3. Cases of disease due to exposure to a biological agent
When deciding if a report is required, the responsible person (usually the employer) must assess if a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 is likely to have been caused by an occupational exposure. Base your judgment on the information available.
You need to consider if there is reasonable evidence that a work activity is the likely cause of the infection. This includes both deliberately working with the virus or being exposed to it incidentally.
Incidental exposure can occur when working in environments where people are known to have COVID-19, for example patients in a health or social care setting. This includes caring for the infected person and supporting activities such as cleaning.
Reasonable evidence of occupational exposure
There are some general principles that can help you decide whether exposure is likely to have been caused by a work activity.
Factors to consider when making this decision could include whether:
- the person's work activities involved deliberate work with coronavirus, for example, working with the virus in a laboratory
- the person's work activities involved work in environments with people who are known to have COVID-19, such as in a health or social care setting
- there was any specific, identifiable incident that led to exposure as part of the work activity, such as a dangerous occurrence
For an occupational exposure to be judged as the likely cause of the disease it should be more likely than not that the person's work activity was the source of exposure to coronavirus.
You do not need to conduct extensive enquiries to decide whether a COVID-19 infection is related to a work activity or submit a RIDDOR report on a precautionary basis.
Cases where an employee has infected 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.
A diagnosis normally means a registered medical practitioner's identification (in writing, when in relation to an employee) of new or worsening symptoms.
Unlike with usual diagnosis of occupational disease, many cases of COVID-19 are confirmed without a registered medical practitioner's written diagnosis, for example on the basis of laboratory test results. We do not require confirmation of results like these by a registered medical practitioner before you make a report under RIDDOR.
You should treat any confirmation of COVID-19 infection, such as from a public testing body or a positive lateral flow test (LFT), as being equivalent to a registered medical practitioner's diagnosis.
Make a RIDDOR report onlineReport a case of disease: exposure to a biological agent
The report should specify 'COVID-19 non-fatal'.
What the law says
RIDDOR Regulation 9 (b) says when, in relation to a person at work, the responsible person (usually an employer) receives a diagnosis of any disease attributed to an occupational exposure to a biological agent, the responsible person must follow the reporting procedure.