Injury reporting to be made easier for companies

The mandatory reporting of workplace injuries is set to be made clearer for businesses under changes proposed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

In July 2013, the HSE published the details of proposed changes that it says will simplify the process of reporting workplace injuries.

The intention of the changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 is to clarify and simplify reporting requirements, while at the same time ensuring that the data collected gives an accurate and useful picture of workplace incidents.

The changes will mean that fewer incidents need to be reported, something that could save businesses £5.9 million over a 10-year period, the HSE added.

The proposals are due to come into force from October, although they remain subject to Parliamentary approval. The main changes are to the following areas:

  • the classification of “major injuries” to workers to be replaced with a shorter list of “specified injuries”;
  • the existing schedule detailing 47 types of industrial diseases to be replaced with eight categories of “reportable work-related illness”; and
  • fewer types of “dangerous occurrences” to require reporting.

But the HSE stressed there would not be any significant changes to the reporting requirements for:

  • fatal accidents;
  • accidents to non-workers (members of the public); and
  • accidents resulting in a worker being unable to perform their normal range of duties for more than seven days.

However, construction union Ucatt warned that the changes could lead to a downgrading in safety reporting. It highlighted that a number of serious injuries would no longer require an automatic RIDDOR report, including:

  • an electrical shock leading to unconsciousness, resuscitation or admittance to hospital;
  • a temporary loss of eyesight;
  • dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine;
  • unconsciousness or acute illness caused by a biological agent, its toxins or infected material;
  • an acute illness requiring medical treatment; and
  • loss of consciousness because of absorbing or inhaling a substance.

Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “Many of these types of injury are potentially life changing for those individuals involved. If companies no longer have to report them, then they are less likely to take preventive measures to stop them reoccurring.”

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