Diseases, infections and allergies in the workplace

Handling an outbreak of infection or disease in the workplace


If your business is hit by an outbreak of disease or infection, your first step should be to seek expert advice on how to deal with it.

Reporting outbreaks

There are a range of infectious diseases that, by law, you must report to your local authority if an outbreak is suspected. A doctor who makes the diagnosis must make this report. This applies even if the diagnosis is suspected rather than confirmed.

Some diseases are very infectious and present a problem for public health, such as TB or blood borne viruses. You must report these to the Public Health Agency. In these cases, contact the Public Health Agency on Tel:  0300 555 0114 and ask for the "Duty Room" for their advice. 

You must report diseases caused by work to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI). Examples include:

  • hand-arm vibration
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • chemical poisoning
  • chrome ulceration

You are required to do this by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). You can download the reportable diseases under RIDDOR (PDF, 694K). You can also see first aid, accidents and ill-health for more information about reporting incidents to HSENI.

Minimising disruption

An outbreak of disease may be highly disruptive to your business. To minimise the impact, you should put business continuity procedures in place. For more information, see business continuity and crisis management.