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New guidance: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issues new guidance on reporting cases of COVID-19 in the workforce

Employers should ensure they comply with new HSE guidance on when they should report cases of coronavirus at work.

May 2020

This update was published in Legal Alert - May 2020

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

The new guidance ‘RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19’ says employers should report:

  • unintentional work incidents where someone is – or is potentially - exposed to COVID-19 (a ‘dangerous occurrence’); or
  • cases where there is reasonable evidence that a worker diagnosed with COVID-19 caught it through exposure at work as a ‘disease’.

'Diagnosed’ is not defined, so it is unclear whether someone needs to have actually been tested for coronavirus and found to have it, or admitted to hospital with it, or if it is enough to have been advised by a health professional to self-isolate. However, it is likely that merely having symptoms will not be enough.

Similarly, deciding whether there is reasonable evidence someone caught it at work could be complex. This could depend on whether they were also exposed to the virus in non-work related circumstances, such as because they live in a large household or one which includes healthcare workers, take the bus to work, shop for the family, etc. Employers should beware rushing to report under this head without considering professional advice.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers should check out the guidance on the HSE website.

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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