The COVID-19 pandemic has affected companies in different sectors because of the number of people who have been infected and affected since its outbreak towards the end of 2019. The challenge for organizations is the number of asymptomatic cases in various workplaces, which pose the risk of infecting others. While major efforts are underway to find a vaccine for a viral disease, many companies still risk massive infections of their staff, especially from asymptomatic individuals. They can lose massive revenue through loss of productivity if employees are infected in large numbers. Therefore, workplaces should conduct a detailed risk assessment and implement a risk management process to determine the risk level and adopt mechanisms to control the pandemic and its effect on business.
Background of Current Issues
The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was anticipated to cause a serious humanistic and economic challenge for businesses across the world due to its highly infectious nature. The viral disease spreads fast through human contact and has the potential of causing severe morbidity and mortality. However, a high number of individuals are infected with the virus and recover without any specialized treatment. Regardless of the asymptomatic nature, such individuals pose a risk to individuals and companies since they are still infectious. The risk is that they can pass on the virus without showing any signs.
1. Knowledge of the new COVID-19 pandemic
2. Public health policy
1. Inadequate resources to fight the new COVID-19 outbreak
2. Lack of in-house health experts to deal with emergencies related to COVID-19
1. Opportunity to learn about the new COVID-19 outbreak
2. National and international partners in tackling the COVID-19 outbreak
1. Increase in asymptomatic cases of COVID-19
2. Potential adverse effects of the COVID-19 infections
Risk analysis involves identifying and analyzing the issues that could harm a project or the entire business. The process is critical to help the management to mitigate or manage the risk and its effects. In the case study, the risk analysis involves identifying and analyzing the potential effect of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 on the business. The risk analysis includes the risk of uncontrolled infections and their impact on the productivity of the organization. The process also involves the possibility of the occurrence of the risk and the impact on the company.
Risk Management Process
Risk Management Planning
The task force involved in the risk management process will first develop a risk management plan to foresee the risk, estimate its effect, and define possible responses to the risk. In the case study, the possibility of a risk of COVID-19 infections is very high, considering the increase in the number of patients who are getting infected and recover without specialized treatment. Such patients and asymptomatic individuals pose a high risk and impact on the business, such as loss of productivity if many people are infected. Therefore, the COVID-19 task force should create a plan to identify and have a clear course of action.
The organization’s identified risk is an increase in the number of asymptomatic cases and patients who might get sick and recover without specialized treatment. Such cases pose a threat to the organization because of the potential of spreading the disease unknowingly or through failure to report. A very high percentage of an employee could easily be infected if the risk of not addressed effectively. A related risk is the loss of productivity if many employees become infected and fail to report to work.
Qualitative Risk Analysis
During this phase, the COVID-19 task force will identify the organization’s threats or opportunities, how they are likely to occur, and the potential impact of their occurrence. The team will create a Probability/Impact ranking matrix to show the probability of the risk and impact level. For example, the probability of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the organization is very high since such cases have occurred elsewhere. Thus, the potential for a high level of impact is also high due to loss of productivity as people are treated for infections.
Quantitative Risk Analysis
The COVID-19 task force will conduct a quantitative risk analysis to establish the highest priority risk through a rating process. Members of the task force will list the potential risks, such as the occurrence of new asymptomatic cases, new infections related to asymptomatic cases, and loss of productivity as employees receive treatment for the disease. In this case, the highest probability risk is the occurrence of asymptomatic cases of COVID-19. A probabilistic analysis will help the team to determine the probability correctly.
Risk Response Planning
The company should have a feasible response to the high priority risk, which is new asymptomatic cases. However, to establish the possible cause of action, they should evaluate potential alternatives, such as testing and social distancing. The analysis of options will help them to identify the most feasible response. For example, the team could propose a testing method at the organizational level to identify new cases of COVID-19, a response that will mitigate the risk by diagnosing new cases of the disease, including the asymptomatic ones.
Risk Monitoring and Control
During the risk monitoring and control stage, the COVID-19 task force will execute the risk management plan and evaluate its effectiveness in mitigating identified issues. For example, the task force will ensure that the plan is followed to reduce the disease’s impact from asymptomatic cases. It will engage the management to implement the response and monitor the progress in reducing the risk and its impact.
The risk management plan involves a careful analysis of the potential risk of the COVID-19 outbreak at the workplace. The risk management workforce should identify the actual risk, which is the potential for an extensive outbreak due to infection by patients who become sick but fail to show symptoms. The organization should have a clear plan for responding to and mitigating the risk to prevent productivity loss.
The suggested solution for the identified risk of the infections of the COVID-19 disease from asymptomatic cases is to create a health care team at the organizational level to conduct regular testing. The testing proposal will help the management to identify and isolate asymptomatic individuals to prevent uncontrolled infections. The testing process will also prevent loss of productivity that would result from massive infections at the workplace. Therefore, the organization should invest in testing and isolation resources to control and manage the COVID-19 outbreak risk. Such an investment will protect the company and ensure continued competitiveness and productivity since employees will continue operating optimally even during the pandemic.