4. Work related deaths due to exposure to a biological agent

For an incident to be reportable as a death due to occupational exposure to coronavirus there must be reasonable evidence that a work activity caused the worker's death. This includes both deliberately working with the virus or being incidentally exposed to it. 

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.

Reasonable evidence of occupational exposure

For a death to be reportable under RIDDOR there must be reasonable evidence that it was caused by an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This includes both deliberately working with the virus or being incidentally exposed to it.

The responsible person must judge whether a confirmed COVID-19 death has been caused by an occupational exposure to coronavirus (resulting from the person's work activity).

The factors to consider when assessing reasonable evidence of occupational exposure are the same for work-related deaths as for disease reporting.

Deaths resulting from an employee infecting another employee through general transmission in the workplace are not reportable.

Cases where a member of the public has infected an employee through general transmission in the workplace are not reportable under RIDDOR, unless infection is likely to have occurred from working in an environment with a person known to have COVID-19, for example in health or social care.

Cause of death

To require a RIDDOR report, the death must be caused by an occupational exposure to coronavirus. This means that, for deaths reported as a result of COVID-19, the disease must have been a significant cause of the person's death.

Medical evidence (such as a death certificate) is likely to be important when deciding whether a report is required.

This judgment should be made on the basis of the evidence available.

Make a RIDDOR report online

Report a work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent

The report should specify 'COVID-19 fatal'.

What the law says

RIDDOR regulation 6 (2) requires responsible persons (usually employers) to report the death of any worker as a result of occupational exposure to a biological agent.

Deaths following an existing case of disease report

Where a worker dies from COVID-19 (and a RIDDOR report has already been submitted for a case of disease) the original report can be amended by submitting a duplicate form.
You should resubmit all relevant information, with any changes.

Within the free text box, the phrase 'Amendment to Incident Reference Number {Original Notification No.}' should be inserted, followed by confirmation that the infection has resulted in death.