Following the change in April 2012 to the reporting threshold for work related injuries from 3 to 7 days absence, HSE has now published its consultative document (which is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/consult/condocs/cd243.htm and http://consultations.hse.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/16770/442853.1/PDF/-/CD243.pdf) to rationalise RIDDOR in the light of the Lofstedt review.
In summary, HSE wants to focus on reporting of events which might attract an enforcement response. It proposes that in future reporting should be limited to:
- all deaths to both workers and people not at work;
- all major injuries (based on a simplified list) to people at work;
- over-seven day injuries to people at work;
- only those dangerous occurrences that occur within major hazard industry sectors or within other specified higher risk sectors or activities such as construction; and
- domestic gas events (simplified criteria to apply).
HSE also suggest that in future, employers and persons in control of work premises only should have to record:
- all reportable incidents (other than gas events); and
- over-three day injuries to people at work.
HSE proposes that the following reporting requirements should be removed:
- cases of occupational disease, other than those resulting from a work-related exposure to a biological agent;
- non-fatal accidents to people not at work;
- dangerous occurrences outside of higher risk sectors or activities; and
- the reporting by self-employed persons of injuries or illness to themselves.
HSE says that no fundamental changes are proposed to the administrative arrangements for reporting incidents, and that the majority of reports will continue to be made using online report forms which are submitted directly to a central database.
CRS is concerned that the commitment in the Löfstedt Review to further review the RIDDOR Regulations should not be used to trigger a root and branch consideration of fundamental objectives in relation to the needs of all health and safety stakeholders for reliable and accurate data about accidents, incidents and ill health.
CRS has argued for some time that the reporting of notifiable dangerous occurrences (DOs) needs revision, particularly the need to learn from serious events in which people had not been harmed (sometimes called ‘near misses’). We see the current list as historic and largely out-of-date, and there is no link in RIDDOR guidance to the employer’s duty in their own risk assessments to identify significant DOs which should be reported and recorded internally.
We also note that, perversely, following Lord Young’s review, the decision to reduce the absence threshold for injury reporting by employers from over three days (OTD) to over seven days (rendering RIDDOR data in organisations even less statistically significant) had led many third parties such as clients and award bodies to start to ask for a new KPI of total lost time injury based on time lost beyond end of day or shift. Thus, besides having to still record internal OTD accidents more record keeping was now being required by ‘the market’.
CRS feels that a comprehensive re-think is needed which looks at all stakeholders’ needs and which also considers how to address the problem of reporting and recording work related ill health. There is a need to get this right and not to rush the exercise, particularly since two sets of changes to RIDDOR in such a short time would not make employers’ lives simpler.
On a first reading, while we support the aim of making RIDDOR clearer, we are concerned at the proposal to strip out reporting/recording of ill conditions, accidents affecting non-employees (members of the public), many of the dangerous occurrences and nearly all notifiable ill-health conditions. More discussion is needed on these issues and more attention should be paid perhaps to the data which employers need to gather and record internally to enable them to review health and safety performance and refine their risk assessments.
HSE’s closing date for receipt of comments is 28 October 2012.