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NEWS 7 Workplace injury reporting simplified in legislative overhaul

Changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 were introduced last month, clarifying and simplifying the reporting requirements. The legislative update, which came about

after the HSE consulted on proposals for new, simplified regulations, based on recommendations in the Löfstedt report, also ensures that data collected gives an accurate and useful picture of workplace incidents. The main changes by the regulations are: a simplified list of dangerous occurrences within the rail sector, and removal of the requirement to report suicides on railways; a clarified and shortened list of reportable dangerous occurrences (near-miss events); a simplified and shortened list of specified reportable injuries (“major injuries”) to workers sustained as a result of a work- related accident; and

a simplified and significantly shortened list of reportable ill-health conditions in workers (replacing 47 specified ill-health conditions with eight categories of work-related diseases). The legislative update, introduced on 1

October, has left some aspects of the regulations unchanged.

No changes are being made to: recording requirements; reports of fatal accidents; reports of accidents involving non-workers, including members of the public; reports of accidents which incapacitate workers for more than seven days; requirements to preserve certain incident sites at mines, quarries and offshore workplaces pending investigation and subject overriding safety needs. Minor changes in wording have been made to the requirements for reporting of gas hazards

EU officials insist flight time rules will not undermine safety

The European Parliament (EP) has backed a bill to regulate pilots’ flight times, despite objections from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and the European Cockpit Association (ECA), among others. Following the vote last month, European Union (EU) officials insisted that the new rules would boost safety standards, having previously said that a rejection of the Regulation would have negative effects on safety. Some of the changes under the new act include: night flight time duty is cut by 45 minutes to a maximum of 11 hours; maximum number of flying hours in 12 consecutive months is reduced

from the current 1,300 hours to 1,000; and maximum duty time during airport standby is fixed at 16 hours. However, the ECA has argued that there are safety loopholes within

the regulations that will lead to pilots landing aircraft after having been awake for 22 hours. Speaking after the vote on 9 October, ECA president Nico Voorbach,

said: “Today the EP voted for a Regulation that is not to the benefit of the flying public in Europe. With this approval the EP took a step away from a ‘precautionary’ approach, ignored scientific expert advice and put passenger safety at risk.” BALPA has also come out against the new regulation and in a

statement called on the Government to “repatriate this rule-making from Europe so existing higher UK standards can be maintained and passenger safety better protected”. However, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has welcomed the

decision by the EP, arguing that the EU proposals mean the CAA will have greater fatigue oversight powers, and the airlines will be forced to take greater responsibility for fatigue instead of focusing solely on duty hours. Chief executive of the CAA Andrew Haines, said: “Pilot fatigue is a real risk in the aviation industry. “Responsibility for managing failure is three-fold: effective regulation,

proactive management by airlines and professional behaviour and reporting by pilots. All parties must work together on this to ensure passenger safety remains paramount.” Speaking of the lack of confidence in the proposed measures,

transport and tourism committee chair Brian Simpson said that every single national safety regulator supported the measures.

and injuries. It remains a defence in proceedings to prove that the organisation was unaware of the circumstances which gave rise to a reporting requirement, provided they have taken reasonable steps to be made aware. A new Regulation (15) restricts the need to

report the same incident twice, provided that all the information required in respect of the multiple reporting requirements has been given and timescales are met. The changes also include new categories of

reportable injury to employees and changes to reportable disease categories. The regulations have essentially been

redrafted with some sections imported from the old regulations into the new structure. Even where requirements are very similar such as in the list of general dangerous occurrences there are subtle differences in wording. For the full story, visit:

Network Rail improves level crossings

Network Rail has carried out extensive work at three stations on the Harrogate line in North Yorkshire in a drive to improve customer safety. Work to reduce the risk of level crossing incidents was completed last month at Poppleton, Cattal and Hammerton stations. The biggest changes are at Poppleton (see above) where a new

Old pedestrian crossing fenced out of use to reduce the risk of misuse © Network Rail

entrance to one of the platforms has been created; the pedestrian gates have been removed with pedestrians being directed to use the footpaths on the highway crossing. The improvement has been made because the pedestrian gates do not lock when trains are passing and there have been reports of near misses with people who have come through the gates when trains are approaching. Route managing director of Network Rail Phil Verster, said that

the company was constantly looking for ways to reduce risks at level crossings. “By directing all users to the main gates at the adjoining road

crossing, there is no risk of anyone accidentally straying on to the railway.” At Cattal, Network Rail has installed a new gate and fence to

prevent passengers crossing the line until the train has left the station. Previously, there had been no physical barrier to stop passengers walking out in front of the train. At Hammerton, the company has put up additional signage to

remind the public not to use the pedestrian crossing when the gates are closed.

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