For the purposes of OHSA in the workplace to which this Direction applies, the identifiable hazard relating to COVID-19 is that workers face is the virus transmission by an infected person to workers in the workplace. In workplaces to which the public has access, the hazard includes the transmission of the virus by members of the public. Each situation requires special measures to be implemented by employers in order to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Although OHSA requires employers to review and update risk assessments on a regular basis, the new hazard posed by COVID-19 is clearly identifiable and the basic measures to eliminate or minimize the risk are now well known2. The object of conducting or updating a risk assessment in respect of COVID-19 is to provide a specific focus on COVID-19 and adopt the measures required by this Direction to specific working environments taking into account the Risk Assessment Guides published online by the National Department of Health.
This Direction is based on infection transmission prevention and specific occupational hygiene practices that focus on the need for employers to implement measures to mitigate or eliminate the transmission of the virus in the workplace.