Changes to Accident/Incident Reporting

From April 6th 2012, subject to Parliamentary approval, Reporting of Injuries, and Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1995 over three day injury reporting requirement will be increased to reporting over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day of injury/ill-health itself). Therefore an ‘over seven day injury’ is one that is work related but not major. Major injuries include things like major limb fractures, amputation, dislocation of the shoulder, hip, knee or spine, loss of sight, acute illness as the result of exposure to a harmful agent, loss of sight or penetrating injury to the eye amongst other things. The injured person should either be away from work for this time period or unable to perform the full range of their normal work duties. The seven day calculation will include any days that they were not normally expected to work.

Under the new system reporting to the authorities must be undertaken by employers by 15 days from the day of the accident/incident.

According to the latest HSE statistics the most common reason for staff being off work in the health and social care sector under the three-day rule was because of manual handling activities. There were 11, 390 reported injuries to employees in the health sector and 6,453 in social care. The majority of these reported injuries were as a result of manual handling (39% for health and 29% for social care.).

Effective staff training and supervision as well as good provision of up-to-date handling equipment to reduce the risk of harm to clients and/or staff is a sure way to bring these very high figures down. Most health care and social care organisations already have good training programmes in place, many provide staff with adequate and up-to-date equipment and regularly review and up-date staff policies and procedures to reflect a safe system of working – but not all.

Until all care organisations are following such systems and staff, as well as the vulnerable clients that are in the care, are properly trained and provided for the statistics on ill-health and injury in our industry will continue to be embarrassingly high.

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