Reporting cases of COVID-19 under RIDDOR 2013
During the course of the recent QLM seminars, we discussed the possible impact of staff who test positive for COVID-19 and whether there was a need to report under RIDDOR.
IOSH has, in the last few days, published an article on this subject which offers clarity around what can be a difficult area for employers. The article offers interpretation of the legal requirements surrounding COVID-19 and RIDDOR. We have included extracts from the article and our thoughts below.
The HSE have identified three circumstances where COVID-19 should lead to a report by the Responsible person in the workplace, these being:
- 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.
Whilst reporting under RIDDOR would normally require diagnosis from a medical practitioner, HSE now accept a formal COVID-19 test report as being equivalent. For a report to be necessary, it has to be considered that the work was the most likely source of the exposure leading to COVID-19 or there must be reasonable evidence the infected person’s work increased the risk of infection.
Of particular significance for the leisure industry is that HSE has concluded that work with the public, in other words, our customers, is not usually considered to provide sufficient evidence that a member of staff who is given a positive COVID-19 diagnosis was occupationally exposed. This is in contrast to staff who work with people known to be infected as would be the case in a hospital.
The full article is available on the IOSH website at https://www.ioshmagazine.com/2020/11/10/covid-19-updated-reporting-guidance-employers
Information is also available from the HSE website. https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/riddor/index.htm