The HSE has recently published guidance on reporting COVID-19 incidents under RIDDOR.


In summary, an incident must only be reported in the following circumstances: 

1. Reports of Dangerous Occurrences

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus.
  • (e.g. a lab worker accidentally smashes a glass vial containing COVID-19, leading to people being exposed.)

2. Reports of Cases of Disease (Exposure to a Biological Agent)

  • a worker has been diagnosed as having coronavirus; and
  • there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work.
  • (e.g. a healthcare professional is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with the disease.)

Businesses should carefully consider whether there is in fact a formal diagnosis, rather than a mere suspicion of coronavirus, and what evidence supports it being caused by exposure at work – or whether it is as a result of exposures outside of work.

Given the uncertainty surrounding coronavirus diagnoses and its apparent transmissibility during an asymptomatic incubation period we recognise it may well be difficult to assess whether a diagnosed contraction has been caused by exposure at work.  In cases of doubt we recommend that advice is taken when considering whether to make a RIDDOR report as failure to report under RIDDOR where required to do so is a criminal offence punishable by an unlimited criminal fine. 

For any further support or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the AG Health & Safety team.

Key contacts

Erin Shoesmith

Erin Shoesmith

Partner, Health & Safety
United Kingdom

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Adrian Mansbridge

Adrian Mansbridge

Legal Director, Global Investigations
Leeds, UK

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