The Health and Safety Executive has been advised to change RIDDOR to capture rarer occupational health conditions and reduce the number of laypeople reported under accident figures.
Changes to RIDDOR in 2013 reduced the number of rarer occupational health conditions reported.
Five years later, a post-implementation review published last month has proposed that this be reversed with an extension of the types of conditions that can be reported.
These include conditions such as pneumoconiosis, extrinsic allergic alveolitis, decompression illness, pulmonary barotrauma and poisoning due to certain chemical exposures.
The same report said it found evidence of over-reporting of accidents involving non-workers – particularly within the leisure sector - and proposed measures to reduce this.
Extended reporting of rarer conditions was welcomed by the CIEH but it was cautious about plans to reduce reporting of incidents involving non-workers.
CIEH policy manager Tamara Sandoul said: ‘We welcome HSE’s intention to increase the number of reportable occupational diseases under RIDDOR – this is a vital move towards monitoring and dealing with high rates of work-related illness, which is part of the HSE’s strategy.
‘We are however, concerned to hear that HSE is considering reducing the reporting of injuries to members of the public within the leisure sector.
‘Whilst this change may be justified, it has to be clearly evidenced and all potential negative impacts should be carefully assessed so that legitimate injuries are not missed. RIDDOR is a key source of intelligence to both HSE and local authorities.
‘Smaller injuries can also present important clues as to the overall safety practices of a business and members of the public should be protected as a priority.’
The PIR report raised concerns over the exclusion of rarer conditions as they eroded an evidence base.
The report said: ‘With the long term focus on work-related ill health, the exclusion of these diseases reduces the scope for research and the evidence base to improve worker health.
‘Without investigation and enforcement where appropriate, workers could be left at risk of potentially life-threatening illnesses due to workplace exposures.’