We all know that the HSE budgets are being eroded and that they are able to carry out far less in the way of proactive inspections than they would have in the past. This has led to complaints (from the unions) that safety standards in UK workplaces will deteriorate. Time will tell if this is the case.
Within the current economic climate the Government clearly has to save money, but by saving with one hand, will the costs to society rise if accident levels start to increase? Take for example the changes in RIDDOR, where to reduce red tape burden on businesses, reporting has changed to over 7 day accidents. As we have blogged in the past, who will really save money from this change? – Most likely, HSE costs!
The key to RIDDOR has always been to get employers to report accidents where there is a significant impact on people and to allow the enforcing authority to follow up if deemed necessary. But, with the HSE changes, how many of these reports would you expect to be followed up?
It has come to our attention recently that its far less than we would have expected – in fact, information shows that between 7-8% of RIDDOR reports were followed up last year. Do you think this is enough?
We think that perhaps more should be carried out and wonder if the impending ‘Fee for Intervention’ legislation will encourage more visits; as then charges can be levied as given the accident, a material breach is probably easily proved by the HSE.
It will be interesting to see if there is a significant change in 2013.