Following an HSE consultation, the HSE board has approved a change in the requirements to report absence following incidents under RIDDOR, with a recommendation to extend the reporting trigger from three to seven days post incident absence. Two thirds of the 776 responses to the consultation were said to be in favour of the proposed change which would align the requirement to report with the time that an employee would need to see their GP for a MED3 fitnote. A minority raised concerns that the extension would lead to employers taking accidents which cause a shorter period of absence less seriously, and that the lack of statistics for absences fewer than seven days would prevent the HSE statisticians from spotting new trends in accident rates. However, the HSE was confident that this would not be the case and proposed a review in three years’ time to check what impact the changes may have had. The HSE has also proposed an extension from ten to fifteen days for a duty holder to report an incident following the event after it was acknowledged that the new seven day threshold would leave duty holders with a two day window to report under RIDDOR. The draft changes are expected to be laid before Parliament in February with a view to putting them in place in April 2012.

In the meantime, RIDDOR reporting has recently moved to a predominantly online system with revised online forms which aim to ease online reporting. Whilst the Infoline telephone information service is due to close on 30 September 2011, fatal and major injuries can still be reported by telephone to the HSE’s Incident Contact Centre. The move is said to part of the HSE’s drive to improve efficiency.