hazards), chemical hazards are often more complex. Fortunately, COSHH regulations are designed specifically to make things easier for managers.
Under COSHH, all industrial products and consumables, even cleaning detergent, come with a safety data sheet. These succinctly deal with all the risks, precautions and incident responses you need to know. COSHH hazard advice has to be displayed inappropriately accessible places, such as product storage rooms and First Aid areas.
For example, safety sheets for the popular metal bonding adhesive CT1 will advise you that it has very low explosion, flammability, and toxicity risks, apart from low concentrations of di-”isononyl” phthalate and trimethoxyvinylsilane. However, it should only be used in a well-ventilated area and allergic reactions are possible. This is very important information if a worker falls sick, or if there is a fire nearby and fire officers need to know what they are dealing with. Although most other types of metal bonding adhesive are more dangerous than CT1 (https://www.ct1.com/product-applications/metal-to-metal-adhesive/), having the information to hand can still be vital.
COSHH sheets also give clear advice about the protective equipment you need on hand, and measures you can take in an emergency – such as how to neutralize spills and treat injuries. They are a goldmine for managers, so be sure to use them!