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Recommendations following article assessing healthcare worker risk during the pandemic

The role of occupational risk assessments in reducing risks to healthcare staff amid the coronavirus pandemic has been highlighted in an article involving the Director of ARC East Midlands.

Professor Kamlesh Khunti and colleagues from ARC Northwest London assessed risk for NHS staff as the world battles COVID-19.

The researchers outlined a simple framework with principles for assessing and managing COVID-19 risk in healthcare settings. They describe a pragmatic approach that may be incorporated into existing risk procedures and be used as an aid to decision making. Several frameworks are currently in use in various NHS contexts, and they can be adapted to suit other healthcare settings.

According to the framework published by the BMJ, the researchers found that:

  • In addition to risk factors for severe COVID-19 identified across broader populations, such as older age and male sex, data from the UK and the US have shown that healthcare staff of ethnic minority backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19
  • Risk assessment of the workplace, workforce, and individual can help reduce potential workplace hazards for all staff, regardless of ethnicity
  • Individuals who are at greatest risk of adverse outcomes from infection may need adjustments to their roles

According to the researchers, the pandemic has created an opportunity to improve safety in the workplace beyond COVID-19, to consider cultural factors, and to ensure that all staff feel included and supported to raise concerns. 

How such processes have been conducted should also be evaluated to help improve risk management in the current pandemic and in any similar events in future, they said.

To access the article, click here.

Published on: 8 Sep 2021