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Documentation and serious incidents in case of exposure to the new coronavirus

This page contains information on what an employer should do when a worker has been exposed to the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Concepts - coronavirus and COVID-19

At the end of 2019, a new coronavirus was detected in China that could infect humans. The virus itself has been named SARS-CoV-2 (SARS-coronavirus-2). The disease caused by the new virus is called COVID-19. COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease 2019. 

Activities where the tasks involve an increased risk of exposure to the new coronavirus.

The risk of being exposed to the new coronavirus in activities may differ for different workers. For some workers, the risk is high. For others, the risk is low. The risk depends entirely on the employee’s tasks.

Where is there a direct risk of exposure to the new coronavirus?

Examples of activities are:

  • Health care and nursing, where staff care for patients/users who are, or are suspected of being, infected with the new coronavirus.
  • Transport of patients/users who are, or are suspected of being, infected with the new coronavirus.
  • Laboratory and research activities dealing with the coronavirus.

However, the risk varies between different tasks. Employers must assess the risk to which their workers are exposed. Based on the risk assessment, the employer should take measures to eliminate or at least minimize the risk.

If any of my workers have fallen ill as a result of the new coronavirus – how do I know that the infection occurred at work?

If the worker who has fallen ill has nursed/cared for/stayed in the same room/space as a patient/user infected with the new coronavirus, you should assume they have been infected at work. This applies regardless of whether or not protective equipment has been used.

Serious incident

In this case, a serious incident means that the worker has been exposed to the coronavirus, for example, because the correct protective equipment has not been used. 

What should I, as an employer, do if one of my workers has been exposed, due to a serious incident, to the new coronavirus as a result of their duties?

  1. You must take steps to avoid that more workers are at risk of being exposed to the new coronavirus.
  2. You must confirm by testing that the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus. If the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus, you must document:
    • The worker or workers who were exposed.
    • The type of work that was carried out.
    • That the infectious agent is the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV 2)
    • The tasks performed when the worker was exposed.

You must keep this information for at least 10 years.

If you fail to document this, you will be liable to pay a penalty.

More information is available in Section 11 of the regulations on infectious risks (AFS 2018:4).

Do I have to report this to anyone?

You must visit the website anmalarbetsskada.se. Click on the button serious incident and fill in the form that appears.

Image showing the button "allvarligt tillbud&quot

Report serious incident, opens in a new window, SWE

Infection leading to disease

What should I do if any of my workers have fallen ill as a result of the new coronavirus and the infection occurred at work?

  1. You must determine whether the infection occurred at work. Has it been confirmed by testing that the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus?
  2. You must take steps to prevent that more workers are exposed to or infected with the new coronavirus.
  1. If it has been confirmed by testing that the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus, you must document:
    • Who is infected.
    • The type of work that was carried out.
    • That the infectious agent is the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV 2)
    • The tasks performed when the worker was infected.

You must keep this information for at least 10 years.

If you fail to document this, you will be liable to pay a penalty.

More information is available in Section 11 of the regulations on infectious risks (AFS 2018:4)

Do I have to report this to anyone?

You must visit the website anmalarbetsskada.se. Click on the button serious incident and fill in the form that appears.

Image showing Arbetssjukdom

Report occupational disease, opens in a new window, SWE

Infection leading to death

What should I do if one of my workers has died as a result of the new coronavirus and the infection occurred at work?

  1. You must determine whether the infection occurred at work. Has it been confirmed by testing that the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus?
  2. You must take steps to prevent that more workers are exposed to or infected with the new coronavirus.
  3. If it has been confirmed by testing that the patient/user is infected with the new coronavirus, you must document:
    • a) Who is infected.
    • b) The type of work that was carried out.
    • c) That the infectious agent is the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV 2)
    • d) The tasks performed when the worker was infected.

You must keep this information for at least 10 years.

If you fail to document this, you will be liable to pay a penalty.

More information is available in Section 11 of the regulations on infectious risks (AFS 2018:4)

Do I have to report this to anyone?

You must visit the website anmalarbetsskada.se. Click on the button death due to occupational disease and fill in the form that appears.

Image showing the button Douml;dsfall

Report death due to occupational disease, external website, opens in new window, SWE

Activities where the worker's duties do not include dealing with infectious agents

Questions and answers on activities where the worker's duties do not include dealing with infectious agents

Is there a risk that workers in operations other than health care, nursing and laboratory activities may be exposed to the new coronavirus?

The new coronavirus infects mainly in connection with care of infected persons, or in close social contact between individuals. However, the risk varies depending on the tasks carried out. Employers must assess the risk to their workers. Based on the risk assessment, you should take measures to eliminate or at least minimize the risk. Your risk assessment should always be based on the provisions on systematic work environment management (AFS 2001:1). Please also make sure that you follow the Public Health Agency's recommendations regarding social distancing, limitation of the number of people in meetings, handwashing, etc.

Examples of activities, which are service activities, where people do not usually work with infectious agents include:

  • Store work
  • Hairdressing
  • Work in restaurant, cafés and diners
  • Work in receptions
  • Air, train, bus, taxi transport
  • etc.

Examples of activities, which are not service activities, where people do not usually work with infectious agents include:

  • Office work
  • Industrial work
  • Postal delivery
  • etc.

My workers do not work in health care, nursing or laboratory activities – should I report work-related illness if any of my workers have fallen ill as a result of COVID-19?

No - when a worker is ill, it does not automatically mean that the illness is work-related. Work-related illness means that the illness is caused by tasks carried out at work. In order for a COVID-19 infection to be work-related, and be reported as such, the worker's duties must include dealing with the new coronavirus in, for example, laboratory activities, or caring for persons infected with COVID-19.

If a worker infects a colleague with COVID-19 – is it treated as a work-related illness?

No - in order for an infection with COVID-19 to be considered work-related, and be reported as such, the worker's duties must include dealing with the new coronavirus in, for example, laboratory activities, or caring for persons infected with COVID-19. We can all be infected by our colleagues – flu, chickenpox, stomach flu, etc. These diseases are also not reported as work-related, as they have not been caused by tasks carried out at work.

My workers do not work in health care, nursing or laboratory activities – should I report a serious incident if I believe any of my workers have been exposed to COVID-19?

No - what we mean by "serious incident" regarding the new coronavirus is primarily when something has gone wrong with the employers attempt to prevent risks in the parts of the enterprise which handles the new coronavirus (such as laboratory-work) or the ones that treats patients or people receiving care whom are ill in covid-19. 

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Last updated 2020-08-31