Exposure Control Planning: Integrating COVID-19

Exposure control plans have always been required, but now they are being highlighted like never before.  The clear reason Exposure Control Plans are top-of-mind now is their ability to eliminate or minimize workers’ exposure to COVID-19.  But that isn’t all it’s for.  For anyone who has to take out garbage, clean bathrooms, interact closely with the public, or clean up after anyone else, an Exposure Control Plan is there to protect them.


What is an Exposure Control Plan? 

An Exposure Control Plan (ECP) is a document (or collection of documents) for workers who handle, use, or produce an infectious material or organism OR are likely to be exposed to one at their place of employment.  The ECP outlines all the controls and protections in place to eliminate or minimize worker exposure.

What is an “Infectious Material or Organism”?

“An infectious material or organism that has been identified in an approved manner as an infectious disease hazard that poses a significantly increased exposure risk to a worker or self-employed person.”

This includes SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), as well as bloodborne pathogens and other diseases passed along through bodily fluids, such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C.

The first step in developing your Exposure Control Plan is by coming up with a clear list of hazardous tasks or tasks where exposure is possible and figuring out who from your workforce may be exposed.  Once you know what your hazards are, then you can start developing processes and procedures to help protect your workers.  Remember, the best control is to eliminate the hazard altogether, but when that can’t be done, there are numerous other options to help minimize the risk to your workers. 

As you’re developing your ECP, keep in mind that COVID-19 is only one of the infectious materials or organisms that your workers could be exposed to.  Anyone who could come into contact with blood, sharps (e.g. used needles), or other bodily fluids, has an added risk in the workplace that has existed prior to COVID-19.  These may not be the “hot topic” risks, but they remain real health and safety risks, nonetheless.

Having an Exposure Control Plan is a legal requirement from Saskatchewan’s Occupational Health & Safety Regulations (Regulation 85) for all workplaces where a worker may be exposed to infectious materials or organisms.  With the prevalence of COVID-19, this requirement has expanded significantly.

Service Hospitality has developed an outline template, as well as some accompanying resources, to help you develop your own Exposure Control Plan.  For further assistance, please contact us at [email protected].  We would be happy to answer your questions and help walk you through the process.

Exposure Control Plan Resources: 

ECP Outline

ECP Hazard Assessment

ECP Hazard Assessment Form

ECP Hazard Assessment Form – Front Desk

ECP Hazard Assessment Form – Kitchen

ECP Hazard Assessment Form – Drop-In Centre

ECP Potential Exposures by Job Duty

Exposure Control Plan Guideline

WorkSafe Saskatchewan – Conducting a Hazard Assessment and Developing An Exposure Control Plan


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