Managing Health at Work Partnership Information Network (PIN) Guideline

This Guideline emphasises the need for employers to promote and support employee health and wellbeing and includes sections on issues that affect the health and safety of staff in their everyday work.


Definitions of terms
1 Major injury

RIDDOR defines a major injury as any of the following:

  • any fracture, other than to the fingers, thumbs or toes;

  • any amputation;

  • dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine;

  • loss of sight (whether temporary or permanent);

  • a chemical or hot metal burn to the eye or any penetrating injury to the eye;

  • any injury resulting from an electric shock or electrical burn (including any electrical burn caused by arcing or arcing products) leading to unconsciousness or requiring resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours;

  • any other injury -

    • leading to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or to unconsciousness, requiring resuscitation, or

    • requiring admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours;

  • loss of consciousness caused by asphyxia or by exposure to a harmful substance or biological agent;

  • either of the following conditions which result from the absorption of any substance by inhalation, ingestion or through the skin -

    • acute illness requiring medical treatment; or

    • loss of consciousness;

  • acute illness which requires medical treatment where there is reason to believe that this resulted from exposure to a biological agent or its toxins or infected material.

2 Dangerous occurrences

According to RIDDOR a dangerous occurrence is any of the following incidents.

2.1 Lifting machinery, etc.

The collapse of, the overturning of, or the failure of any load-bearing part of any:

  • lift or hoist;

  • crane or derrick;

  • mobile powered access platform;

  • access cradle or window-cleaning cradle;

  • excavator;

  • pile-driving frame or rig having an overall height, when operating of more than seven metres; or

  • fork-lift truck.

2.2 Pressure systems

The failure of any closed vessel (including a boiler or boiler tube) or of any associated pipework, in which the internal pressure was above or below atmospheric pressure, where the failure has the potential to cause the death of any person.

2.3 Overhead electric lines

Any unintentional incident in which plant or equipment either:

  • comes into contact with an uninsulated overhead electric line in which the voltage exceeds 200 volts; or

  • causes an electrical discharge from such an electric line by coming into close proximity to it.

2.4 Electrical short circuit

Electrical short circuit or overload attended by fire or explosion which results in the stoppage of the plant involved for more than 24 hours or which has the potential to cause the death of any person.

2.5 Biological agents

Any accident or incident which resulted or could have resulted in the release or escape of a biological agent likely to cause severe human infection or illness.

2.6 Breathing apparatus

Any incident in which breathing apparatus malfunctions:

  • while in use; or

  • during testing immediately before use, in such a way that it would have posed a risk had it malfunctioned while in use.

This paragraph shall not apply to breathing apparatus while it is being maintained or tested as part of a routine maintenance procedure.

2.7 Collapse of scaffolding

The complete or partial collapse of:

  • any scaffold which is:

    • more than 5 metres in height which results in a substantial part of the scaffold falling or overturning; or

    • erected over or adjacent to water in circumstances such that there would be a risk of drowning to a person falling from the scaffold into the water; or

  • the suspension arrangements (including any outrigger) of any slung or suspended scaffold which causes a working platform or cradle to fall.

2.8 Carriage of dangerous substances by road

Any incident involving a road tanker or tank container used for the carriage of a hazardous substance in which:

  • the road tanker or tank container overturns (including turning onto its side);

  • the tank carrying the hazardous substance is seriously damaged;

  • there is an uncontrolled release or escape of the hazardous substance being carried; or

  • there is a fire involving the hazardous substance being carried.

Any incident involving a vehicle used for the carriage of a hazardous substance, where there is:

  • an uncontrolled release or escape of the hazardous substance being carried in such a quantity as to have the potential to cause the death of, or major injury to, any person; or

  • a fire which involves the hazardous substance being carried.

2.9 Collapse of building or structure

Any unintended collapse or partial collapse of:

  • any building or structure (whether above or below ground) under construction, reconstruction, alteration or demolition which involves a fall of more than five tonnes of material;

  • any floor or wall of any building (whether above or below ground) used as a place of work; or

  • any false-work.

2.10 Explosion or fire

An explosion or fire occurring in any plant or premises which results in the stoppage of that plant or the suspension of normal work in those premises for more than 24 hours, where the explosion or fire was due to the ignition of any material.

2.11 Escape of substances

The accidental release or escape of any substance in a quantity sufficient to cause the death, major injury or any other damage to the health of any person.

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