Reporting of workplace accidents to be made simpler

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has opened a consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences.

The 12-week consultation is part of the HSE’s work to make it easier for businesses and other users to understand what they need to do to comply with health and safety law.

It will assess how businesses comply with health and safety law requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

The proposals will re-examine whether RIDDOR is the best approach to provide an accurate picture of workplace accidents in the UK.

The consultation on wider changes to RIDDOR follows injury reporting changes which took effect in April.

The changes to RIDDOR mean employers only have to report injuries that keep workers away from their normal duties for more than seven consecutive days – an increase from the previous three-day reporting period.

Although the changes proposed in RIDDOR will likely reduce the administrative burden on farmers, some critics fear they could have a negative effect on health and safety standards.

David Charnock, HSE’s consultation manager, defended the changes proposed in the consultation.

He said: “We are proposing to simplify the requirements by removing the duty to report in those areas where the information can be better obtained from other sources or where the data isn’t particularly useful to the regulators.

“The proposals do not indicate any change in HSE’s policy or strategic objectives, and we will continue to focus our investigations on those incidents that meet our published selection criteria.”

Farming is the most dangerous profession in the UK, accounting for 1 in 10 workplace deaths – despite employing less than 2% of the working population.

But the HSE says there is also gross under-reporting of injuries, both serious and minor, in agriculture.

Regarding non-fatal injuries, the HSE believes it hears of only around 25% of incidents and 5% involving self-employed contractors.

The consultation runs from 2 August to 28 October.

For more on this topic

See our health and safety feature on farms