Q: What changes for my company after the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) included COVID-19 cases in the required reporting under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013)?
Companies are now required to report cases where an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to COVID-19. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence. Reporting is also required if 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.
Unfortunately this creates ambiguity for businesses in the current climate, particularly given the ever growing number of suspected or ‘actual’ cases of COVID-19. It is, for example, difficult to determine whether there is reasonable evidence that it was ‘caused by’ exposure at work - given the multitude of situations via which people can be exposed.
Either way, Lockton advises that liability insurers are notified of any RIDDOR reports for COVID-19 in the same manner as other RIDDOR incidents.
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Q: What do I need to do to protect my staff when operating during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Businesses need to consider their own workforce, identify and review the risks they face and the activities they undertake. It needs to be ensured (and be evidenced) that a dynamic and ‘reasonably practicable’ approach is taken to reviewing current ways of working and implementing any new controls required in light of the current pandemic. This should incorporate (but not be restricted to) all government guidance.
You can find some examples of what this means in practical terms here.