Reporting likely Covid-19 exposure as a workplace incident essential as “long Covid” becomes issue for some

The PDA reiterates the strict legal duty of employers to maintain safe and healthy workplaces and to report likely Covid-19 exposure at work resulting in an infection to the Health and Safety Executive.

Wed 27th January 2021 The PDA

Thankfully, most people survive coronavirus (Covid-19), however for some individuals, including pharmacists, the virus can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is referred to as post-Covid-19 syndrome or “long Covid”. More is becoming known about long Covid, but it is already clear that it has the potential to be life changing. An individual will not know at the time of infection if they will subsequently develop long Covid or the future impact it may have on their life.

As the country, and world learns from this pandemic to be better prepared for future viruses, accurate information will inform our understanding of this condition. It is of paramount importance that employers report when a likely exposure to Covid-19 in an individual’s workplace resulting in an infection has occurred. As the PDA has highlighted throughout the pandemic, reporting such incidents to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is a strict obligation for pharmacy employers and is mandatory.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirement to report cases of Covid-19 as Exposure to a Biological Agent. The guidance states:

“If there is reasonable evidence that someone diagnosed with Covid-19 was likely exposed because of their work you must report this as an exposure to a biological agent using the case of disease report. An example of a work-related exposure to coronavirus would be a health care professional who is diagnosed with Covid-19 after treating patients with Covid-19.”

Should long Covid continue to affect an individuals ability to work, the PDA believe a record of where the exposure likely took place could also be beneficial to that individual.

The PDA actively encourages any pharmacist who believes they have contracted the Covid-19 virus at work, to request in writing a copy of the employer’s report of the exposure to the HSE and to keep a copy of the request and of the reply.

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