Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Enterprise risk management, often shortened to ERM, is a type of process management strategy that seeks to identify, understand, and prepare for the kinds of dangers, hazards, and other potential deviations from standard operating procedures that could be perceived as risks.

“The culture, capabilities, and practices, integrated with strategy-setting and performance, that organizations rely on to manage risk in creating, preserving, and realizing value.”

As well as identifying risks, the practice of enterprise risk management also involves making the preparations for dealing with these risks and deciding prioritization over multiple active or potential risks. Plans, policies, and procedures for risk management should be made available as widely as possible; shareholders, stakeholders, investors, and other relevant interested parties should all have clear, direct access as part of documented information or regular reports.

How can people assess the risk for exposure to COVID-19 in their workplace and plan for preventive measures?

Managers with the support of an occupational health and safety advisor should carry out rapid risk assessments to determine the possibility of exposure risk in order to put in place preventive measures. This should be done for each specific work setting and each job.

  • Low exposure risk

Jobs or work without frequent, close contact with the general public or others. Workers in this group have minimal occupational contact with the public and other co-workers. Examples of such jobs may include remote workers (i.e., working from home), office workers without frequent close contact with others and workers providing teleservices.

  • Medium exposure risk

Jobs or tasks with close, frequent contact with the general public or others. This risk level may apply to workers who have frequent and close contact with the people in high-population-density work environments (ex. food markets, bus stations, public transport, and other work activities where physical distancing of at least 6 feet may be difficult to observe), or tasks that require close and frequent contact between co-workers. This may also include frequent contact with people returning from areas with community transmission. Examples of such jobs may include frontline workers in retail, home deliveries, accommodation, construction, police and security, public transport, and water and sanitation.

What additional measures should be taken at workplaces and for jobs at medium risk?

Workplaces for jobs at medium risk require daily cleaning and disinfection at least two times a day of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including all shared rooms, surfaces, floors, bathrooms, and changing rooms. Consider suspending any activity where physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be implemented in full. If this is not possible, increase ventilation, implement enhanced regular hand hygiene, and require staff to wear appropriate face masks, goggles, gloves and work clothes during cleaning procedures that generate splashes, providing training on their use. Organize changing and washing of work clothes at the workplace, so that workers to do take them home.  

  • High exposure risk

Jobs or tasks with close contact with people who may be more likely to have COVID-19, as well as contact with objects and surfaces possibly contaminated with the virus. Examples include transporting people known or suspected to have COVID-19 without separation between the driver and the passenger, providing domestic services or home care for people with COVID-19, and having contact with the deceased who were known or suspected of having COVID-19 at the time of their death. Jobs that may fall under this category include domestic workers, social care workers, personal transport and home delivery providers and home repair technicians (plumbers, electricians) who provide services in the homes of people with COVID-19.

What additional measures should be taken at workplaces and for jobs at high risk?

In work areas at high risk, assess the possibility of suspending the activity; enhance regular hand hygiene; provide medical masks, disposable gowns, gloves, and eye protection for workers who must work in the homes of people who are suspected or known to have COVID-19; train workers in infection prevention and control practices and use of personal protective equipment; avoid assigning tasks with high risk to workers who have pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant, or older than 60 years of age.


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Who should carry out the workplace risk assessment?

Employers and managers, in consultation with workers, should carry out and regularly update the risk assessment for work-related exposure to COVID-19, preferably with the support of occupational health services.

For each risk assessment, consider the environment, the task, the threat, resources available, such as personal protective equipment, and the feasibility of protective measures. The risk assessment should also extend to collective accommodation provided by the employer for workers, such as dormitories.  Essential public services, such as security and police, food retail, accommodation, public transport, deliveries, water and sanitation, and other frontline workers may be at an increased risk of exposure to occupational hazards for health and safety. Workers who may be at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness because of age or pre-existing medical conditions should be considered in the risk assessment for individuals.

How should employers decide when to open, close or re-open workplaces and/or suspend or downscale work activities?

Deciding to close or re-open a workplace or suspend or downscale work activities should rely on the risk assessment, the capacity to put in place protective measures and the level of compliance, and recommendations of national authorities.

What’s your Risk Plan, Hazard Vulnerability, Assessment and Evaluation?

To assess hazards, risk managers follow these five steps:

  1. Identify exposures to risk
  2. Assess the frequency and severity of these exposures
  3. Identify alternative approaches (including process improvements)
  4. Choose an alternative and implement it
  5. Monitor the implementation and adjust as needed

Internal and external Audits, new Employee check list, annual employee training, corporate and regulatory compliance and building an ERM Framework by identifying, responding and monitoring your processes.

Contact CEC Resource and start protecting your business, resources and investments our professionally trained ERM consultants will investigate the potential for automating aspects of your ERM system.