Worker risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, during an outbreak may depend on the industry type and need for contact within six feet of people who are known to have, or are suspected of having, COVID-19. OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels, known as the Occupational Risk Pyramid, as shown below. Most American workers likely fall in the lower exposure risk or medium exposure risk levels.
The Occupational Risk Pyramid for COVID-19 is broken down into four risk exposure levels:
Very High Exposure Risk
Jobs with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, post-mortem, or laboratory procedures. These workers include healthcare and morgue workers performing aerosol-generating procedures or collecting specimens from patients or bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of death.
High Exposure Risk
Jobs with a high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19. Workers in this category include healthcare delivery, healthcare support, medical transport, and mortuary workers exposed to patients or bodies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of death.
Medium Exposure Risk
Jobs that require frequent or close contact with people who may be infected, but who are not known or suspected patients. Workers in this category include those who may have contact with the general public, such as schools, high-population-density work environments, and some high-volume retail settings. This also includes individuals returning from locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission.
Lower Exposure Risk (Caution)
Jobs that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.
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