Hawai‘i Labor Department Identifies Jobs Most at Risk for Exposure to COVID-19

March 13, 2020, 12:34 PM HST · Updated March 13, 6:54 PM
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The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations today released information on “Classifying Worker Exposure to SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19).

The classification of risk, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), classifies workers into four categories. Worker risk of occupational exposure during an outbreak may vary from very high to high, medium, or lower (caution) risk.

“The information is to help employers determine appropriate precautions,” said DLIR Director Scott Murakami. “OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels: very high, high, medium and lower risk. Most Hawai‘i workers will likely fall in the lower exposure risk (caution) or medium exposure risk levels in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.”

Very High Exposure risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19 during specific medical, postmortem, or laboratory procedures:

  • Healthcare workers working with known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • Laboratory personnel collecting or handling specimens from known or suspected COVID-19 patients.
  • Morgue workers performing autopsies of people who are known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19 at the time of their death.
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High Exposure Risk jobs are those with high potential for exposure to known or suspected sources of COVID-19:

  • Healthcare delivery and support staff
  • Medical transport workers
  • Mortuary workers

Medium exposure risk jobs include those that require frequent and/or close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact be with the general public (e.g., in schools, high-population-density work environments, and some high-volume retail settings).

Lower exposure risk (caution) jobs are those that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor frequent close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) the general public.

The DLIR has posted a COVID-19 Workplace Updates page at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/get-the-latest-covid-19-workplace-updates/.

OSHA’s COVID-19 page at: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/.

OSHA’s “Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” publication: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf.

The DLIR’s worker classification bulletin is posted at: https://labor.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Classifying-Worker-Exposure.pdf.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. The Hawaiʻi Occupational Safety and Health Division’s (HIOSH) role is to ensure these conditions for Hawaiʻi’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

 

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