Understanding the Risk of COVID-19 in the Workplace

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has created a hazard recognition resource for the risk to employees from COVID-19.

OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels, ranging from very high risk to lower risk. Worker risk can depend on the industry as well as the need for contact with individuals who may be infected with COVID-19. Conditions in the communities where employees reside and work, individual health conditions, and activities outside of work may affect worker risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults and individuals with underlying conditions like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, are at risk for developing more serious complications due to COVID-19.

Lower and Medium Exposure Risk

Workers who have lower exposure risk should exercise caution. Employees in this category have little occupational contact with the public and other workers. This include remote workers, office workers (who do not have frequent close contact with others), long-distance truck drivers, and others.

Roles that require frequent and/or close contact with individuals who may be infected but are not know to have or suspected of having COVID-19 are at medium exposure risk. These workers may have frequent contact with travelers or the general public.

High and Very High Exposure Risk

Jobs with a high potential for exposure to COVID-19 include healthcare delivery and support staff, medical transport workers, and mortuary workers. Workers with specific roles related to medical, laboratory, or postmortem procedures have a very high potential for exposure. These roles include healthcare workers that are intubating COVID-19 patients or collecting specimens, laboratory workers handling COVID-19 specimens, and morgue workers performing autopsies on people who had or may have had COVID-19.

Workers may move from one exposure risk level to another throughout different tasks. Person-to-person transmission occurs during close contact with an infected individual or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. Frequent cleaning and disinfection of high-touch surfaces is recommended to help prevent the spread of the virus.

OSHA requires employers to assess the occupational hazards that their workers might be exposed to in the course of their duties. You can view OSHA Standards and Directives for COVID-19 to learn more.

If you or someone you love has been injured or exposed to COVID-19 at your place of work, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury for over 40 years. John Schuerman is a compassionate advocate for individuals who have been injured as well as for their families. He will aggressively fight for full compensation for injury victims’ claims. Schuerman Law has evening and weekend appointments available in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.