Last reviewed 13 November 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently reviewed its guidance on the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The guidance points out that employers should make a report of Covid-19 under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies.

  • A dangerous occurrence. This is an accident or incident at work which has, or could have, led to the release or escape of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). For example, this could be a situation where a laboratory worker accidentally smashes a vial containing coronavirus on the floor leading to people being exposed.

  • A case of disease. This is where a worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19 attributed to an occupational exposure to coronavirus. Normally a diagnosis would mean a registered medical practitioner’s identification of an employee’s new or worsening symptoms. However, the HSE has confirmed it is adopting “a pragmatic approach” in the current highly unusual circumstances and results are not required to be confirmed by a registered medical practitioner before a report is made under RIDDOR. So, responsible persons should consider any official confirmation of Covid-19 infection such as from a public testing body as being equivalent to a registered medical practitioner’s diagnosis.

  • A work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent. This would be where a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. For a death to be reportable under RIDDOR as a Covid case, the HSE says there must be reasonable evidence that the death was caused by an occupational exposure to coronavirus. Medical evidence such as a death certificate is likely to be an important consideration when determining whether a report is required.

The HSE also advises that there is no requirement under RIDDOR to report incidents of disease or deaths of members of the public, patients, care home residents or service users from Covid-19.

The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, Covid-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, ie as a result of a person’s work.

Further information about reporting the coronavirus at work under RIDDOR can be accessed via the HSE website.