Maintaining public health and safety is a duty of government and it is necessary to encourage everyone to act responsibly in their day to day activities so as not to endanger themselves or others in any way.
The public body called the Health and Safety Executive was set up a while ago to put the responsibility for reporting diseases, gas incidents, and work related accidents within a short time of their occurrence, so that risks could be better identified and lessons learned to avoid similar problems in the future.
Thus, incident reporting is an important part of the system to improve health and safety in our everyday lives.
The reporting of injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences regulations of 1995 covers a wide range of areas such as medical treatment and a broad spectrum of jobs, and is especially important with those of inherent high risk of accident such as mining or working on offshore oil rigs. The areas of regulation include: the health services, education, agriculture, construction industries, dockwork, engineering, office work, motor vehicle repair work, nuclear installations, laundries, gas supply, the police force, the printing industry, and many more fields of human endeavour.
In the hospital environment it is easy to see how a simple mistake, such as administering the wrong drug, or dose of drug, could lead to potentially serious consequences, and so everyone involved in treating patients needs to be aware of the possible hazards. Health and safety awareness is a major concern in all areas of work, and an effort is made to recognise potential hazards and minimize them wherever possible. A dentist, for example, has to write up, and make available to all, details of the chemicals stored and used in his premises, including not only those with specific risks like mercury, but right down to any normal household cleaning materials.
In the case of large industrial premises there are many potential hazards, some of which only come to light unfortunately after a major incident has already occurred, such as a factory fire due to perforation of underground gas pipes as is believed to have happened at Buncefield in 2005. Risk assessment is carried out in every type of organisation with a view to making our environment safer for everyone.