Under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995), infections and dangerous occurrences with biological agents at work must be reported. Examples of dangerous occurrences include an accident or an incident arising out of the work, which could result in the release of a biological agent likely to cause severe human illness or infection, or a sharps injury involving known blood/body fluid infected with a BBV.
In addition, local records should be kept of all such incidents, and the underlying cause(s) should be investigated and noted.
Mandatory Scheme for Reporting Exposures
Some occupational exposures to blood-borne viruses, (HBV, HCV and HIV), are reportable to the Health and Safety Executive under RIDDOR as:
- a dangerous occurrence - as the exposure would qualify as an 'accidental release of a biological agent likely to cause severe human illness';
- an over-three-day injury - if exposure to the blood-borne virus resulted in the worker being absent from work for three or more days; and/or;
- a disease - if exposure to the blood-borne virus resulted in the worker acquiring the virus.
Further details relating to, and about how to report are available at RIDDOR.
Useful information is also available from the document, Reporting injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences in health and social care: Guidance for employers.
Voluntary Scheme for Reporting Exposures
Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections - Surveillance of Significant Occupational Exposures to Blood-borne Viruses in Healthcare Workers.
The Health Protection Agency receives reports on:
- significant percutaneous or mucocutaneous exposures to blood or other body fluids from a source that is known to be, or as a result of the incident found to be, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis C, or HIV positive; and
- significant percutaneous or mucocutaneous exposures to blood or other body fluids from a source patient considered to be of high risk of HIV, but the viral status is unknown and the worker has commenced HIV PEP.
Further details on the surveillance scheme are available at: Blood borne Viruses (BBVs) and Occupational Exposure
Alternatively, please contact the Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, HIV/STI Department, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ; telephone 020 8327 7095/7152.