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Q&A on changes to incident reporting and Infoline services

Q. How are the incident reporting and Infoline services changing?

A. From 12 September 2011, statutory reporting to HSE of work-related injuries and incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995) will move to a predominantly on-line system. Revised online forms will make the reporting process quick and easy. Businesses will no longer report incidents by email, post or fax.

HSE is working with some businesses to explore the impact this may have on electronic Incident Reporting systems that they have in place.

Fatal and major injuries and incidents can still be reported to HSE's Incident Contact Centre by telephone, as at present.

The Infoline telephone information service will end on 30 September 2011.

Businesses or members of the public seeking information on health and safety can use HSE's website - a huge knowledge bank where people can access and download information on all aspects of work-related health and safety, as well as HSE's official guidance completely free of charge. The website also contains a range of practical tools to help people easily comply with health and safety law. The recently launched 'Health and Safety Made Simple' pages provide all the information that businesses operating in low risk environments need to meet their basic health and safety requirements, in one easily accessible place.

Q. How can I access information on health and safety?

A. HSE's website, www.hse.gov.uk, contains information and official guidance on a huge range of health and safety issues. All HSE's publications are available free on-line and can be downloaded and printed.

The HSE website receives 26 million visits every year and is rated as 'very good' or 'good' by 93% of users. It is regularly updated and developed to ensure users can easily access information on health and safety.

The website has recently been enhanced with a suite of new resources including:

HSE also has a comprehensive suite of advice available via the Government's website for businesses "Businesslink.gov", and will continue to provide information and guidance in a range of other ways: through direct work with organisations and trade associations, face to face at workshops and safety training days, and via guidance literature and eBulletins.

Q. Why is the Infoline service ending?

A. Changes to the basic telephone information service are in line with the public sector wide drive to deliver services more efficiently. The Infoline service currently offers callers basic information that is publicly available and can be easily accessed on the HSE website. HSE's website is already overwhelmingly the most popular option for accessing health and safety information, with 100 times more visitors than Infoline has callers.

A significant proportion of calls to Infoline are also currently on non-HSE related issues. On average, one in eight questions raised fall within this category.

Q. How will I report incidents in the future?

A. The Incident Contact Centre will still take reports of all fatal and major injuries and incidents by telephone, but businesses reporting all other incidents under RIDDOR will be required to submit an online form, available on the HSE website. They will no longer be able to report incidents by email, post or fax.

The online forms are:

The revised online reporting forms will be interactive, intuitive and easy for people to use. An online help facility will also be provided.

Q. What should I do if i need to make an amendment to a RIDDOR notification?

If a Dutyholder wishes to make an amendment to a RIDDOR notification then for Fatal or Major injuries only, dutyholders can call the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) on 0845 300 9923.

They do not then need to complete a duplicate form, although the ICC will ask for some information from the original notification. The information needed to make a telephone amendment to a Fatal or Major injury is:

Alternatively a duplicate form can be submitted online. Duplicate forms should be submitted for changes to all other notifications.

When submitting duplicate forms, it would be helpful if the information listed above was included, especially the original reference number of the notification.

The incident reference number should be included within the text field of the form where dutyholders are asked to "describe what happened", quoting "Amendment to Incident Reference Number" followed by the description of the incident.

Q. How will employees or members of the public report concerns or complaints about their workplace under the new arrangements?

People will still be able to make complaints about health and safety in the workplace via an online form on the HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/contact/workplace-complaints.htm. We recognise how important it is that HSE is aware of activity where workers are being put at risk and that workers are able to quickly and easily report these occurrences. Complaints about workplace safety are currently passed from Infoline to HSE. How this will operate under the new arrangements is still under consideration.

Q. Why is HSE changing the way I report incidents?

A. Moving to a predominantly online system for reporting incidents and injuries will enable HSE to make significant efficiencies. The online reporting system will also allow businesses to easily and conveniently report incidents and the new forms will be intuitive and interactive, with a help facility available to support businesses in making reports. HSE recognise that major or fatal incidents and injuries are traumatic occurrences and feel it important to maintain a telephone service for people making these reports.

Q. What if I don't have access to a computer?

A. Internet access is available in thousands of libraries and other public buildings and there are Government plans under consideration to offer a network of assisted digital providers such as post offices, libraries, and online centres providing access to the web.

Though HSE is moving towards a web-based service for the majority of incidents, it is important to note that fatal and major injuries and incidents can still be reported by phone.

Q. What should I do if I can't find the information I need on HSE's website?

A. If you can't find any information related to your query it might be that it is not an area that HSE is responsible for. Check our new What HSE does and doesn't do section to find out.

If you can find information related to your query on the HSE website, but feel you need further specialist advice tailored to your circumstances, there are other, commercial health and safety advice phone services available, or another option is to approach a health and safety consultant. The Infoline service never offered a tailored advice service for businesses - it only ever provided basic information publicly available and searchable on the HSE website.

A full list of qualified, reputable consultants is available at www.oshcr.org.

Q. What should I do if I don't understand the information on your website? Who can I speak to for advice?

A. Infoline has never provided specific advice, only information that is publicly available.

If employers believe they need specialist advice after consulting the free information and guidance on HSE's website, there are other, commercial health and safety advice phone services available. A full list of qualified, reputable H&S consultants is also available at www.oshcr.org.

Q. Will I need to replace my Health and Safety Law poster as a result of the changes?

A. No. There will be no requirement on employers to replace their posters simply because of this change to our services.

Updated 2012-01-13