Grainger Editorial Staff
It's important for employers to understand the risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the workplace, and to implement controls to reduce exposure risk. To help employers understand the exposure risk of their workforce, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance explaining how to categorize jobs and tasks based on an exposure risk pyramid. The OHSA model includes four levels: lower risk, medium risk, high risk and very high risk.
Lower Risk (Caution):
Very High Risk:
It's important to recognize that throughout the work day, duties and tasks may change, and workers may move from one exposure risk level to another.
Hazard and Risk Assessment
Employers should perform thorough hazard and risk assessments to identify if and when their workers may face an increased risk of exposure to any and all workplace hazards, including infectious communicable diseases such as COVID-19. Appropriate control measures for COVID-19 exposure including engineering controls, administrative controls and safe work practices, and personal protective equipment (PPE) can then be put in place.
Exposure Beyond the Workplace
Occupational exposure is not the only factor that determines employees' risk of getting COVID-19. Conditions in the communities in which employees live and work also play a role in determining their exposure risk, and activities outside work (such as travel) can put employees at risk as well.
Some people have a higher risk of developing serious illness if they contract COVID-19. People who are older than 65 or who have certain health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, obesity or diabetes, may be more likely to have serious illness related to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Learn more about OSHA's guidance on recording COVID-19 cases on OSHA 300 injury and illness logs here.
OSHA COVID-19 Hazard Recognition
OSHA COVID-19 Control and Prevention
CDC People Who Are at Risk for Severe Illness
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.
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