A change in the type of work-related accidents plant managers ought to report has been backed by members of the UK’s leading independent health and safety body.

Around 65% of IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) members supported a move from a ‘three-day injury’ reporting to seven days.

At present, employers must contact the regulator when an employee is incapacitated for more than three days, due to an injury sustained at work. But many IOSH members, who advise on health and safety, think this can be unhelpful.

They are now calling on the government to link reporting to the ‘fit note’ to trigger action and save bosses time, by only requiring reports for incapacity when they exceed seven days.

However, IOSH head of policy and public affairs Richard Jones also wants to see any reporting change supported by clear guidance, insisting that businesses still need to record and prevent ‘three-day injuries’.

“Health and safety needs to seen to be proportionate, with the amount of time and energy spent on reporting accidents reflecting the severity of the failures,” explains Jones. “And we also need to increase the number of serious accidents that do actually get reported by employers.”

Jones adds that industry mustn’t fall into the trap of trivialising workplace accidents that mean workers are absent for less than seven days. “This would give completely the wrong message. Employers still need to treat them seriously, record them in the accident book and make sure they don’t happen again. Often, the same failures could easily have led to far worse harm and should act as a wake-up call,” he explains.

IOSH launched a consultation of its members in February in response to the government’s reform plans for accident reporting under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences