2. Dangerous occurrences

Dangerous occurrences are certain unintended, specified events, which may not result in a reportable injury, but which do have the potential to cause significant harm.

For an incident to be reportable as a dangerous occurrence, it must have, or could have, resulted in the release or escape of coronavirus leading to possible or actual exposure.

You are not required to do any complex analysis, measurement or test, but you should make a reasonable judgement as to whether the circumstances:

  • gave rise to a real risk
  • had the potential to cause significant harm.

Examples of a reportable dangerous occurrence

Assess each dangerous occurrence on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of reportable dangerous occurrences include:

  • deliberately working with the virus: a laboratory worker smashing a vial containing coronavirus on the floor (outside a microbiological safety cabinet). This leads to people being exposed to the virus
  • incidental exposure: a sample from a COVID-19 patient breaks in transit, leading to spillage and the driver becoming exposed

Make a RIDDOR report online

Report a dangerous occurrence

The responsible person (usually the employer) should notify the enforcing authority by the quickest practicable means, without delay, and send a report within 10 days.

What the law says

The list of dangerous occurrences in Schedule 2 of RIDDOR includes the requirement for the responsible person (usually the employer) to report any accident or incident which results - or could have resulted - in the release or escape of a biological agent likely to cause severe human infection or illness. This includes coronavirus (COVID-19).

A dangerous occurrence means an occurrence which arises out of or in connection with work. It includes occurrences attributable to:

  • the manner of conducting an undertaking
  • the plant or substances used for the purposes of an undertaking
  • the condition of the premises used for an undertaking, or any part of those premises

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