Reducing the Risk of COVID-19

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace starts at home. Understand both work and personal factors to reduce the risk of exposure. Take steps to keep yourself and others safe at work and outside of work, and know what to do if you are exposed or have symptoms.

Reducing the Risk of COVID-19 Infographic and its text description

Infographic: Reducing the Risk of COVID-19. What you can do at work and at home

Description: Reducing the Risk of COVID-19

What you can do at work and at home

COVID-19 most commonly spreads from an infected person to another person through:

  • Close contact: breathing in someone's respiratory droplets or aerosols after they cough, sneeze, sing, shout or talk
  • Contaminated surfaces: touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands
  • Common greetings: Handshakes, hugs, kisses

Work risk factors

Close contact with others

  • Working near others where physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Working in crowded spaces
  • Prolonged contact with others
  • Working indoors in closed spaces with poor ventilation

Contact with contaminated surfaces

  • Frequent contact with surfaces touched often by others (door handles, service counters, card payment machines, tools, equipment)
  • Availability of hand hygiene stations and supplies

Personal risk factors

Are you in a high-risk group?

  • Older adults
  • Chronic medical conditions (immunocompromised)
  • Living with obesity

Engaging in high risk activities

  • Closed spaces with poor ventilation
  • Crowded spaces with large numbers of people
  • Close contact where you cannot maintain physical distancing
  • Where there is singing, shouting or heavy breathing, for example, during exercise

Keep yourself safe

  • Monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Follow advice from your local public health authority.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice physical distancing as much as possible outside the home.
  • Greet with a wave or a nod rather than a handshake, hug or kiss.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough into your elbow.
  • Wear a non-medical mask or face covering when physical distancing is not possible.

Going into work?

  • If you’re taking public transit:
    • Wear a mask
    • Sit apart from others
    • Avoid travelling during peak hours if possible.
  • Bring your lunch, coffee and snacks from home and avoid sharing food, utensils, and plates.
  • Avoid gathering in groups in breakrooms and common areas.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including your personal workspace.
  • Avoid visiting public spaces during your breaks.

If you are exposed or have symptoms

  • Do not go to work if you are sick even if your symptoms are mild.
  • Already at work? Put on a mask, tell your supervisor and go home in a private vehicle, if possible.
  • Isolate from people in your household.
  • Call your local public health authority for advice.
  • Consider getting tested.

What employers can do

  • Complete risk assessments.
  • Identify and set up prevention strategies:
    • remote work
    • Stagger start times
    • Provide good ventilation
    • Provide outdoor spaces
    • Use physical barriers
    • Limit the number of people in a space
    • Screen for symptoms
  • Monitor the success of these controls.
  • Consider changes or other steps if issues arise.
For further information on COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada

Document last updated on: 2020-10-01