The OHCOW Workplace COVID-19 Risk Management (Control Banding) Framework has adapted the OSHA Risk Levels into a control banding matrix to help support decisions on risk management.
The US Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has simplified the process by assigning risk levels to different jobs and assigning controls based on the risk level which is described in more detail in:
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic (OSHA, 2009).
- OSHA Guidance on Hazard Recognition and Classifying Risk of Worker Exposure to SARS-COV-2 (OSHA, 2020).
- OSHA Guidance on Control and Prevention (OSHA, 2020).
- OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work (OSHA, 2020).
The guidance provided by OSHA, for each risk level, has been aligned (as an 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).
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 following infographic has been provided as 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.
In addition the British Occupational Hygiene Society, the Chartered Society for Worker Health Protection and a leading scientific voice on the prevention of exposures to health hazards at work, has drawn together academics and industry experts to develop a tool to be used by occupational hygienists and others to look at all the means that can be used to protect key workers from COVID-19.