COVID is Airborne!
COVID-19 and its variants will be a factor in our lives for the long-term. As an airborne virus it is highly transmissable. OHCOW provides a collection of resources to assist workers and workplaces in the prevention of virus transmission. Symptoms of Covid can range from mild to severe, in the worst cases requiring hospitalization and intubation.
There are many layers of protection against airborne transmission that are recommended:
- COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots
- the use of N95 masks in indoor public settings, especially anyone at higher risk
- good ventilation in indoor settings
- frequent testing and staying home when ill
- covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing
Below are multi-media resources that address the nature of COVID-19 and prevention measures, both from from OHCOW's internal archive and external partners. For further information, go to the Ontario government's page on COVID-19 and workplace health and safety and Public Health Ontario's information on COVID and preventing viral transmission.
Managing Mixed Immunity and Related Infection Risks
October 6, 2023
Dr. Dawn Bowdish discusses Covid-19 in the workforce, vaccination vs. natural immunity, and more in this recent Occ-Covid webinar.
General Resources: Webinars and More
View the following resources to learn more about COVID-19 Transmission and Exposure Control. The list is mainly recorded webinars from the Occ-Covid Conversations series, but also includes external websites, graphics and info sheets, apps and tools, and other materials.
The following infographics are provided to help simplify the messaging around what can be done to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Post them in your workplace to help get the message out.
Workplace Risk Management
Working During a Pandemic
As the risk for infection gets higher, for higher risk jobs, such as health care workers (HCW) working in close proximity to COVID19 patients; it is even more important that more emphasis be placed on increased ventilation.
The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has simplified the risk management process by assigning risk levels to different jobs and assigning controls based on the risk level which is described in more detail in the links below. The guidance provided by OSHA, for each risk level, has been aligned in the infographic with the hierarchy of controls (HOCs) to reinforce that higher order control (such as ventilation) are even more important when managing the risk of infection from an aerosol transmissible disease (SARS-COV-2).
The OHCOW Workplace COVID-19 Risk Management (Control Banding) Matrix infographic has adapted the OSHA Risk Levels into a control banding matrix to help support decisions on risk management.
This infographic is a “communication and education tool”, to highlight that “higher order controls” are in fact much more effective than personal protective equipment and that the degree of infection protection control (IPC) should be commensurate with the level of risk.
It can be used along with OHCOW Regional Risk Tool and Tips which provides “additional practical advice” which in addition incorporates “community transmission” which should be considered in the occupational health risk assessment.
Workplace COVID-19 Risk Management (Control Banding) Matrix
From OSHA and International Resources
Pandemic Experience and Impact
Pandemic Experience Surveys
OHCOW conducted two surveys over the course of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Round two of the general workers survey is ongoing. Share your pandemic work experience, by taking part in the survey using the survey buttons below:
Survey of HEALTHCARE WORKERS' Experiences During the COVID-19 Pandemic
OHCOW workplace stress experts, along with several academic and labour partners, have developed a survey to measure The Experiences of a Healthcare Worker During a Pandemic. It is based on a number of scientifically-recognized questions that measure different aspects of job-related psychosocial conditions, along with symptoms related to intense stressful conditions and mood disorders.
Survey of WORKERS' Experiences
During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Building on the success of the Healthcare Worker Pandemic Experience Survey*, OHCOW and its partners have now created and launched a more “generic” Survey of Workers’ Experiences During a Pandemic to recognize the impact that working during the COVID-19 pandemic is having on all workers in the province (country and world).
*which already has more than 3500 respondents
Watch the presentations that reveal the results of these two highly insightful surveys:
Working From Home
Given the new normal of businesses and government striving to maintain services while reinforcing critical physical distancing, more and more Ontarians are working from home.
OHCOW ergonomists offer a few tips in the following documents on taking the time to set up a proper workstation to improve health, safety, and even productivity, which is better for everyone.
Respirators and Protective Equipment
With the wide variety of masks, face shields and respirators available on the market today, we are providing some resources to help you make an informed selection.
Use the pagination dots above to view all resources.
Research and Science
OHCOW has been working with various labour and academic partners using surveys to capture pandemic workers' experience (in healthcare, essential workers, working from home, and educators). We have also been involved in demonstrating the science behind aerosol transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the measures need to protect workers and workplaces. We have also invited various experts and researchers to share their knowledge regarding the pandemic during numerous online and archived webinars.
Use the pagination dots above to view all resources
Agricultural Work and Covid-19
Working Together to Communicate Important COVID-19 Prevention Information to the Ontario Agricultural Sector
COVID19 introduces serious and complex health and safety challenges for the arrival, isolation and work of temporary foreign workers in Ontario agriculture, particularly in regard to healthcare capacity, public and occupational health, and workplace communication and coordination for this disconnected population, made more vulnerable by high-density housing.
OHCOW Migrant Farm Worker Program (MFWP) staff continue to collaborate with employers, workers, partners and stakeholders and offer experience and support to contribute to frontline planning, preparedness and response. Visit our Migrant Farm Workers page for more details on this program
From Our Partners, et al.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
Respiratory Protection Against Airborne Infectious Agents for Health Care Workers
Respirators - Respirators Versus Surgical Masks Versus Non-medical Masks
Good Hygiene Practices - Reducing the Spread of Infections and Viruses
Government of Ontario
Develop your COVID-19 workplace safety plan
Manufacturing health and safety during COVID-19
Agriculture health and safety during COVID-19
Food manufacturing and processing health and safety during COVID-19
Restaurant and food services health and safety during COVID-19
COVID-19: self-isolation and return to work
Meal and break periods at work during COVID-19
Construction site health and safety during COVID-19
ELECTRICAL SAFETY FOUNDATION International (ESFi)
Electrical Safety While Working from Home