Epidemiology

Only detailed understanding of an activity makes it possible to protect employees appropriately against infections. BAuA identifies occupations with elevated risks of infection and supports the development of activity-specific recommendations.

Teacher with mask hands out exam results to students
© iStock | Drazen Zigic

From an occupational safety and health (OSH) perspective, it has prompted questions about whether employees in various occupational groups experience different risks of infection with SARS-CoV-2. Several studies based on contrasting methodologies dealt with this issue in the first few months of the pandemic. For instance, data from the German National Cohort study (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie) were evaluated, occupation-related data held by health insurance funds were analysed, and retail businesses were surveyed to ascertain how frequently cases of SARS-CoV-2 had occurred among employees in the retail industry. Depending on the job sector, different risks of both SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalisation due to COVID-19 were observable in these investigations.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed that even employees in workplaces not covered by the Biological Agents Ordinance can be exposed to an elevated risk of infection as a result of the activities they perform.

In particular, the identification of occupational fields with levels of infection risk higher than the general life risk and the impacts of their long-term consequences are therefore to be central to the Epidemiology of Work-related Infectious Diseases Thematic Cluster. Initial projects have already been launched to investigate the rates of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and people with post-COVID symptoms in work settings. Apart from this, BAuA is currently carrying out a systematic review to survey the risks of infection with SARS-CoV-2 specific to different sectors around the world. Future research projects will look beyond the SARS-CoV-2 virus and examine other workplace-related infection risks. The aim is to identify sectors and activities that have so far lacked evidence-based recommendations on how to protect employees against pathogens.

Research Projects

Project numberF 2591 StatusOngoing Project Epidemiological studies of work-related infectious diseases based on data from the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV)

To the Project

Research ongoing

Project numberF 2562 StatusOngoing Project Occupational COVID-19 exposure and infection risks: Analyses based on the Gutenberg COVID-19 Study.

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Research ongoing

Project numberF 2545 StatusCompleted Project Work related investigation of the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infected and Post-COVID symptomatic people based on data of the health authorities in Thuringia

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Research completed

Project numberF 2515 StatusCompleted Project Analysis of job-related health effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic based on the National Cohort in Germany (NAKO Health Study)

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Research completed

Publications

Authors' response: Occupation and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among workers during the first pandemic wave in Germany: potential for bias

Publishing year: 2022

Suchergebnis_Format Article

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Occupation and SARS-CoV-2 infection risk among 108 960 workers during the first pandemic wave in Germany

Publishing year: 2022

Suchergebnis_Format Article

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A risk estimate of a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection among grocery and drugstore retail employees

Publishing year: 2021

Suchergebnis_Format baua: Focus

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Abschätzung der Infektionsgefährdung durch SARS-CoV-2 im Einzelhandel auf der Basis unterschiedlicher Methoden

Publishing year: 2021

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Analysis of the COVID-19 risk by occupational groups and industry in Germany

Publishing year: 2021

Suchergebnis_Format Article (in German)

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Differences in COVID-19 risk between occupational groups and employment sectors in Germany

Publishing year: 2020

Suchergebnis_Format Article (in German)

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More about Focus: Infection Control/OSH Interface