Coronavirus–Test and Trace requirements on employers, RIDDOR reporting

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Coronavirus–Test and Trace requirements on employers, RIDDOR reporting

Published 23 September 2020

On 22nd September the government announced new restrictions in England to try to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus, including a return to work from home. Further restrictions may follow.

Where businesses remain open, the NHS Test and Trace scheme presents challenges for employers. An employee who develops symptoms of coronavirus is encouraged to report this to his employer, as well as self-isolating before being tested. The employer may be asked to alert the other workers or members of the public the employee had “close contact” with in the 48 hour period before he developed symptoms. The employer will have to identify and notify the contacts, without breaching the employee’s privacy. Close contacts do not need to self-isolate unless medically advised to do so. They may however require some reassurance about the existing control measures.

The employer should check the existing COVID-19 risk assessment and make any necessary adjustments to protect workers. If the employee subsequently tests positive, the Test and Trace service will notify their close contacts and instruct them to self-isolate. Employers must support their employees when self isolating by providing them with work they can do from home, if possible. If not, they can use holiday or claim statutory sick pay.  

A single case of COVID-19 in a workplace is reportable to the HSE under RIDDOR only in limited circumstances. These cases can be difficult to identify when the disease is so prevalent in the population. An informed decision should be made in each case and the decision to report or not recorded in writing. Where there is more than one case in a workplace this may be reported by Test and Trace to the HSE or local authority. They may decide to investigate if there are concerns raised by employees or others about health and safety standards.

For more information or advice, please contact one of our experts in our regulatory team.


Fiona Gill

Fiona Gill

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6410

Sally Roff

Sally Roff


+44 (0)163 365 7780

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