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Everything About COVID Risk Assessment Tools for the Workplace

A covid risk assessment tool is used to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace and public spaces where people gather. The tool allows employers to create a safe workplace, prevent the spread of the infection and educate what to do in such situations. Read on to find out how a COVID risk assessment tool can help your organization.

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What is a COVID Risk Assessment Tool?


Since the start of the global pandemic, a COVID-19 risk assessment tool should be part of any health and safety program of a workplace. It is a guideline for employers to identify where, how, and how often workers are at risk of COVID-19 in the workplace and what to do in case of an employee infection.


For effective health and safety management, a complete risk assessment for COVID should at least include the following three parts:


  1. Identification of the different COVID-19 hazards workers can be exposed to.
  2. Assessing how likely it is that workers will be exposed to these hazards.
  3. Prevention of COVID exposure and removal or mitigation of the risks by creating barriers and implementing safe work procedures.

In order to complete these steps, it is important to note in the document that employers should consider the following before and during any risk assessment:


  • Physical layout of the workspace, especially areas that have public access
  • Workplace facilities
  • Tasks performed at the workplace
  • People that workers will come in contact with
  • Health screening results, vaccine status, symptoms, etc. of workers

Employers should regularly review and update their risk assessment as situations and circumstances change continuously, new regulations are being set as the pandemic progresses and it is important to comply in order to keep everyone safe.



In this article, you will learn:


1. The exposure risks of workers to COVID-19


2. How to prevent and control COVID in the workplace


3. How a tool can help monitor COVID in the workplace



Coworkers with masks in office keeping a distance

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The 4 Exposure Risk Levels to COVID-19 At The Workplace


An employee’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 depends on several factors, such as the location of the workplace, the type of work, the general health of the workers, and the protective equipment they use. Aside from work conditions, the communities where they live and the activities they do after work should also be put into consideration in order to protect everyone as effectively as possible.


Using the above considerations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration {OSHA} has divided tasks into four risk levels: low, medium, high, and very high, which you can use as guidelines and for orientation purposes.


1. LOW EXPOSURE RISK


Work that is classified as low exposure risk generally refers to jobs or tasks that do not require close contact with other people. This still means that these workers need to be as careful and vigilant as possible, but that they need only follow the basic rules of COVID-19 safety and hygiene. Workers that belong to this group include:


  • Healthcare workers that conduct telemedicine services
  • Workers in a work-from-home set up
  • Office workers who don't have a close contact with other workers

2. MEDIUM EXPOSURE RISK


Workers who have frequent or sustained contact with other people in areas where transmission is most likely to occur are exposed to a medium COVID-19 infection risk. They can still contract the virus and need to be careful, however, while they may be bound by stricter rules and testing they are only moderately endangered at the workplace. Examples of these workers include:


  • Workers who live in shared housing facilities
  • People working in the retail, food, and transportation industries
  • People living in well-ventilated spaces or outdoors, such as production and construction workers

3. HIGH EXPOSURE RISK


Workers who have a high potential of exposure to people suspected of having COVID-19 are counted toward the third OSHA mandated risk level. They need to be most vigilant in their workplaces These people include:


  • Medical transport workers like ambulance drivers
  • Healthcare workers who must enter COVID patients' room
  • People who handle dead bodies of people who died of COVID
  • Workers working working closely with each other in poorly ventilated workplaces

4. VERY HIGH EXPOSURE RISK


Any job where workers are exposed to people with known or suspected COVID infection, are included in the high risk exposure category. Here it is important that employees and employers both take care to instruct appropriately, wear protective equipment and go home as soon as they show signs of being sick. This category includes workers employed in such professions as:


  • Performing autopsies of people who have or are suspected of having COVID-19
  • Handling specimen collection of people who have or are suspected of having COVID.
  • Taking care of or performing medical procedures on people who are known to have or are suspected of having COVID


Two Coworkers 1,5 metres apart in office

Controlling and Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace


OSHA has provided several guidelines on how to mitigate COVID. These include putting engineering and administrative controls in place among others. The closer you follow the rules and regulations, the safer you can keep your workforce and cour operations, although there is of course never a guarantee that the infection won’t run an unexpected course. In that case it is helpful to plan ahead, be mindful and prepared and always have preventive measures in place for maximum preparedness and workplace safety.


1. Engineering Controls


Engineering controls refer to the act of instating physical changes in the workplace that protect employees from hazards. Some examples include installing barriers like plexiglass between employees and customers, or even between employees themselves, depending on the workspace. Any modification to the workplace is therefore referred to as engineering controls and is used to keep workers as far away from each other as possible without affecting the work they are performing.


2. Administrative Controls


These controls include changing procedures and policies in the workplace to make sure tasks are performed safely. Some examples of administrative control include:


    Post signs to remind workers and customers to place enough distance between each other
  • Limiting the number of employees to go on duty in the facility.
  • Providing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) and reminding them to always wear it.
  • Conduct training to keep workers informed.
  • Instating home-office regulations
  • Keeping lists of everyone present in the workplace
  • Enforcing regular testing on site
  • Make employees wear masks whenever they’re not at their desks
  • Schedule distanced lunch times

Covid and its full impact is still largely to be determined by new variants, infection risks and many other factors. To practice caution and keep everyone safe to the best of your knowledge and ability should always be your number one priority in these uncertain times.



How to Effectively Monitor COVID in the Workplace


Lumiform is your partner in keeping your workplace and your people safe from COVID. Our dynamic and intuitive forms will keep you on top of your COVID prevention plan in the workplace and permit you to take precautionary steps wherever possible and necessary.


With our COVID risk assessment checklists that are designed for different industries you can use checklists to:

Further, you can use the Lumiform app to create and design your own checklists which has many advantages, such as:





Coworkers in a socially distanced meeting according to covid protocols

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