Employers should be aware of the option to have COVID-19 rapid testing kits in the workplace for workers. The Health Minister of Canada announced the availability of free rapid testing kits to keep Canadian businesses open.
Rapid testing kits provide the materials necessary to test workers for COVID-19 that provide accurate results within 15 minutes. These tests can be performed safely at work without the need of being analyzed within a lab.
The efficiency and accessibility of these rapid testing kits should be considered by employers to be used with their workplace. The use of these kits provides fast results to increase protection of workers in the workplace. Here is how rapid testing kits work:
Each person completing a test will self-swab each nostril for the instructed number of seconds necessary. After, the swab will be dispensed within a tube to mix with a contained solution. This tube then becomes a dropper, where 5 drops are to be dispensed within a small rectangular testing device. Upon waiting 15 minutes, a pink line will indicate the test to be positive, negative or inconclusive.
When test results are negative, workers can be cleared and continue work. However, if test results are positive or inconclusive, the worker must leave the workplace and immediately obtain an official COVID-19 test at a testing facility and self-isolate.
It is important to note that the used contents of the rapid testing kits are considered biomedical waste and require proper training on its disposal within biomedical waste bins. A biomedical waste management policy should be in place at organizations using rapid testing kits.
Employers considering or implementing the use of rapid testing kits in the workplace must consider staff education and record maintenance for its effective and safe usage.