The consultation process has started on the Health and Safety Commission's proposal to make it compulsory to investigate work accidents and near-accidents that could have resulted in serious injury.

The commission has said that if every single reportable incident was investigated and acted upon, this could save society up to £1.8bn each year on the cost of preventable accidents.

Under the proposals, which would require an amendment to current health and safety law, employers would be required to find out how the accident happened, how it could have been prevented and keep records of the investigation and conclusions.

The records would have to be kept for three years and could be checked by the Health and Safety Executive. The consultation will also ask whether the duty to investigate should be extended to non-reportable accidents, diseases and dangerous occurences.

Consultation will be open until September 3. Free copies of the consultation document are available by phoning 01787 881 165 or at