The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world's attention the vital role of occupational hygiene in protecting the health of workers - and the central role that work plays in the health of the general population. The Annals of Work Exposures and Health has published leading research on these vital areas for many years. It also offers important perspectives on current responses to the global health crisis.
As well as the selected content below, we have published a select few articles from the journal with current relevance - starting with an editorial by members of our editorial board, Sean Semple and John Cherrie, outlining the vital role of occupational hygiene in the effort. We have also collected articles generally grouped into aspects of occupational hygiene for protection from viruses: Respiratory Protection, Dermal Protection, and Ventilation Control.
COVID-19 outbreak in Italy: protecting worker health and the response of the Italian Industrial Hygienists Association
by Andrea Spinazzè, Andrea Cattaneo, and Domenico M. Cavallo
This is an in-press manuscript with the Annals of Work Exposures and Health. We would like to thank the authors, Andrea Spinazzè, Andrea Cattaneo, and Domenico M. Cavallo for their efforts in putting this piece of work together, and the Italian Industrial Hygiene Association for allowing us to share their work with our wider community.
"At the time of writing Italy is ranking first among countries both in terms of number of COVID-19 confirmed cases and in terms of number of deaths. Such a wide spread of COVID-19 has led to concern among workers who are facing the risk of becoming infected during the execution of their duties. We believe it is useful to remark on the need for professional expertise in the field of Occupational Hygiene in this emergency context, in which the indications provided by national and international bodies, the available scientific literature and the legal provisions are constantly and rapidly evolving. It is of fundamental importance that there is an effective analysis of expert inputs, to provide essential guidance to Health, Safety and Environmental managers and other prevention managers in workplaces."
COVID-19: Protecting Worker Health
by John Cherrie and Sean Semple
"Occupational hygienists have particular skills in understanding exposure to hazards in the workplace and a long history of introducing simple and effective measures that reduce risk to workers’ health. These skills may be able to contribute to protecting the global workforce from Covid-19."
Are Powered Air Purifying Respirators a Solution for Protecting Healthcare Workers from Emerging Aerosol-Transmissible Diseases?
by Lisa M Brosseau
"For the third time in less than 20 years there is global concern about a novel coronavirus causing significant respiratory morbidity and mortality. The first cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) were reported by China to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003; one-third of these were among healthcare workers (WHO, 2003). By the end of the outbreak in 2004, more than half (378; 57%) of the 667 SARS cases treated in Asian and Canadian outbreak hospitals were healthcare workers or medical students (Sepkowitz and Eisenberg, 2005)."
Protecting workers from COVID-19 (Blog Post)
by John Cherrie and Sean Semple
"Everyone deserves to go home from work safe and healthy. Sadly, during the current pandemic that will not be the case; some workers will die because they became infected with in their workplace. We expect that employers will take all reasonable steps to protect their workers but in truth we know very little about how these workers are exposed and what measures are effective in preventing infection. Governments need to put more research effort into evaluating how effective the current control measures are and in innovating new approaches to better protect workers."