HSENI information on reporting cases of COVID-19 to persons at work.

Reporting cases of COVID-19 to persons at work

1.  Coronavirus is classified as a biological agent as defined in regulation 2(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003.

2.  For a report of coronavirus infection / death to be reportable under RIDDOR there must be:

  • Reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was likely exposed because of their work (e.g. a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after treating patients with COVID-19); AND
  • The person making the report has received a written statement prepared by a registered medical practitioner diagnosing the disease [Coronavirus / COVID 19 in this case]; AND
  • The work of the person who has the disease involves one of the following activities:
    • Work with micro-organisms; OR
    • Work with live or dead human beings in the course of providing any treatment or service or in conducting any investigation involving exposure to blood or body fluids; OR
    • Work with animals or any potentially infected material derived from any of the above;

3.  If the criteria in 2 above are met you must report a case of coronavirus infection at work using:

4.  In the ‘Disease Type Box’ please select “INFECTION ATTRIBUTABLE TO SPECIFIED WORK (SCHEDULE 3 NO. 27)” if reporting COVID 19 / Coronavirus.

Reporting dangerous occurrences involving COVID-19 at work

5.  This category is invoked if there has been an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. An example of a dangerous occurrence would be a lab worker accidentally smashing a glass vial containing coronavirus, leading to people being exposed. It does not include where, for example, coronavirus was found on a surface due to a failure of cleaning etc. As stated it is likely to be limited to research or clinical settings where the virus is being handled.

6.  If you believe that a dangerous occurrence has happened you must only make a report using:

Time requirements of reporting on injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences

Business must continue to report fatal and major injury incidents as soon as is practicable to HSENI, In this period we ask that you restrict telephone notifications to fatalities and major injuries only and use the online reporting forms for all other reporting which can be found at:

Unless there is a direct link between an employee’s work and contracting COVID-19 (for example healthcare workers working with infected patients or lab workers working with the virus) there is no statutory requirement to report such cases to HSENI.