Covid-19 Testing in the Workplace
In order to protect individual people, families, work colleagues and communities, it is sometimes very important to actively look for cases of Covid-19. Some people who are infectious might not have any symptoms at all (asymptomatic) or their symptoms might be so mild as to be almost unnoticeable. This characteristic of Covid-19 infection makes it difficult to prevent spread of infection and protect people.
Active case finding helps us to pick up unknown cases of infection who might cause "invisible" spread of infection and for us to put in protective measures.
If you are in a group that is being offered testing, your results will be notified to us. This is because if you are positive, the result is notifiable under infectious diseases legislation so we can investigate each case and ensure measures to prevent spread of Covid-19 are in place. If your result indicates you do not have infection, we are informed because this information is necessary for us to make a risk assessment of the situation so that we can protect the health of yourself, as well as others, most effectively.
When we receive results, we try to ensure that you are informed as quickly as possible. We use various methods to achieve this, usually including text messages, emails and/or phone calls. This is why it is so important that we have accurate contact details for you and that you are able to answer your phone, read texts or access emails quickly.
If we are carrying out tests in the context of a workplace outbreak, we will need to work with the occupational health service at the workplace if there is one available, so that urgent exclusion of Covid-19 positive staff and contact tracing at work is carried out. If there is no occupational health service we will need to inform the HR department in the workplace to carry out the same urgent public health actions. We will always try to inform the person before the workplace but if we cannot inform the person quickly, we must still go ahead and protect employees without delay. During Covid-19 it is very important we work quickly to try and prevent avoidable cases of Covid-19 and break chains of transmission.
All of this work is carried out under the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 as amended.
Of note, the workplace also has legislative responsibilities to their employees under SAFETY, HEALTH AND WELFARE AT WORK (BIOLOGICALAGENTS) REGULATIONS 2013.