Question: I believe somebody was recently asking about RIDDOR “Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). There is a booklet called “RIDDOR explained” which is published by the Health & Safety Executive. I don’t know what it would cost, but you could look it up perhaps on the HSE website, www.hsebooks.co.uk. Page 9 of this booklet says that “Reportable diseases include: Conditions such as:….hand-arm vibration syndrome”. I wonder whether this could cover RSI.
Answer 1: I believe this is meant to apply to what is commonly known as “vibration white finger”, being a result of the continued use of power tools (electric drills, grinders, air-powered road drills…)
Answer 2: Without going and reading the regs again, I think I am right in saying that 2 specific RSI/WRULD injuries are reportable but most will be quickly picked up because any over 3 day absence due to work related injury MUST be reported under the regulations (get your GP to note on your certificate that it is work-related and there is no escape for your employer). Hope this helps,
Answer 3: It was me that originally raised this. I am still in correspondence with the local Council H&S section, but the chap there seems very keen on the fact that you must get your GP to confirm that your problem is work related so that RIDDOR kicks in. The way I’m reading it this is a GP’s responsibility, but it certainly isn’t something that my old GP raised: given I’m now changing GP’s I’ll certainly take it up with the new one. I can’t quite clarify whether RIDDOR affects RSI in general: I’ve written back to the Council chap to ask. It certainly ought to, but my reading of the leaflet was that it only affected hand and forearm problems – cramp is specifically mentioned, as is vibration. It seems that all H&S law is very manual/factory worked directed and ignores today’s office/computer problems as yet – another area for campaigning.
However, in his last letter he did indicate that any absence from work of more than 3 days due to anything work related, including bad workstation equipment, is reportable, which agrees with what David said. So the moral must be to get your GP to agree that this is work related and then RIDDOR may kick in and your employer has to be reported. I’ll let you know if he comes back with any clarification.
Answer 4: The Public Health Laboratory Service, wearing their safety hat, say re RIDDOR that: “The list of reportable diseases has been updated to bring it into line with the Department of Social Security’s prescribed list for industrial injury benefit and also takes into account the European Schedule of Occupational Diseases. Schedule 3 of the Regulations now lists a number of specifically described repetitive strain injuries (RSI, PHLS Microbiology Digest – March). These are: Cramp of the hand or forearm due to repetitive movements from work involving prolonged periods of handwriting, typing or other repetitive movements of the fingers, hands or arms. Subcutaneous cellulitis of the hand (beat hand) from physically demanding work causes severe or prolonged friction or pressure on the hand. Bursitis or subcutaneous cellulitis arising at or about the knee (beat knee) and/or elbow (beat elbow).Traumatic inflammation of the tendons of the hand or forearm or of the associated tendon sheaths from physically demanding work involving frequent repetitive movements”.
But the question is: does getting it reported under RIDDOR imply that the employer will be obliged to address the problem? Does it not come back round to the same lot who ought to be enforcing the DSE Regs, but don’t do so? Let’s see…yep: “The reports are also a means that allow the Field Operations Division (of the HSE) to inspect and investigate accidents at work and give advice to employers on measures to avoid future accidents. In cases of clear negligence, formal enforcement procedures may follow.” It would be interesting to know whether “formal enforcement procedures” actually HAVE followed, in any RSI case, since RIDDOR began.
Answer 5: I believe one case has now gone through (and been won) I can’t put my finger on it right now but will try and find it. I’ve got lots of interesting info from Europe to send the list but have the EA Inspector coming in next week so am minus on minutes right now, as I have to finish a major environmental impact statement. A percentage of all RIDDOR reported cases are followed up by the HSE. In the past RSI was not a major area of interest (was cordially ignored) but the EU is now pressing for action in this area, because of a virtual epidemic of cases. Watch this space!!
Answer 6: Does anyone have the complete list of RSI related RIDDORS as I am waiting for booklet to be delivered and need info now?