Last week, I was contacted by a client who was concerned that the changes being announced for RIDDOR meant they may have to report an industrial disease. Published by another health & safety business, the information that had come to their attention was that Carpal Tunnel syndrome is now a notifiable disease.
What was reported was not put into full context as the change to RIDDOR should actually have identified where the persons work involves regular use of percussive or vibrating tools. This clients staff are all office based so this clearly does not apply.
Another category of cramp of the hand or forearm however could apply where a persons work involves significant periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm. However, this would first have to be confirmed by a clinical diagnosis and be clearly linked to the work undertaken. Reporting would only apply where a chronic condition is identified.
Tendonitis and tenosynovitis are types of tendon injuries that are identified as reportable. It is noted that workers who undertake physically demanding repetitive work are at increased risks of developing such conditions. This often occurs where persons are repeatedly lifting or manipulating objects, e.g. brick layers; or tasks involving extremes of movement in the hand or wrist.
Two other reportable disease categories include Occupational asthma, where a person is exposed to a known respiratory sensitiser, and Occupational dermatitis where a person is exposed to a known skin sensitiser or irritant.
All of the above firstly have to be diagnosed by a doctor; and it has to be in writing to the employees employer.
More information on the reportable occupational diseases can be easily found on the HSE website.