COVID-19 workplace risk assessments

Information on carrying out workplace risk assessments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Identifying hazards and evaluating risks

A risk assessment is a systematic method of looking at how work activities could increase the risk of your employees being exposed to or spreading COVID-19 while at work and deciding on suitable control measures.

These control measures should seek to eliminate, reduce or control the risks of transmission to employees and others.

You should involve employees in the risk assessment process and consult them to reach joint solutions for managing COVID-19 risks in the workplace.

Identify hazards and who might be harmed

You need to have a good understanding of how the virus transmits to be able to identify areas of concern within your organisation.

Evidence suggests that transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly through close contact with an infectious individual.  T

here are two routes by which this can occur:

  • Directly: from close contact with an infected person where respiratory secretions can enter the eyes, mouth, nose or airways. This risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person
  • Indirectly: by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching own mouth, nose or eyes.

Close contact with others (particularly indoors) represents a higher risk of transmission, therefore, it’s important to provide good ventilation and consider keeping a reasonable safe distance from others, meeting outside where possible.

If you need to read general information about the virus go to NHS inform

Evaluating the risks

When considering the risks from the virus, you should assess:

  • the likelihood of it occurring
  • how severe its consequences might be.

This will allow you to prioritise your actions and ensure your resources are being used where they are most needed. 

The likelihood will be affected by the precautions you and your workers are taking and the prevalence of the virus in your local community.