IOSH reporting performance policy position June 2018

Many organisations recognise the benefits of voluntarily publicly reporting on their health and safety risk management and, increasingly, they are obliged to provide this under non-financial reporting requirements.
IOSH advocates meaningful and comparable occupational safety and health performance data in internal and public annual reports, as a driver for improvement and we recommend a holistic approach to business risk management.

The facts

  • Many organisations recognise the benefits of voluntarily publicly reporting on their health and safety risk management and, increasingly, they are obliged to report under non-financial reporting requirements
  • Other organisations report internally on OSH, for example, statistics on accidents, incidents and ill health, but may not currently include it in their annual reports
  • However, good external OSH performance reporting is considered good practice, helping demonstrate commitment to continual improvement and transparency
  • IOSH first began its case that OSH is ‘material’ to employers’ performance and reporting in a 2003 submission to the UK’s Operating and Financial Review consultation
  • IOSH then co-founded the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability to advance global workforce OSH and contributed to ‘Accounting revolution…’, highlighting human and social capital and also to guidance on OSH in sustainability reports
  • Corporate reporting varies and for example, research has shown considerable scope for improving OSH reporting in large UK companies and public bodies, particularly on performance and targets 1 & 2 and more recently, within sustainability indices
  • In the UK, since 2013, certain listed companies have narrative reporting requirements, including on social issues and in 2015 anti-slavery disclosures requirements were introduced. The UK also transposed EU non-financial reporting requirements for around 500 UK organisations during 2016
  • IOSH was pleased to be on the 2018 project work group that developed the Global Reporting Initiative’s sustainability reporting standard 403 on OSH
  • Worldwide, there are many regulations, reporting frameworks and guides and the Reporting Exchange provides a free online platform that summarises reporting requirements across 60 countries and 70 sectors

Our position

IOSH advocates meaningful and comparable occupational safety and health performance data in internal and public annual reports, as a driver for improvement and we recommend a holistic approach to business risk management.

For annual reports, data should be gathered covering all work activities, direct employees, other employees/contractors and members of the public. As a minimum, annual reports should include annual outcome data (accidents and ill health, lost time and incidents), analysis against targets, and the coming year’s priorities (continual improvement programme).

Organisations should aspire to more detailed reporting – using a balanced approach with both leading and lagging OSH performance indicators and best practice public reporting standards, including those for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. And we would like to see the OSH content of sustainability and socially responsible investment indices strengthened.

We believe performance information should be easy to access and meaningful, providing quality and comparability. We would like to see more external verification of OSH performance data and also for reporting to reflect key directors’ OSH duties, for example, see UK and EU guides and international standard ISO 45001. IOSH supports the CSHS work programme and seeks to promote the use of improved and standardised OSH metrics within combined reports (see CSHS guide).

IOSH supports increased supply chain transparency to help stakeholders better understand how organisations manage human rights and the risks of modern slavery and trafficking, encouraging a ‘race to the top’.

IOSH resource

Guides and online tools:

Consultation responses: