FedEE Viral Risk Categories

Categorisation of Jobs According to Vulnerability to COVID-19

In many countries there is a requirement to send staff home to help avoid infection and, in some cases, the law allows employees themselves to choose whether they wish to work remotely. However, this does not suit all jobs. In the highest risk fields – such as the care of those diagnosed with COVID-19 or in quarantine – there is no alternative but to being exposed, even with full body protection, to some risk of contracting the infection. 

FedEE has developed a simple approach to the classification of jobs subject to different levels of inherent viral risk. This may be a useful basis around which:

  • To undertake job redesign,
  • To determine who can be asked to work from home,
  • To shape policies concerning risk avoidance and,
  • To provide a language allowing HR professionals to discuss the problem in practical terms.
The most vulnerable group are those in category one, but those in lower categories may, at times, be subject to equal levels of exposure and risk.


FedEE Job Categories

Category 1: Jobs requiring high, regular exposure to those with infection or potential infection. Examples – medical personnel with front-line diagnosis and care accountabilities, other health workers undertaking screening, laboratory analysis, doctors reception duties or those undertaking work in the ambulance services, police officers, security personnel at airports, cabin crew on airlines and welfare workers.

Category 2: Jobs requiring necessary and fairly constant (50%+) face-to face human interaction to the public in general that cannot be avoided. For them work is mainly indoors (or confined spaces), but where some physical separation may be possible, een in client-facing positions. Examples – bank telling staff, public authorities first line officers, receptionists, sales representatives (where clients are not contactable remotely), public transport and taxi drivers, public health inspectors, retailing assistants, factory workers in labour intensive sectors, training coaches and lecturers, restaurant and hotel workers, call centre managers, media presenters, market research interviewers (public surveys), HR managers.

Category 3: Jobs involving a significant amount of regular indoor human contact (15%-50%), and where contact cannot be avoided – often due to the need to interact with others where a failure of electronic communications would render the job ineffective, physical examination of operations is essential, distant supervision would be too inadequate, or where there is a need to operate equipment tha cannot be accessed from a home, or other distant location. Examples: Senior managers, call centre personnel (in self-contained and air conditioned workspaces), repair/service workers sharing vehicles, professionals in private offices, lawyers, IT support workers, designers, crafts workers and researchers working in teams where the output is physical in nature, management consultants, share and commodity traders, airport ground staff, caretakers.

Category 4: Jobs requiring regular human contact, but predominantly out of doors and where distant direct communication is possible. Building workers, farm and forestry workers, park attendants and groundsmen, road maintenance workers, sports coaches, landscape architects, surveyors, electricity supply crews, on-call veterinary surgeons.

Category 5: Jobs of a predominantly clerical or professional nature, where most communications can be made by telephone, email, text, messaging, social media, collaborative online tools or video conferencing. Face-to face human contact is usually confined to less than 15% of an employee’s working time. Examples: Most office and administrative jobs, IT design and programming, legal due diligence, desk journalists/content providers, statistical/market analysts, telephonists, commercial graphic designers, town and country planners (some in category 4), inventors, cartographers, online retailers, helpline personnel (non-call centre).

It is envisaged that these categories will be adapted over time and perhaps additional categories added.

DISCLAIMER: This document is for general guidance only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to be complete or exhaustive.  The contents are updated on a daily basis and we advise returning regularly for relevant updates. Although we try to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date, all users should seek legal advice before taking, or refraining from taking, any action and no liability is accepted for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in this document.

Copyright: FedEE International Inc 04/2020