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The Legal Column - April 2012

27 April 2012

The experts at Workplace Law address your legislative and compliance issues.

Is fall reportable?

Q: An employee fell and hit her head on a wall while climbing down the company’s stairs on her way to the shop at the end of her lunch break. She went to hospital and is currently at home. Can you please let me know if this is a RIDDOR reportable accident as she wasn't strictly performing her work?

A: Yes, it is reportable under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), even though she was not strictly carrying out working duties – as she is an employee on your premises and has been in hospital for more than 24 hours.


Q: Are first-aiders allowed to give aspirin to a casualty with a suspected heart attack?

A: Yes, they are allowed to administer aspirin if a heart attack is suspected, however they should be specifically trained on the subject – not all First Aid at Work (FAW) or Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) cover the subject. The view of HSE is that the administration of medication by a first aider is not part of a FAW or EFAW training course, but you can assist an individual in taking it.

However, the one exception is when training students on first aid for heart attacks, when this subject must be covered. Therefore, for heart attack management, the student must be able to assist a casualty in taking 300mg of aspirin and to advise them to chew it, not swallow.

Mobile phones and data protection

Q: We provide company Blackberries for voice and data calls for our staff. We asked our mobile supplier if they could provide call information on each user with the phone numbers of the calls coming into the phone. On our monthly bills they provide the outgoing information and associated costs but say that they can’t provide incoming call information due to the Data Protection Act. As I am not sure this is the case I could do with some clarification.

A: I would question why you need the incoming call information in the first instance and would imagine that the mobile supplier won't necessarily provide this, as this is not a cost associated to the phone.

My view is that this is not necessarily something that is covered under the Data Protection Act, although it might be covered under the Telecommunications Act. From a data protection perspective, the argument would be that as long as the incoming calls are not personal (or if personal incoming calls are allowed, then they are not excessive) then your company does not 'need' to have this information, and as there is no cost associated with incoming calls, they will not provide this information.

If you feel you have a justifiable need, rather than for monitoring purposes, you would need to relay this to the mobile supplier and request this information again for the cited purpose.

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