Business Hygiene: Risks


The risks below are generic in nature, so not specific to COVID-19 or any other infectious disease. So the risk investigation applies to epidemics in general and thus proactively prepares for an unknown disease.

If a particular disease is imminent, this risk investigation should be performed with the specific properties of the disease in mind.

Medical risks

Medical risks can be categorized in:

  • Source, holding the bio-hazard
    • Infectious person (worker, visitor), with or without symptoms
    • Dry surface: door or machine handle, control panel, computer keyboard, mouse, etc
    • Wet surface: in air-conditioning, cooling devices, moist walls
    • Equipment
    • Drinking water
    • Food
    • Dust or waste
  • Transmission, transferring the bio-hazard from a source to a person
    • Body contact with a source
    • Sprays: e.g. caused by sneezing or coughing person or by a spraying contaminated machine
    • Air: e.g. by aerosols
    • Eating or drinking
    • Animals or insects
  • Person, susceptible to the bio-hazard. People may be more or less susceptible due to:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Medication which affects the immune system, e.g antibiotics
    • Medical condition (e.g. diabetes, obesity)


The medical risks are based on the following sources of information:

The risks mentioned in the above sources were intended for use hospitals and other heath organizations. We amended these for generic use in industry.

Please note that some industries also define standards for hygiene of their products (e.g. food industry and pharma industry). These requirements have not been taken into account here.

Business risks

As a result of bio-hazards, business may be interrupted. Business risks are causes that hamper the operation: delivery of goods or services. The operation depends on resources, enablers and customers. Bio-hazards can have an impact on each or all of those, thereby hampering or blocking the business.

(Availability of) Resources:

  • people
  • information and data
  • physical infrastructure such as buildings, workplaces or other facilities and associated utilities
  • equipment and consumables
  • information and communication technology (ICT) systems
  • transportation and logistics
  • finance
  • partners and suppliers
  • management: setting priorities, taking decisions, addressing and resolving impediments

(Changing) Enablers:

  • government: providing new or changed regulations or laws

(Changing demand of) Customers:

  • persons or organizations for which the goods or services are intended and who give value (usually money) in return


Risks can be subdivided in medical risks and business risks, each having risk categories. These are basis for the risk assessment.

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