Health and safety is often given a hard press as it can be used as an excuse for preventing staff, customers and those in an organisation’s care from doing certain activities.
Think about bans on playing conkers, wearing glasses on bouncy castles, and more topically, workers being banned from putting up Christmas decorations around their desks. In some cases, there may be good reasons for restrictions, but H&S is often used to mask the real thinking behind them.
However Health and Safety regulations do serve a useful purpose, and this is borne out when you review the accident statistics for the UK.
Despite a host of rules and regulations being in place an astonishing number of people become injured or are taken suddenly unwell whilst at work each year. Recent statistics from the HSE for the reporting year 2012 / 2013 show that during the year:
(source HSE annual statistics 2012/2013)
Obviously this costs both in the financial sense as well as the loss, pain, injury and discomfort for the individuals involved and their families.
Carrying out a thorough risk assessment, and putting in place the resultant safety measures, robust procedures and well trained first aiders is of paramount importance. In the event of an emergency you want to know that there are people around who can confidently help until the emergency services arrive.
As the New Year approaches you should be doing the following:
RIDDOR, which stands for Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations is the legislation which controls which workplace injuries and illnesses you should report, and how you should report them.
On 12th September, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) changed the way in which work related injuries are to be reported. In addition, from 30th September, they closed their Infoline telephone service, starting instead to direct all enquiries to the HSE website.
All businesses are required by law (the Reporting of Injuries and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations- RIDDOR) to report any deaths, causes of disease, injuries that are directly attributable to the workplace and near misses relating to the workplace.
For most businesses the part of the regulations that applies most frequently are those injuries that cause the injured person to be off work or unable to do their normal working duties for more than three consecutive days (not including the day of the accident). These must be reported within 10 days of the incident.
The types of injuries that are reportable include death, fractures (except to thumbs, fingers, toes), amputations, loss of sight, burns, and any loss of consciousness or any injury that requires treatment in hospital.
From now on these injuries can be reported via one of 7 new online forms which are designed to be easy to use and send with the click of a button. They may be found at on the HSE’s RIDDOR site.
For most businesses this won’t cause too much trouble, as much of our working life is now done online.