Bringing back common sense to Health and Safety

From 6 April, employers will no longer have to report to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) injuries which keep workers off normal duties for seven or fewer days. Currently injuries have to be reported if they keep workers off normal duties for more than three days.

Incidents which will no longer have to be reported include:
• A chef who nicked their hand cutting an onion and needed to give the wound four days to heal before resuming kitchen duties.
• A shop assistant who, after getting scratch cards from a safe closed the door on their finger, had to take the next four days off while swelling went down.
• An office worker who trapped their finger in toilet door frame. They were told by the hospital following X-rays that it was bruised and not broken and returned to work after five days.

The change to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 will see a fall of around 30 per cent in the number of incidents that must be reported by law – an average of around 30,000 fewer reports a year. The move is estimated to save businesses 10,000 hours a year.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: “These changes are all about bringing common sense back to health and safety.

“We want less red tape for business, and these measures should save companies thousands of hours a year. We are freeing them from the burdens of unnecessary bureaucracy, while making sure serious incidents are properly investigated.”

Employers will also be given a longer period in which to report, increasing from 10 to15 days from the time of the incident.

By increasing the reporting threshold from three to seven days, the change will also align with the ‘fit note’ system which ensures that someone who is off work because they suffered a reportable injury has a professional medical assessment.

Employers and others with responsibilities under RIDDOR must still keep a record of all over three day injuries, for example through an accident book, but will only have to report to the HSE those incidents resulting in more than seven days off work.

The change to RIDDOR was recommended in the Government commissioned Common Sense, Common Safety report.