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2020 / 2021 Edition

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HSC consultation on workplace accidents

THE Health and Safety Commission has launched a consultation document on its proposal to introduce a compulsory duty for all companies and organizations to investigate all reportable work-related accidents, ill-health or ‘near misses’ which could have resulted in serious injury.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that if every single reportable incident not at present investigated by employers was investigated and acted upon, society could save up to £1.8 billion a year in preventable incidents, including £600 million to businesses.

The proposals, which would require an amendment to health and safety law, would require employers to:

 

  • investigate all incidents to find out how they happened and how they might be prevented in future
  • keep a record that an investigation has been carried out and that its conclusions have been taken into account in revising the workplace risk assessment. Such records would be kept for a minimum of three years and could be subject to scrutiny by the HSE and its inspectors.

The consultation will also ask whether the proposed duty to investigate should be extended to non-reportable accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences as well. The HSE would provide guidance on how to implement an effective investigative process.

HSC chairman Bill Callaghan said: ‘Most work-related accidents and cases of ill-health are preventable. By investigating incidents, identifying the causes, and taking effective steps to remove those causes, employers can prevent repeat incidents and cut the human and financial cost dramatically.’

The full text of the consultation document can be viewed and downloaded from the Health and Safety Executive’s website.

 

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