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May 10, 2011

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HSE decides it’s good NOT to talk

Work-related injuries and incidents reportable under RIDDOR will have to be notified to the HSE via its website from September this year.
However, those reporting fatal or major incidents will still be able to do so by phone, in recognition of the need for a more personal response in such circumstances.
The announcement was made by the regulator a day after the close of the consultation on amending the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 in line with proposals made by Lord Young in his review of health and safety.

From 12 September, a suite of seven forms will be available on the HSE’s website to make the statutory reporting of work-related injuries, dangerous occurrences, disease, and gas-related incidents quicker and easier. Online reporting is also likely to fulfil the main aim of RIDDOR reform, which is to reduce the administrative and cost burdens on both business and the regulator.
Said director of strategy, Trevor Carlile: “More than half of reportable injuries are already notified to the HSE through the website and this proportion has been increasing steadily over the past seven years. Taking advantage of the growing use of the Internet allows the HSE to be more efficient in the way it works.”
He emphasised that because people reporting a traumatic event, such as a workplace death or serious injury, “still need that personal interaction”, the notification of such incidents can still be done over the phone.
In another efficiency measure, the HSE will end its Infoline telephone service on 30 September. Instead, it will be encouraging businesses and members of the public seeking information and official guidance on health and safety to visit its website, which it describes as “a huge knowledge bank where people can access and download information free of charge and use interactive Web tools”.
The website currently receives 26 million visits a year and has 100 times more visitors than the Infoline has callers. It has recently been enhanced with interactive tools for low-risk businesses and an expanded ‘frequently-asked questions’ section.


Jane Hext, managing director of Santia, the health and safety risk-management firm that has operated the Infoline since 1996, expressed concern over the possible “knock-on effects of closing this valuable resource”. She told SHP: “We understand that in today’s current climate of cutbacks, government departments have to tighten their belts. [But] due to HSE cuts, firms will have less assistance to help them through the maze of compliance.”


Ms Hext was also sceptical of the move to Web-based reporting, saying businesses “will no longer have the reassurance of being able to pick up the phone and speak to a knowledgeable person who can help.” She continued: “The Government’s recently published plans, ‘Good health and safety, good for everyone’, talk about making things easier for small businesses and improving access to information. It is hard to see how the decision to close these services squares with this.”

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SteveStanR1ChardsmithPaulKevsky13 Recent comment authors
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This announcement causes me serious concern about the ability of organisations currently using software to deliver riddor accidents. Most accident management software packages that incorporate riddor reporting do so via email. After September 2011 far from reducing the bureaucratic burden on employers, they will be increasing it, making the vast majority of software packages that depend on email redundant.

HSE need to provide a software bridge to allow such software to conitune to work


HSE infoline won’t be missed.

It never matched the (logical) perception as a source of advice & practical H&S solutions, because all they were EVER able to do was refer back to (& quote) legislation

Unhelpful at best & frustrating for non-technical people seeking guidance.


And for those that do not have access to a PC……………………………


Does that mean yet more new HSE posters -WITHOUT the infoline detials?


I have mixed feelings about this move: For the majority of duty holders, it will be fine; however, for those small firms who struggle with the detailed requirements of reporting, and those who may be reporing for the first time, I doubt whether this will be a positive change. They sometimes need to ask HSE “What is it exactly that I need to do?” or “Do I need to report this occurence?” I also support Paul’s point about access to a PC.


The concerns expressed by “Infoline” bear a marked similarity to those expressed by HSE Admin staff in 1996 when Infoline came into being, except that it was expressed from a different viewpoint – that of companies who were then being directed to consult Infoline losing the direct relationship/contact with their local HSE Office.