Coronavirus exposure risk among manufacturing workers

Coronavirus East Shore Safety

The manufacturing work environment—production or assembly lines and other areas in busy plants where workers are expected to be in close contact with other team members—may contribute substantially to workers’ potential exposures of corona virus. The risk of contracting this at work depends on several factors. Some of these factors that affect workers risk for exposure in a manufacturing environment:


  • Distance between workers – Manufacturing workers often work close to one another on production or assembly lines. Workers may also be near one another at other times, such as when clocking in or out, during breaks, or in locker/changing rooms.
  • Duration of contact – Manufacturing workers often have prolonged closeness to coworkers (e.g., for 8–12 hours per shift). Continued contact with potentially infectious individuals increases the risk of “catching it”.
  • Types of contact – Manufacturing workers may be exposed to the infectious virus when workers in a plant who have the virus cough or sneeze. It is also possible that exposure could occur from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, such as tools, workstations, tables or counters. Shared spaces such as break rooms, locker rooms, and entrances/exits to the facility may contribute to the risk.
  • Other distinctive factors that may increase risk among these workers include:
    •  Shuttle vehicles, car-pools, ride share, and public transportation
    • Frequent contact with fellow workers in community settings in areas

Create a COVID-19 assessment and control plan


A qualified workplace coordinator should be identified who will be responsible for COVID-19 assessment and control planning. This can be someone in-house with the proper training and guidance or this can be a third party consultant like East Shore Safety. All workers in the facility should know how to contact the identified coordinator with any COVID-19 concerns. Infection control and occupational safety and health plans should apply to anyone entering or working in the plant (e.g., all facility workers, contractors, and others). Facility management should reach out to state and/or local public health officials and occupational safety and health professionals and establish ongoing communications to make sure they are getting relevant and up-to-date information concerning COVID-19.


As part of these assessments, facilities should consider the appropriate role for testing and workplace contact tracing (identifying person-to-person spread of COVID-19 workers who tested positive in a work site risk assessment, following available CDC guidance.




Worker infection prevention recommendations are based on an approach known as the hierarchy of controls. This approach groups actions by their effectiveness in reducing or removing hazards. In most cases, the preferred approach is to:


  1. Eliminate a hazard or processes;
  2. Install engineering controls; and
  3. Implement appropriate cleaning, sanitation, and disinfectionpractices to reduce exposure.

Administrative controls, which are changes to the way people work, are also an important part of an approach to prevention in these workplaces.


These are all recommendations of OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control.


Let us guide you through these uncertain times. Our onsite services are limited to MA, NH, RI, CT, NY, ME but, we can provide written plans and guidance outside of this area too. Our COVID-19 services include:


  1. Written policies on COVID-19 company requirements
  2. Onsite training daily/weekly regarding COVID-19 concerns.
  3. Daily monitoring of employee’s body temperatures
  4. Verification that the employee has not had any symptoms of COVID-19 or has not come in contact with any individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19.
  5. Sitewide COVID-19 daily audit
  6. Ensure proper incident reporting and record retention.
  7. East Shore Safety provides all of these COVID-19 related services and more. We offer these services as a bundle or a la carte.
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