Drastic cuts in investigation time for health & safety claims

Changes to claims

The investigation time period has been slashed from 90 days to 30 days for an employers’ liability claim, and 40 days for a public liability claim. You can read the full process on the Ministry of Justice website.

It might be time for organisations to review their safety management and reporting processes.

Health & Safety Executive provides new guidance

The HSE has also developed a new model for health & safety, called Plan, Do, Check, Act. Their aim is to treat health & safety as integral part of good management, rather than stand-alone, and also to get a better balance between the systems and behavioural aspects of management.

The model is a cycle, not a one-off process.

  • Plan – determine the plan for implementation
  • Do – identify and assess risks, implement control measure, manage records
  • Check – measure performance, monitor before events and investigate after events
  • Act – review performance and act on lessons learned

How to be prepared

Many systems are not centrally stored, making it difficult to be certain that the most up-to-date information is available and then starts the task of finding all the necessary documentation to investigate a claim – and all the while the clock is ticking.

Whilst a centralised system specifically designed to manage health & safety may have previously been seen to provide many advantages, with the Civil Justice Reforms, those advantages come even further to the fore.

This is what I would recommend be on your list of features for a health and safety system:

  • Instant access to the process and relevant information
  • Capture risks, accidents, claims, reports, training, inspection certificates etc.
  • Create tasks, allocate them to staff and follow through on action
  • Comprehensive audit trail
  • Ease of updating with legislation changes
  • Management reporting at various levels
  • Upload associated documentation, with prompts for anything missing
  • Alerts to the right people when events occur
  • Have everything instantly available should there be a claim

And insurers will approve

All the above should also go down well with insurance companies, who can see that claims can be promptly and thoroughly investigated, as well as reassurance that risk is being comprehensively managed within the organisation.

You never know, it may even reduce premiums!