Is your workplace doing enough to control the biological hazards associated with COVID-19 and influenza in order to mitigate the risks to your customers, workers, and bottom line? Conducting a job hazard analysis (JHA) is the most effective way to assess the severity of the risk posed by a potential virus outbreak in order to get effective hazard controls in place.
Using a JHA to Identify Biological Hazards
Viruses are workplace hazards and they pose a risk to the safety of your workers, clients, and to the health of your business. In some industries, there may be a higher risk of exposure to viruses, and exposure may result in a more severe or serious outcome. Completing a JHA form to identify and assess risks associated with viruses can help your Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) recommend effective hazard controls.
You don’t have to start from scratch. Download a FREE JHA template today!
To complete the JHA:
- Start by creating a list of tasks associated with the job
- Then, list the potential hazards associated with each task. Don’t forget exposure to viruses!
- Next, rate the severity and probability
To guide you in determining severity and probability, ask yourself the following questions:
- How likely is it that employees will be exposed to COVID-19 or a cold and influenza virus?
- Do employees work with members of public?
- Is the organization part of the healthcare sector?
- Does the organization care for members of the vulnerable sector (elderly, children, immune-compromised, etc.)?
- Would exposure to viruses, or contracting a virus, result in rapid spread of the virus?
- Would wide-spread exposure or illness impact the organization? Is my organization prepared to operate with less staff in the event of a pandemic?
Calculating the Risk
Once you’ve determined the severity and probability, calculate the risk:
Probability x Severity = Risk
The higher the risk, the more urgently a control is needed.
Controlling COVID-19 Hazards
While the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Canada is currently low, being prepared will ensure the continued success of your organization should the risk intensify. There are ways to protect workers, those who patronize your business, and your bottom line.
Protect your Workers
- Provide PPE such as masks, gloves, gowns, and face shields if the exposure risk necessitates
- Situate employees who serve the public behind glass or plastic guards
- Give employees access to antibacterial hand soaps and sanitizers
- Encourage ill employees to stay home until they are well
- Enforce proper handwashing techniques and require employees to wash their hands after sneezing or coughing · Provide training aimed at reducing biological hazards
Protect your Clientele
- Keep frequently touched surfaces clean and sanitized
- Consider increasing the frequency of your cleaning schedule
- If an employee reports to work under the weather, ensure that they do not serve customers, or send them home if they are too ill to work
- Make public hand sanitizer stations available throughout your business
- Post a policy reminding clients to reschedule appointments if they’re feeling ill
Protect your Bottom Line
- Plan ahead for a pandemic or a state of emergency
- Ensure that your organization is prepared to continue operations with reduced staff in the case of a mass illness
- Conduct a hazard analysis in order to assess the potential risks of COVID-19 and other cold and flu viruses
- Remember that the health of your workers is more important than any production goals or sales targets
Best Safety Training Can Help
Best Safety Training offers consulting services. We can help you conduct a JHA and put an emergency preparedness plan in place. We also offer JHA training solutions, and training aimed at reducing biological hazards.
To get you started, we are giving away a FREE JHA template.