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Covid-19 Incident Reporting at the Workplace

As businesses prepare to open their workspaces amidst Covid-19, they must exercise extreme caution to prevent an outbreak from happening on their premises. However, should an outbreak still occur, businesses must have a robust Covid-19 response team to handle the crises and prevent further spread. A COVID-19 incident management plan can help achieve this.
This blog highlights ways to achieve effective incident reporting and management.

How Does a Covid-19 Incident Management System Help

Covid-19 Incident Reporting system helps keep track of Covid-19 cases and act immediately as per guidelines specified by public health organizations. When an incident is reported, a host of things need to be done promptly. These include operational compliances, monitoring workspace safety and ensuring continuity of business by keeping a back-up of alternative arrangements.

Besides, one needs to adhere to regulations in the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Health Insurance Probability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Also, businesses must follow guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other state and local authorities. This can add one more layer of complexity for companies with multi-state and multi-national operations. A Covid-19 response management tool that manages risk at a multi-layered level across functions, geographies, and regulations can significantly help to handle all of this.

Best Practices for an Effective Covid-19 Incident Management at Work 

This section highlights some of the best practices for incident management at work.

Building the Right Teams 

A crisis like Covid-19 can have an impact on every part of the business. Therefore, it is necessary to involve every stakeholder in the company from senior management to support staff. A strong understanding between cross-functional teams is required to ensure a positive outcome. Every member of the team, from executive leadership down—should know who is doing what.

Following three key participants are at the heart of any crisis response:

  • Public relations and communications teams: They are responsible for developing and delivering the organization’s messaging internally and externally. These are
  • Legal and regulatory teams: Their role is to understand the organization’s risk exposures and advise on appropriate responses.
  • Operational response teams: They primarily handle everything else – including establishing the facts that the other two groups need to do their jobs.

Achieving close collaboration between the communications, legal, and operational teams can be difficult as they often work independently. A crisis management tool or application with dedicated workflows and processes can help these teams to collaborate effectively.

Incident Reporting  

In a crisis like this incident, reporting is very critical. Incident reports for Covid-19 can be triggered in a variety of different ways. An employee or their manager may report the incident, a customer or vendor may trigger one, or some companies may even have automated detection systems like automated temperature meters. Employees need an easy and accessible incident management reporting system to quickly report the matter and notify the concerned teams to set them in action. A tool that lets employee log incidents proves to be very useful in managing and controlling the spread of the infection.

Types of Concerns to Report  

Businesses must have the ability for staff, contractors, and even visitors to report incidents or suspected situations where there could be a risk of Covid-19 in the workplace. An incident reporting tool with specific incident report forms can be very useful in capturing and reporting such situations.

Some of the incidents that need reporting are listed below:

  • An employee tests Covid-19 positive
  • An employee has Covid-19 like symptoms
  • An employees' family member has tested positive for Covid-19
  • An employee was exposed to a Covid-19 positive patient
  • An employee encounters someone in the office with Covid-19 like symptoms
  • An employee has traveled and needs self-quarantine
  • An employee observes that adequate hygiene protocols are not being followed in the office
  • Social distancing not being followed
  • Visitors not compiling to Covid-19 guidelines

Deploying Appropriate Response Triggers  

As soon as an incident is reported, it should be directed to the right team, and the next actions should set in. An automated system that categorizes incidents and alerts the respective teams as per the nature of the incident proves to be very useful.

Contact Tracing  

Contact tracing is the next important component of the response management. Contact tracing can break the chains of transmission of the coronavirus disease, and is essential for controlling further outbreaks. Contact tracing by logging employee’s daily contacts can reduce notification time in case of an outbreak.

Who is a Contact?  

A digital contact tracing application can be deployed to capture data on cases and contacts and help improve the efficiency of manual contact tracing. The CDC has set a preliminary criteria for the evaluation of Digital Contact Tracing Tools for Covid-19. This can help in selecting the right tool. For more information, read our blog on Contact Tracing here.


A thorough and predefined sanitization should automatically kick start as per approved industry standards. CDC recommends disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against Covid-19.Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is essential. If EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, CDC recommends using alternative disinfectants (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products--this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.

Business Continuity Planning  

A specific business continuity plan to ensure operational readiness is crucial. Tools like Microsoft Teams can help significantly in managing crises by gives response teams and decision makers the support they need to know what’s happening, collaborate quickly, make better decisions, and enact the right plans to take action when it counts most. In addition tools like Power BI can help build, intuitive dashboards and reports that present information across multiple locations and teams.
Following images shows how reporting tools can give a quick overview .

Reporting Back-to-work  

Incident management should also have a reporting back-to-work policy to help returning employees resume their duties. Prominent industry organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) have collectively arrived at Employee Health and Safety (EHS) guidelines specific to Covid-19 for organizations. The instructions are to ensure a safe return to work and making every workspace safe or 'Covid-19 compliant.' Read more on this topic here.

Using Technology For Incident Management  

Incident reporting and management become straightforward with the help of technology. Tools like AQL's Covid-19 Rapid Response application put technology to work during the COVID-19 pandemic with workflow apps and resources to accelerate your crisis response. A feature-rich web-based application built on the Microsoft platform AQL's Covid-19 Response application is compatible with Office 365, Azure, and Power platform. Supported by a desktop and mobile self-service portal, the application thoroughly addresses employers' and employees' concerns about Covid-19.

The following are a few key highlights of how the tool can be used for incident reporting and response.

  • Customization: The application can be completely customized as per an organization's workflows and policies. Absence policies, work-handover policies and procedures can be customized using the tool.
  • Portal: The application serves as a portal to disseminate important information across different locations. Newsflashes, policy changes, and incident reporting can be effectively done via the portal.
  • Dashboard: A feature-rich intuitive dashboard gives a quick view of information. The dashboard is capable of showing the status of affected employees based on geographies, teams and offices.
  • Contact Tracing: Designed and developed to track and maintain all Covid-19 employee concerns, AQL's Covid Response Application (CRA) helps business continuity. The CRA can notify first and second level contacts immediately through SMS, Teams notification, and email if a Covid-19 case is reported.
  • Team on-site Scheduling: Onsite and remote schedules can be effectively managed using the tool. The team-on-site scheduling feature also becomes critical to ensure work continuity when an employee reports sick.
  • Operational assistance: Different operational activities can be automated using the tool. For example, an employee can send a trigger in case he runs out of sanitizers at work.
  • Transparency: Communication and notification across the organization is simplified with the application helping businesses to follow complete transparency.

AQL's Covid-19 rapid response tool simplifies incident management and reporting. It helps you address the unique response mechanisms to the Covid-19 crises. To know more about the application, write to us today at reachit@aqltech.com or visit our website aqltech.com.