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RIDDOR regulations update to include instances of COVID-19

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013 provides guidance for employers who need to report specified workplace incidents. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the nation, it’s no surprise the regulations have now been updated to include reporting of coronavirus

For an incident to be reportable as a disease or death due to “occupational exposure to a biological agent”, there must be reasonable evidence that suggests work-related exposure was the most likely cause of COVID-19.  

For example, this includes infected frontline health and other key workers who have been involved in providing care and treatment or exposed to known cases of COVID-19. All employers must be aware of these new guidelines and reporting regulations as it applies to every open workplace. 

The key point reiterated by the HSE is that there must be reasonable evidence suggesting that a work-related exposure was the likely cause of the disease. 

For a case to be considered as reportable, there must be an actual diagnosis by a medical practitioner. They may indicate the significance of any work-related factors when communicating the diagnosis or cause of death. The doctor’s commentary on the circumstances of the contraction of COVID-19 may help to determine whether the illness was likely caused by work-related exposure – though it is still open to some interpretation as to what ‘reasonable evidence’ encapsulates. 

GPs also have a legal obligation to report all cases of COVID-19 to Public Health England, as coronavirus is listed as a notifiable disease

Advice for employers

You have a general duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all your employees at work so far as is reasonably practicable. This means you must follow Public Health England guidance for your sector and practice the government’s social distancing guidelines within your workplace. 

For more information about controlling risks at your workplace and keeping your workforce safe from COVID-19, get in touch with our risk management team. 

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