What is workplace COVID-19 testing? [Infographic]

What is covid workplace testing featured image

Written by Adonis Hakk

March 4, 2021

COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat to employees’ health, ultimately affecting business operations regardless of industry. Among the challenges that businesses have to face, concerns related to employees contracting the virus have them struggling.

It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure and maintain a safe working environment, prompting companies to respond to risks that may jeopardize employees and staff’s well-being. As part of the responsibility, companies must mitigate known hazards by conducting safety guidelines, particularly workplace COVID-19 testing.

The estimated infections have over a hundred million worldwide and will likely increase without strict measures in place. The pandemic is not ending anytime soon, and businesses are at risk for as long as the pandemic is present.

Insufficient availability of testing can directly impact businesses and will provide consequences for employers and employees alike. Time spent in quarantine or isolation may result in loss of wages for employees and business profit. It can directly affect business operations with essential employees responsible for running critical business tasks may need to quarantine or, worse, too sick to work.

Workplace COVID-19 testing paired with various safety protocols can be a key to risk mitigation. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the need to have reliable and accessible disease testing has become increasingly apparent.

There are three types of COVID-19 tests that can determine whether a person has the virus. 

  • Molecular test, known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, is the most accurate and reliable test for confirming an infected individual. Throughout the pandemic, the majority of test reports come from using PCR. Accordingly, this test is most used by employers and employees to prove that they are not currently infected before returning to the workplace.

This test is performed to detect genetic material from a particular organism, such as a virus. The health care provider will either collect mucus from the nose using a specialized swab or use a nasopharyngeal swab that goes into the nose to the back of the throat. Results may vary depending on the lab partner or other factors, but the average turnaround time is five to seven days.

  • Antigen test or rapid test – the word “rapid” is related to the quick turnaround time significantly faster than PCR which takes an hour or less. Hence, antigen tests are common for screening large numbers of people like airports. While it works similar to PCR that involves a healthcare provider swabbing the back of the nose or throat to collect a sample for testing, it is more likely to miss an active infection. People who want to get a rapid test can go straight to a health care provider’s clinic, eliminating the need to go to a lab for testing.
  • Antibody test – this test involves looking for antibodies to the virus. It cannot diagnose active coronavirus infection. Instead, it can tell if the person has been infected at some point in the past. This test is done by a healthcare professional who will take a blood sample by pricking a finger or draw blood from a vein in the arm. It is the least option for COVID-19 testing, which can also take several days to see results.

There are various benefits that workplace testing can provide for a business that can ensure continuity and resilience.

  • Returning Critical Staff to Work Immediately – employers are counting on their employees to keep the business running smoothly if possible. The only way for it to happen is to have critical employees handle the day-to-day tasks that others cannot handle or do not have qualifications and skills.
  • Identifying Asymptomatic Employees and Prevent Loss of Workforce – Various scenarios include many employees exposed to the virus. Having workplace COVID-19 testing can prevent large workforce loss and trace other people who might also be carriers of the virus after identifying a known positive.
  • Clearing Staff With Negative Results – There will be instances where employees will need to prove that they do not have the virus, including traveling and visiting client facilities. Employees with negative results from a COVID-19 test can clear them off for infection.
  • Ongoing Exposure – It is natural for employees, especially in large companies, to contact many people regularly. It helps to have a recurring testing plan for all employees in preventing workplace outbreaks.


While such screenings and tests do not guarantee complete safety from COVID-19, it does help safeguard the business. It allows the opportunity to immediately respond and address problems relating to employees being exposed to the virus.

Do not wait for your workplace to experience an outbreak before taking steps in mitigating risks. Administering corporate testing is one of the most effective ways of dealing with and preventing COVID-19 outbreaks. Contact Harley Medic Global for mass testing by sending an email to info@harleymedic.co.uk  or call them directly with their phone number 0330 390 3666.

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