Last reviewed 31 July 2020

The British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) has launched a new job rating tool for risk professionals to select the most appropriate measures to help employers protect workers from Covid-19 at work.

Developed by academics and industry experts, the approach is designed to help those undertaking the difficult task of selecting and implementing Covid-19 control measures and looking at risk.

The risk analysis tool is designed for use by occupational hygienists and others, to look at all the means that can be used to protect workers from Covid-19.

The tool is based on a set of occupational groups — initially selected to represent key workers, but now expanded somewhat to include a wide variety of other jobs such as nail bar workers, lecturers and gym staff for example.

Although not every job has been covered, the Society hopes that the range of occupational groups selected will enable those using the tool to find a description analogous to their situation.

Control options are colour coded from green through to yellow, then orange and then red, and linked to exposure rankings.

Given the variety and complexity of workplaces, the matrix aims to provide a baseline set of measures, risk evaluations, and occupational types to help decision-makers make balanced decisions and decide on reasonable precautions.

BOHS President Kelvin Williams warned that Covid-19 will be a feature of workplaces for a long time.

Cautioning against too great an emphasis on personal protective equipment (PPE) alone in the workplace, the Society’s President has called for “a preventative approach, as successfully used for other occupational exposures, built on good occupational hygiene practice”.

Kevin Bampton, CEO of BOHS, added, “We believe that this risk matrix can help experts make the judgements not only needed to save lives, but also to save jobs.”

The tool is available for download via the BOHS website.