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When do I need to report Covid cases in the workplace under RIDDOR?

If you’re confused about whether you need to report Covid-19 cases in the workplace to RIDDOR, you’re not alone. Chris Smith from Emprocom explains when reporting is needed and who needs to do it…

13 November 2020

If you’re confused about whether you need to report Covid-19 cases in the workplace to RIDDOR, you’re not alone. Chris Smith from Emprocom explains when reporting is needed and who needs to do it…

“The HSE has clarified guidance around Covid-19 reporting in the workplace, and essentially this means that if there is a KNOWN risk you need to do a report.

If there WAS NOT a known risk and you end up with a positive case then you DO NOT need to report it.

Generally speaking, the type of business which will need to report will be working directly with the virus itself, either because they are handling it in a lab setting, or because they are dealing with samples from patients – in the case of a nursing home staff for example. However, it is not limited to these sectors.

Essentially, if you were working with someone who developed Covid-19 and you had no prior awareness that there was a risk, you do not need to report it.

Who should report?

RIDDOR dictates that ‘Responsible Persons’ report certain matters to the HSE.

This typically includes employers, the self-employed and others in charge of a workplace.

The devil is in the detail

If you work in an organisation where there is a known risk of Covid-19 exposure, the HSE has identified three COVID-19 specific circumstances in which a ‘responsible person’ should make a report:

• An accident or incident at work has, or could have, led to the release or escape of coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.

• A worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a case of disease.

• A worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent.

When deciding if a report is required, the responsible person must make a judgement, based on the information available, as to whether or not a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 is likely to have been caused by an occupational exposure, that is, whether or not there is reasonable evidence that a work-related exposure is the likely cause of the disease.”

To learn more, visit the HSE pages: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/riddor/index.htm

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