Accident reporting falls short

The HSE hopes its new information sheet will improve accident reporting in
the catering industry

Accident reporting in the catering industry is half what it should be, the
Health and Safety Executive has warned.

Compared with an average accident reporting rate of 46 per cent across all
areas, accident surveys have shown a considerably lower rate of reporting – 23
per cent – for the catering industry, it said.

It blamed the low rate on confusion within the industry about the range of
accidents that should be reported – particularly when accidents involved
members of the public, self-employed workers or were related to acts of
physical violence on staff.

The HSE has published an information sheet, Reporting Accidents in the
Catering Industry, which it hopes will help improve the accident reporting rate
and clarify any problems.

It provides information on when, how and who to report accidents to, as well
as how to get in touch with the HSE’s central contact centre.

Percy Smith, of the HSE’s enforcement liaison activities section, said,
"The data collected through accident reporting is vital to ensuring HSE
guidance to the industry is based on the real picture and gives accurate
information on the root causes of injuries and ill-health."

But Miles Quest of the British Hospitality Association said the difficulty
for the industry lay in the fact there were some 300,000 catering
establishments around the country, many of them only employing three to five

Many people in the industry simply did not know what accidents to report, or
how to do so, he argued.

"We have not got a reporting system in the same way as there is for,
say, the engineering or nuclear industries. It is about the function and the
structure of the industry as much as anything else.

"Obviously chefs do cut their hands from time to time, things like that
happen, but generally there are not that many accidents," he said.

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