The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has estimated that the change to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 will lead to a fall of around 30% in the number of incidents that must be reported by law, or an average of around 30,000 fewer reports a year.
From 6 April 2012, employers were no longer required to report injuries that kept workers off normal duties for seven days or fewer.
Employers will also be given a longer period in which to report, increasing from 10 days to 15 days from the time of the incident.
The increase in the reporting threshold from three days to seven days is part of a wider move to align accident and injury reporting more closely with the fit note, the aim of this being to ensure that someone who is off work because they suffered a reportable injury has a professional medical assessment, the HSE said.
However, employers and others with RIDDOR responsibilities must still keep a record of all more-than-three-day injuries, for example in an accident book.
HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: “The change to the RIDDOR Regulations will cut paperwork, help employers manage sickness absence and ensure that the reporting system is focused on risks which have resulted in more serious injury.”
In a separate development, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has warned that only 40% of all major occupational accidents are reported each year, even though informing the HSE about such incidents is a legal requirement.
An analysis by RoSPA member and workplace equipment provider Slingsby has concluded that many people are unaware of the importance of reporting and logging accidents at work.
Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, said: “The fact that so few serious accidents are reported suggests a lot of workplace accident books are sat collecting dust.”