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UK businesses welcome cut in Government health and safety red tape20th August 2012

UK businesses are welcoming a decision by the government to cut red tape in the area of reporting accidents in the workplace.

After a wide-ranging review of existing health and safety regulations, it has been decided to scrap a requirement forcing businesses to report any accident resulting in an employee taking over three days off work to recover.

And according to the Birmingham office of leading global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, this measure will bring massive benefits to a number of businesses, including those in the construction industry.

Michael Lewis, associate director of risk management at Cushman & Wakefield, said: "They are going to be more lenient, and it is a sensible move.

“You’ll still obviously undertake your own internal investigations following any incidents, but less time will be required reporting accidents to HSE, and this will bring financial savings to many businesses - the biggest benefit will be to small firms, because they don’t have the same flexibility as the bigger ones where extra time is needed to try and arrange returns to work for staff who have been signed off by their GP.”

Under the changes, brought in by the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under its RIDDOR regime (Reportable Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations), a worker will now need to incapacitated by an accident for seven days before the incident needs to be reported.

Mr Lewis said this was hugely important shift in fairer reporting, as firms reporting many accidents were likely to not just attract the attention of the HSE, but might put off prospective clients.

He said: “Apart from anything else, there is then a possibility that a firm’s health and safety record could put off potential clients, as it might suggest that they have poor safety systems in place where in fact they don’t and its just they don’t have the resource or flexibility to arrange swift HR return to work scheme for staff who have had minor incidents but can still undertake light duties.”

He added that the change in the reporting of accidents was the first tangible result of an enquiry launched two years ago into the world of health and safety by the government, in a bid to make it more business friendly.

The enquiry was led by Lord Young, who invited health and safety guru Professor Ragnar Lofstedt to spearhead the review into current legislation.

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