The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.
Below are some examples of jobs which are classified as Low, Medium, and High Risk amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Lower Exposure Risk (Caution): Lower exposure risk (caution) jobs are those that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor frequent close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) the general public. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.
Medium Exposure Risk: Medium exposure risk jobs include those that require frequent and/or close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas without ongoing community transmission, workers in this risk group may have frequent contact with travelers who may return from international locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact with the general public (e.g., schools, high-population-density work environments, some high-volume retail settings).
High Exposure Risk: High exposure risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Workers in this category include:
■ Healthcare delivery and support staff (e.g., doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who must enter patients’ rooms) exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 patients. (Note: when such workers perform aerosol-generating procedures, their exposure risk level becomes very high.)
■ Medical transport workers (e.g., ambulance vehicle operators) moving known or suspected COVID-19 patients in enclosed vehicles. (some examples).
The OSHA COVID-19 webpage provides additional information about OSHA standards and requirements, including
requirements in states that operate their own OSHA-approved State Plans, recordkeeping requirements and injury/illness recording criteria, and applications of standards related to sanitation and communication of risks related to hazardous chemicals that may be in common sanitizers and sterilizers. See: www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html.