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Extended Accident Reporting Time Impacting Incapacity To Work Definition?

17th December 2013
According to RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995), between April and September 2012, a total of 137 fatal injuries in the workplace were recorded. Previous RIDDOR figures (2011-2102) show there were more than 111,000 injuries - 22, 433 recorded as major injuries.

However, from 6th April 2012, a change in the law meant that if a company employee sustains an occupational injury resulting from an accident, their injury would only be reported if they are incapacitated ( and unable to work) for more than seven days (a record only of the injuries must still be kept). Previously, an injury would be reported if an employee was injured and unable to go to work for more than three days.

In addition, the deadline by which the over-seven-day injury must be reported has also increased to fifteen days from the day of the accident.

Currently, it is being reported that around a quarter of non-fatal injuries result in absence from work for more than 7 days. Thus, it’s possible that the change in work injury reporting might not only have an influence on statistics collection and analysis but also on employer attitudes to defining accident injury by the increased number of days required to be absent from work.

In other words, employees entitled to pursue an injury claim for accident compensation may feel reluctant to do so unless they were reported as being too incapacitated to work for 7 days or more. A period of time less than 7 days might be construed by an employer to be simply a minor injury and thus, only recorded. Under EU law and RIDDOR a record of all over three day injuries must still be kept.

Of course, perception of the impact an accident, the resultant extent of the injuries received and the possible amount of injury compensation rely on many factors, not least, an examining doctor’s report and previous medical history.

In 2010, the common workplace accidents of slips, trips and falls accounted for just over 1 in 5 injuries lasting more than 4 days, and a quarter of all injured people were too incapacitated to work for over 4 weeks.

Now that the accident reporting period as been extended to 7 days, it’s more than probable that reporting of accidents statistics will influence attitudes towards defining minor versus serious injury by some interested parties.