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Jailed for failing to report a RIDDOR accident

A builder has been handed a prison sentence after an accident occurred which he failed to report under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.

Westminster Magistrates Court heard how an employee became trapped under an excavator and resulting in his leg being amputated. He had been working on a clearing site in New Malden so that a new house could be built. The excavator tipped and trapped his leg.

It was eight months later, and only when the victim himself complained, that the HSE was able to investigate. By this time, the works had already been completed and the evidence relating to the incident was no longer available.

Although they were late to the event, inspectors proceeded to investigate. They found that the driver had no formal training to operate excavators and had been pressured to use a much smaller machine than he had requested. Although crucial evidence was unobtainable, inspectors were able to establish that there was no health and safety-related documentation and no employers’ liability insurance cover. They also found that the employee had no formal training for operating an excavator.

Paul Adams, the employer, did not investigate the incident; and had not obtained any health and safety training during his 50 years in the construction industry.  The accident was reportable under RIDDOR in the category “specified injuries to workers” which required immediate notification to the HSE, e.g. by telephone, followed by a written report within ten days, he had failed to do this.

Mr Adams pleaded guilty to a breach of Regulation 3(1) of the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013.  He received a 24-week custodial sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £2,033.

This case reinforces the importance of employers knowing their health and safety obligations; providing the correct equipment; training their staff and ensuring that RIDDOR reports are lodged promptly.

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