HSE announces changes to incident reporting process

Major changes to how businesses report fatal and major accidents, incidents and injuries are due to be implemented from September, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.

Although businesses will still be able to notify by phone, from 12 September 2011, all reportable work-related injuries and incidents under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) will move to a predominantly online system, the HSE added, with a “suite” of seven forms being made available through the HSE website.

Trevor Carlile, HSE director of strategy, said: “More than half of reportable injuries are already notified to the HSE through the website and this proportion has been increasing steadily over the past seven years. Taking advantage of the growing use of the internet allows the HSE to be more efficient in the way it works.”

But the move and a wider consultation on RIDDOR that concluded in April has drawn some criticism from health and safety organisations.

The consultation was prompted by a recommendation in Lord Young’s “Common sense, common safety” review of health and safety published last year, which suggested that the trigger for reporting injuries should shift from absences of three consecutive days to absences of seven days in order to reduce administrative burdens on businesses, particularly smaller firms.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) said that it would be better to move to something more straightforward and that is more easily understood by businesses.

It has recommended having a reporting system that focuses on accidents requiring visits to a GP or attendance at A&E, with reporting also linked to the fit note system.

Accidents requiring reporting to the HSE could then be restricted to fatalities and notifiable major injuries and dangerous occurrences, added the CIEH.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has also urged the HSE to take a more radical approach, with a greater focus put on employers’ duties to record and investigate injuries, ill health and near misses internally.

But the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health said that it supported plans from a three-day injury reporting regime to a seven-day system.

It also called for the Government to link reporting to the fit note scheme, so that doctors are then able to advise people who are on sick leave for more than seven days whether or not, with extra support from their employer, they could return to work earlier.

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