The HSE has published a consultation document on proposals to simplify the RIDDOR regime for reporting injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences in the workplace.
The proposals – which are expected to come into effect next year – represent a significant reduction in reporting requirements for more minor injuries. This forms part of the Government's implementation of the recommendations set out in Professor Löfstedt's report, ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all’, published in November 2011. As we reported in our December 2011 e-bulletin.
Professor Löfstedt recommended a wide ranging set of changes to the current health and safety regime.
The aim of the proposals to reform RIDDOR is to remove reporting obligations in cases where the information currently generated is not put to any practical use by the HSE and/or where the same information can be better collected through other means. In summary, the proposals are as follows:
- Employers in lower risk industries will no longer need to report 'near miss' events (i.e. potentially dangerous events which do not result in any injuries). The reporting obligation remains in major hazard industries (offshore oil and gas, extractive industries, petro-chemical and chemical manufacturing) and in certain specific higher risk sectors (including construction).
- Employers will no longer be required to report non-fatal injuries to members of the public (except where the injury is connected to domestic gas supply).
- It will no longer be necessary to report most industrial diseases. When the proposals come into force only diseases resulting from exposure to a biological agent will be reportable. As a result, relatively common industrial diseases including vibration diseases, occupational cancers, dust diseases and asthma will no longer be reported. By contrast, much rarer diseases including rabies and Legionnaires' disease will remain reportable.
- Self-employed workers no longer need to report injuries and illness to themselves.
Employers will still be required to report all fatal injuries (whether to workers or to members of the public) and all serious injuries to workers. There are two categories of reportable injuries to workers: 'major injuries' as defined in the RIDDOR Regulations (including certain types of fractures, crush injuries and head injuries) and any injury which causes a worker to be absent from work for more than seven days. Up until April this year, employers were required to report all injuries leading to absence from work for more than three days. The shift to seven days followed recommendations by Lord Young in his report 'Common Sense, Common Safety', covered in our October 2010 e-bulletin.
In theory, these proposals should reduce the administrative burden on employers. Indeed, a cost benefit analysis included in the consultation document suggests there will be a combined cost saving to the Government and businesses of £1.8 million per year. However, Professor Löfstedt's report indicated that a general uncertainty as to reporting requirements has led to an estimated half of all non-fatal injuries not being reported.
The consultation closes on 28 October 2012.