With the RIDDOR consultation over it is confirmed that the requirement to report over 3 day injuries will change to 7 days and over. Will this help cut the red tape burden on businesses and will it make reporting more reliable; only time will tell.
Clearly the previous reporting criteria meant that many businesses struggled with reporting and led to an estimated under reporting of 40%. If these changes encourage a better reporting ratio then some progress will have been made. Some commentators have suggested that this will impact negatively on the HSE statistical history; but the HSE rebuff these concerns.
From our clients perspective these changes will both make reporting easier to follow and prevent them having to report incidents that may not really warrant reporting (e.g. where a member of staff decides to take a few extra days off to lets say recover). If a business has a positive approach to health & safety then intentional under reporting is unlikely to be an issue; however not all businesses do and the challenge is to see if reporting can be encouraged for them.
As the HSE reporting line will be withdrawn this September (apart from reporting Fatal and very serious injuries) then all RIDDOR reports will be reviewed initially from the HSE facility at Bedford. From here reports are generally only likely to be passed to a local inspector level where mandatory follow up is required under HSE internal rules (e.g. such as for multiple broken bones).
What will be interesting will be the factoring in of the HSE regulatory charging regime that comes into force next April. Will this impact negatively on businesses reporting for fear of incurring HSE investigation costs; again only time will tell. However as an average cost of £1500 has been suggested for the issuing and closure of an improvement notice; we are sure some businesses will think twice before reporting.
Clearly for businesses operating a safe and healthy workplace to legislative compliance then these changes are unlikely to make much of a difference in terms of costs or red tape time saved.
But for businesses not operating in this way then yes there may be less red tape but if found to be operating unsafely or not in compliance then future costs are likely to be very expensive.