Occupational health and COVID-19 – Italy
A study was published in April in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health detailing the measures taken by the Italian Industrial Hygienists Association in Italy at a time where the country had one of the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases. The guidelines included information for workers employed in essential activities (with low and medium risk of contagion), health workers and other workers at high or very high risk of contagion, and for the correct use and handling of personal protective equipment for workers and for the population in general. While the documents do not replace those produced by authoritative bodies, they do go into detail on how occupational medicine has been implemented in Italy.
Occupational health and COVID-19 – Spain
The Spanish government has produced similar occupational guidance for healthcare workers in Spain – outlining what best practice looks like and how it should be implemented. This includes the use of PPE for frontline workers.
PPE Q&A – Spain
The Spanish Association of Occupational Hygienists AEHI pulled together a series of 30 questions and answers on the use of PPE in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular respiratory protection at workplaces. The document highlights the fact that the use of personal protective measures is the last resort in the hierarchy of control measures.
Faulty PPE and impact on healthcare workers – Spain
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a thousand healthcare workers in Spain were forced to self-isolate after finding out the PPE they were using was faulty.
COVID-19 cases and impact on healthcare workers – Spain
Reports from 30 April showed transmission across healthcare personnel was high at 21.4% - some of the highest in Europe. Of that, a very high percentage was female workers - 75%. Despite these high figures, another report from around the same time carried out in a Barcelona hospital claimed that only 11.2% of healthcare workers there were infected.
High rate of infection across healthcare workers – Spain
A document released in April by the Spanish healthcare authorities references the reason why the rate of infection across healthcare workers has been so high in Spain. According to their figures, 20% of those infected in Spain at that stage were healthcare workers, of which around 30 were reported to have sadly died.
A short case study based in a hospital in Madrid blames a global lack of PPE for contagion, as well as lack of knowledge/understanding of asymptomatic transmission.