Reportable occupational diseases

Regulation 8 of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) requires employers and self-employed people to report cases of certain diagnosed reportable diseases. These must be linked to exposure to specified hazards at work.

The reportable diseases and associated hazards are set out in this web page. They should only be reported once you receive a confirmed diagnosis of the worker’s condition.

Diagnosis by a doctor

A reportable disease must be diagnosed by a doctor. Diagnosis includes:

  • identifying any new symptoms, or
  • any significant worsening of existing symptoms

Employees must provide the diagnosis in writing to their employer.

Doctors are encouraged to use the standard wording used on this web page when describing reportable diseases in written statements for their patients.

If you are self-employed

Self-employed people do not normally obtain written statements from a doctor when they are off work due to illness.

To take account of this, if you are self-employed you only need a doctor's verbal diagnosis of a reportable disease for it to require reporting to the enforcing authority.

As with employees, this only applies if your current job involves exposure to the associated hazard.

Reportable diseases

The reportable diseases and associated hazards are set out below:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve which controls sensation and movement in the hand. It is not always caused by work-related factors.

It is reportable where the person's work involves regular use of hand-held power tools:

  • percussive tools involving repetitive blows, such as impact drills or jackhammers, or
  • vibrating tools, such as sanders, grinders or chainsaws

When it is not reportable

Where the person’s work involves typing or similar repetitive movements, carpal tunnel syndrome is not reportable under RIDDOR.

There is information on hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS).

Cramp of the hand or forearm

Where cramp is so severe that it leads to a clinical diagnosis, it can be severely debilitating, and impair a person's ability to carry out their normal work.

This condition is reportable when:

  • it is chronic, and
  • the person's work involves prolonged periods of repetitive movement of the fingers, hand or arm

It usually means the person is unable to move comfortably in the way they used to.

When it is not reportable

A one-off, acute incident of cramp during someone’s work is not reportable.

Occupational dermatitis

Dermatitis is reportable when the person's work involves significant or regular exposure to any chemical or biological skin irritant or sensitising agent.

In particular, this includes any chemical with the warning 'may cause sensitisation by skin contact', or 'irritating to the skin'.

Dermatitis can be caused by:

  • epoxy resins
  • latex and rubber chemicals
  • soaps and cleaners
  • metalworking fluids
  • cement
  • wet work
  • enzymes
  • wood

Corrosive and irritating chemicals also lead to dermatitis. Types of work with the greatest risk of dermatitis include:

  • construction
  • hairdressing
  • health and care services
  • printing
  • paint spraying
  • agriculture and horticulture
  • cleaning
  • catering

When it is not reportable

Dermatitis can be linked with exposure to a range of common chemicals or substances outside the workplace, such as general household cleaners.

The condition is not reportable if it has only been caused by this sort of exposure, rather than the person being exposed to a chemical or substance at work.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome

Workers whose hands are regularly exposed to high vibration, for example where vibratory tools and machines are used, may suffer from impaired blood circulation and damage to the nerves in their hands and arms.

The condition is reportable where the person's work involves regular use of:

  • percussive power tools involving repetitive blows, such as jackhammers
  • vibrating power tools, grinders, sanders and chainsaws, or
  • holding materials which vibrate while being processed by powered machinery, such as pedestal grinders, riveting machines or rotary polishers

There is guidance on protecting workers from hand-arm vibration at work.

Occupational asthma

Asthma is a common condition and is only reportable when the person's work involves significant or regular exposure to a known respiratory sensitiser.

In particular, this will include any chemical with the warning 'may cause sensitisation by inhalation'.

Known respiratory sensitisers include:

  • epoxy resin fumes
  • solder fume
  • grain dusts
  • wood dusts

When it is not reportable

Asthma is not reportable if:

  • there is evidence that the person already had the condition, and
  • it was not made worse or triggered by exposure at work

Tendonitis and tenosynovitis

Tendonitis means inflammation of a tendon, and tenosynovitis means inflammation of the sheath that surrounds a tendon.

The condition is reportable when it:

  • is in a hand or forearm,
  • has resulted from work that involves frequent, repetitive movements, and
  • is physically demanding

There is an increased risk of developing this condition when the person is doing physically demanding work, which could include:

  • tasks involving repeated lifting and manipulation of objects (such as block-laying and assembly-line work)
  • activities involving constrained postures or extremes of movement in the hand or wrist

When it is not reportable

This condition is not reportable when:

  • a part of the body is affected other than the hand or forearm
  • it has not resulted from work that involves physically demanding activities involving frequent, repetitive movements

Carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents

There is guidance on carcinogens, mutagens and biological agents that explains when employers and self-employed workers must report:

  • any disease caused by an occupational exposure to a biological agent
  • cases of occupational cancer

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Updated 2024-06-04