Health care and emergency response workers and
COVID-19 safety


  • Health care and emergency response workers are at the frontline of any outbreak. As such, they are exposed to hazards at a higher frequency, including:
    • Pathogen exposure
    • Long working hours
    • Psychological stress
    • Fatigue
    • Violence
  • In order to minimize risks, consideration should be given to:
    • Completing a risk assessment, to determine if appropriate controls are in place.
    • Limiting the movement of patients and limiting the access to staff, non-essential visitors and bystanders.
    • Staff, patient and public awareness on:
      • Hand hygiene
      • Respiratory etiquette (i.e. covering mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing)
      • Physical distancing (i.e. at least two meters or greater)
      • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19
    • Staff training on the proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE).
      • Staff should wear contact and droplet PPE whenever:
        • A patient responds YES to any of the following screening questions:
          • Is the patient self‐isolating? If yes, why?
          • Has the patient been to a gathering of ten people or greater in the last 14 days?
          • Are any symptoms of flu‐like illness present?
        • If a patient is unable to answer the screening questions
        • Entering a room of a patient suspected or confirmed for COVID-19 infection.
      • N95 masks should be worn during aerosol generating medical procedures.
    • A proper and sufficient supply of PPE, hand hygiene and sanitation/disinfection products.
    • Increased incident reporting through a blame free working environment.
    • Adherence to work hours and breaks.
    • Increased psychological support for staff.
    • The availability of masks, tissues and alcohol-based hand rubs at facility entrances.
    • Facility signage instructing symptomatic patients to alert staff.
    • Procedures to assess, triage and treat patients.
      • Patients suspected of having COVID-19 should be:
        • Given a procedure mask
        • If in a facility, placed in a private room