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RIDDOR reporting of Covid-19 – Havio questions

The HSE has recently published an article on the RIDDOR reporting of Covid-19. This is Havio’s take on it and questions that we pose.

The HSE states:

In relation to the virus you must only make a report under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) when:

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

If something happens at work which results in (or could result in) the release or escape of coronavirus you must report this as a dangerous occurrence. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to people being exposed.

If someone dies as a result of a work related exposure to coronavirus and this is confirmed as the likely cause of death by a registered medical practitioner then you must report this as soon as is practical and within 10 days of the death.

 

Havio – This guidance is something that has been recently updated and we have some questions that we are posing to the HSE.

“Unintended incident” – We are sure incidents are generally not intended but examples of this would be useful – is it a sneeze of a co-worker with symptoms, someone walking too close to someone on a site not observing the 2 metre rule or is it only relevant in a lab where procedures are not followed and germs spread through an incident as detailed above?

We are not clear on how anyone could be sure or even convinced of coronavirus being contracted at work unless working in certain sectors and environments where testing is key and monitored – eg. care workers and nurses etc. even then proof would be virtually impossible to achieve as they may have contracted in so many other ways eg. transport to work. If someone you work with shows symptoms and isolates then is tested positive, do you still report under RIDDOR or do you need solid evidence which would be impossible to locate?

If a person dies because of Covid -19 how can it be established that it was due to occupational exposure?

 

We believe more detail is needed as this could cause a substantial amount of over reporting and distort figures.

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