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

Project number: F 2515 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), University Hospital of Düsseldorf (UKD) Status: Completed Project


Does the risk of workers to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 at work depend on their occupation? Policymakers, organisations, and employees are dealing with this question during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project therefore aimed at finding out whether workers of different occupational groups have an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 due to their specific working conditions, as for example because they have frequent contact with colleagues or customers.
Furthermore, the study aimed at investigating changes in self-rated health among workers from different occupational groups compared to the period before the pandemic.

To answer the research questions, data from the NAKO Health Study (“NAKO Gesundheitsstudie”), a long-term study in Germany, were used. In analyses, data from more than 108,000 workers from the first wave of the pandemic could be considered. So far, the information regarding occupation had only been available in free-text. Accordingly, this information was categorised using the German Classification of Occupations 2010 (“Klassifikation der Berufe 2010”, KldB 2010) and the International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 (ISCO-08).

Analyses on the risk of infection during the first wave of the pandemic show that those working in medical professions and geriatric care had the highest risk. In contrast, those working in production and manufacturing had the lowest risk of infection. Moreover, the risk of infection was higher in highly complex professions, among workers in essential occupations and among managers.

With information on occupation now available as occupational codes, it will be possible to apply the NAKO data for further analyses on occupational risks.



Division 3 "Work and Health"

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