RoSpa cuts red tape with call for radical change

Published:  28 April, 2011

BIRMINGHAM: Small businesses could benefit from radical changes to accident reporting proposed by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Rather than change the threshold at which reports must be made to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), there should be more focus on employers' duties to record and investigate accidents, said RoSpa.

The HSE's consultation proposed that reporting injuries should shift from absences of three consecutive days to absences of seven days, in order to reduce administrative burdens on businesses, particularly smaller firms.  

However, RoSpa suggested the burden would increase on small firms if reports had to be made less often.

Roger Bibbings, RoSpa's occupational safety adviser, calculated that with a changed threshold small service businesses will typically make the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurances (RIDDOR) once every 30 years.

"This is such a long interval that corporate memory of the requirement and how to meet it would certainly have evaporated," he said.

If adopted, this change will mean that compliance with RIDDOR, which is currently only about 50%, will decline further."

RoSpa proposes that the duty to notify the HSE should be restricted to fatal and major injuries but employers should be required to investigate and keep internal records of all injuries requiring A&E attendance or medical intervention, including injury from work-related road crashes.

Record-keeping would need to be proportionate and not unduly burdensome but records would need to be made available to enforcing authorities, if required.

Mr Bibbings added: "What is required is a much more radical approach, looking at objectives to be achieved, focusing on what can be done to encourage better learning by employers, not only from accidents and injuries but from significant 'near-misses'.

"RoSpa suggests that efforts to reduce burdens on business should focus on helping organisations improve their management of health and safety and thus avoid the heavy costs to which accidents and incidents usually give rise."

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