U.K.: Research Points to Injury Underreporting

New research indicates that 70 percent of workplace accidents in the United Kingdom, including major injuries, are not being reported.

The research – which was prepared for the U.K. Health and Safety Executive by the Royal Liverpool University Hospital – concludes that out of 581 injured workers who were interviewed from the hospital, only 30 percent of the injuries were reported under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

RIDDOR is legislation that requires employers and the self-employed to report deaths, major injuries or any other injury leading to 3 days or more away from work.

The new statistics came as a surprise to HSE. According to the agency's figures, 50 percent of RIDDOR reportable accidents were reported.

The study points out that the largest number of reportable accidents came from jobs within the construction industry and other trade occupations.

Among other findings:

  • Only 13 percent of reportable accidents from self-employed workers were reported.
  • Time lost from work was the main reason accidents were reported. However, a combination of time lost from work and major injury increased the likelihood of an accident being reported.
  • The government sector had the highest reporting rates.
  • Hospitality and manufacturing companies had the lowest reporting rates.

In light of the findings, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) – one of Britain's largest trade unions – advised its union members to:

  • Ensure that accidents are both properly reported and notified by members.
  • Investigate workplace accidents.
  • Receive and retain information relating to workplace accidents.
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