A risk assessment should be completed to determine the controls required for protecting workers against hazards in the workplace. This also applies to COVID-19. On the following page, a sample risk assessment is presented, which can be used in your workplace. In this assessment factors such as the likelihood of exposure and the consequences of exposure are considered. Likelihood of exposure can be thought of as how often an employee contacts others or surfaces, whereas the consequence of exposure can be thought of as the resulting effects from being exposed to the hazard of COVID-19. The following factors should also be considered when carrying out the risk assessment:
What are the areas of concern?
- Who could potentially be exposed?
- What tasks are we most concerned with?
- Have you considered what tools or equipment are shared?
- Have you considered common areas, such as the lunchroom, break rooms, meeting rooms, locker rooms?
How many employees could potentially be exposed?
- How many employees would normally be in a room?
- Is there enough space to allow for physical distancing?
What are the consequences of exposure?
- Given the current information available from our provincial health authorities, what are the predicted health consequences? (Insignificant, Minor, Moderate, Major, Extreme)
Refer to the Sample Risk Assessment, on the following page, to help you carry out your own risk assessment for COVID-19. It is best to have the training and knowledge in carrying out a risk assessment. Also, it is best practice to have representation from all levels of the organization, including the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or the Worker Health and Safety Representative, to complete this assessment.
The steps are:
- Identify the areas/activities/positions of concern. You can refer to the Guidance Document on
Page 6, for exposure scenarios.
- Rank the consequence and likelihood of exposure using the Risk Assessment Matrix on page 5, to determine and input the Initial Risk Rating (Very Low, Low, Medium, High, and Extreme).
- Select appropriate controls for your workplace to reduce the risk. You can refer to the Guidance Document on Page 6, for possible controls and input your selected controls into the tool.
- Re-evaluate your risk with your new controls in place. Rank the consequence and likelihood of
exposure using the Risk Assessment Matrix on Page 5, to determine and input the Residual Risk Rating (Very Low, Low, Medium, High, and Extreme).
- Is your new risk rating acceptable for your workplace?
If yes, proceed to Step 6.
If no, what additional controls can be implemented to lower the risk further.
Repeat Step 4 onwards, until an acceptable risk rating is achieved.
- Repeat the process for the remaining areas of concern.
- When all areas are completed, this document should be circulated and communicated to all employees, including the JHSC. Keep a record on file for inspection purposes.
- Ensure the completion of this assessment is documented in the minutes of the next JHSC meeting.