4. When to report incidents involving volunteers

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) require the responsible person to report certain incidents involving employees or those affected by their work activity, including members of the public and volunteers.

The responsible person can be the employer or the people in control of the premises.

Fatal incidents involving volunteers are always reportable (except where they involve road traffic accidents).

Non-fatal incidents involving volunteers are only reportable where:

  • the accident arose from a work-related activity
  • the injured person was taken directly from the scene of the incident to hospital for treatment

Examinations and tests do not qualify as 'treatment' and there is no need to report incidents where people are only taken to hospital as a precaution.

Incidents involving volunteers where there is no work activity, or no employer organisation, are not normally reportable. The requirement to report over-7-day injuries only applies to employees, not volunteers.

Examples of incidents involving volunteers

Not reportable

  • A volunteer in a charity retail injures their back while lifting a heavy object but they are not taken to hospital for treatment, even if they were unable to return to their duties for 7 days or more
  • A blood-bike volunteer suffers multiple fractures after being involved in a road traffic accident and is taken direct to hospital. Injuries on the public highway are dealt with under the Road Traffic Act (RTA) so are not reportable under RIDDOR
  • A volunteer litter-picker for a local community group (with no employees) sprains their ankle on uneven ground and is taken to hospital for treatment. The incident is not reportable as there is no employer and no work activity

Reportable

  • A volunteer on a farm amputates their finger while using heavy machinery and is taken direct to hospital for treatment
  • A volunteer assisting at a fund-raising event run by a charity which has employees, breaks their foot when struck by a heavy falling object and is taken to hospital
  • A volunteer suffers fatal injuries following a fall from height while carrying out roof maintenance work on behalf of a church