IOSH reporting performance policy

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 to 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.
  • Health and safety law requires that arrangements for managing occupational safety and health (OSH) risks are monitored and reviewed.
  • Many 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 making the case that OSH is ‘material’ to employers’ performance and reporting in 2003, in response to a UK consultation on Operating and Financial Review
  • IOSH co-founded the Center for Safety and Health Sustainability, aiming to advance the safety, health and sustainability of the global workforce and contributed to the ‘Accounting revolution…’ White Paper and best practice guidance on OSH in sustainability reports.
  • Research studies have since found 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, since 2015, certain companies must provide anti-slavery disclosures. The UK transposed EU non-financial reporting requirements for around 500 UK organisations in 2016 and the European Commission has now issued guidelines.
  • An Organisational Stakeholder of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that pioneered the world’s most widely-used sustainability reporting framework, IOSH is currently represented on its board.

Our position

  • IOSH advocates meaningful and comparable occupational safety and health performance data in internal and public annual reports, as a driver to 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-scorecard’ approach and best practice public reporting standards, including those for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability.
  • 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.
  • 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 provides a number of free tools to help organisations develop skills in this area (see here) and the IOSH Blueprint competence and skills framework.
  • IOSH supports the CSHS work programme and seeks to promote the use of improved and standardised OSH metrics within combined reports (see CSHS guide).

Relevant IOSH consultation responses