Lord Young on Oct. 15 recommended changing when lost-time injury cases must be reported.

30 Percent Fewer Cases Expected from UK Reporting Change

Savings of $8.6 million would result from one of the most important recommendations in the government's recent report to reduce the regulatory burden on employers.

One of the most important recommendations in Lord Young's Oct. 15 "Common Sense Common Safety" report for the British government about reducing regulatory burdens on UK employers was to change when lost-time injury cases must be reported. Current regulations say injuries must be reported after a worker is incapacitated for more than three consecutive days, but the report recommends changing to seven days. The impact, according to the Health and Safety Executive staff's Dec. 15 analysis, would be 30 percent fewer injury reports filed and $8.6 million saved during a 10-year period by employers and HSE (for the agency, savings result from reduced handling costs).

Most of the savings would come in the UK services sector because it is the source of most lost-time injury reports, the staff found. Analysis of 2008-2009 filings showed:

  • More than half of the 105,000 three-day reports filed came from employers with more than 200 workers.
  • Employers in the services sector filed 74 percent of the reports.
  • Construction employers filed 6 percent of the reports, manufacturers filed 17 percent, and agriculture and extractive industries filed 1 percent each.

The staff concluded changing the requirement from three to seven days would not have a significant impact on HSE's investigative and enforcement work because the criteria it uses currently result in fewer than 1 percent of three-day injury reports being investigated.

"Overall the proposed amendment will not weaken enforcing authorities' abilities to investigate and enforce in response to serious individual incidents and promote occupation health and safety," the analysis stated. "The reduction in the amount of data received due to the fewer number of lost time injury reports is not expected to significantly affect the quality of the data for intelligence purposes to target enforcing authorities' activities."

The staff proposed an implementation schedule that would begin a public comment period on Jan. 17, 2011, and would put the changes into effect either Oct. 1, 2011, or April 6, 2012. One year later, an evaluation will assess whether the policy objectives of the changes have been met.

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