Over the past seven years in the UK, there has been a sustained push towards developing technologies that companies could use to help them satisfy their compliance obligations more cheaply and efficiently. This drive has created a new industry in Regulation Technology (RegTech).
Meeting RIDDOR requirements with RegTech
- RIDDOR requirements
- Taking responsibility for RIDDOR
- RIDDOR with RegTech
- RegTech benefits & considerations
A range of RegTech products are available, designed to assist companies with their compliance obligations. Companies can apply these tools to meet all their regulatory obligations.
An example of this is RegTech helping companies comply with their recording and reporting obligations under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR).
The RIDDOR reporting requirement stems from a legal duty to ensure health, safety, and welfare under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and related legislation. This duty applies to all companies employing ten or more people.
RIDDOR requires organisations to keep an up-to-date and readily available accident book or electronic equivalent. This book must record work-related accidents to employees and 'non-workers' and document any dangerous near misses.
A company needs to report any work-related incidents (including acts of physical violence) to the HSE. These are incidents that have resulted in:
- death of a worker or non-worker (not including suicides);
- specified injuries to workers;
- incapacitation of a worker for more than seven consecutive days;
- an injury to a non-worker who requires immediate hospital treatment;
- diagnoses of prescribed occupational diseases when caused by work;
- a specified dangerous occurrence; and
- a relevant gas incident.
Taking responsibility for RIDDOR
There is an added obligation to record (not report) accidents resulting in the incapacitation of a worker for more than three consecutive days.
Only 'responsible persons' can submit reports under RIDDOR. Responsible persons include employers, owners, licence holders, operators, persons in control of work premises, self-employed persons working on their premises and relevant gas professionals.
Failing to report accidents when required to report under RIDDOR may result in custodial prison sentences of up to 2 years for responsible persons and an unlimited fine for the business.
RIDDOR with RegTech
The HSE has already implemented a system requiring all RIDDOR reporting to be completed via the appropriate online report form. Electronic submission allows the form to go directly to the RIDDOR database. This system indicates that the potential application of RegTech in RIDDOR reporting is promising.
The digitisation of reporting and compliance processes is a form of RegTech. However, consider the situation where the relevant health and safety regulations are all machine-readable. This process could allow the software to compare a digital accident report to the regulations and automatically record and lodge the relevant report with the HSE.
RegTech benefits & considerations
This process saves time and costs by streamlining reporting and ensuring the accurate recording of incidents. It could also improve the company's ability to scrutinise its business and employment data to ensure that it is meeting its obligations and looking at ways to minimise future reportable incidents.
In this way, RegTech could allow a company to move away from a check box or reactionary response to compliance and take a more proactive 'all of the firm' approach to its regulatory obligations. In this case, the RIDDOR requirements.
The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and corresponding algorithms could replace menial or repetitive tasks, such as data cleansing and validation. AI may also add value to the risk assessment process, as trends and areas of concern could be easily diagnosed as patterns emerge and are flagged, making it easier to identify current and future risks that may affect the company.
It is important for any company looking to employ new technologies to conduct appropriate due diligence on the 'solution'. This approach may involve:
- developing a corporate technology strategy,
- assessing the benefits, and
- establishing how the company can best integrate these technologies into existing systems to make them more efficient.
It will be important to ensure that the technologies work. Remember that non-compliance with reporting obligations is an offence – it would not be a defence to claim "the computer ate my homework."
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