The Member States of the European Union (EU), workers and employers reached an agreement on the recognition of covid-19 as an occupational disease in the health, social care and home care sectors and in others prone to outbreaks of infection.
The information was released today by the European Commission, which in a statement announces that “representatives of Member States, workers and employers, meeting in the EU Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work, have agreed on the need to to recognize covid-19 as an occupational disease in the health, social care and home care sectors and, in a pandemic context, in sectors where an outbreak occurs in activities with a proven risk of infection”.
This recognition, which will now move forward, implies an update of the EU list of occupational diseases, as agreed by the interested parties, adds the community executive.
In the EU Strategic Framework for Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027, adopted by the European Commission in June last year, the institution proposed an update of the recommendation on the list of occupational diseases to include covid-19.
The framework sets out the main actions at EU level to improve the health and safety of workers over the coming years, with one of the objectives being to increase the degree of preparedness for possible future health crises, in particular by strengthening support for workers. in possible waves of covid-19 in the future.
With the approval now given, it is up to the community executive to update the recommendation on occupational diseases and the agents that can cause them, a document that the institution hopes to see recognized by the Member States, since health is a national competence.
Brussels therefore wants EU countries to adapt their national legislation in accordance with the updated recommendation, and if covid-19 is recognized as an occupational disease in a Member State, covered workers who have contracted it at the place of work may acquire specific rights, such as compensation.
Although the health crisis related to the covid-19 pandemic is now stabilized in the EU, countries still register a high number of infections, alerting European authorities to possible new vacancies and the need to safeguard workers.
Some workers, especially those exposed to infected people, for example in the health and social care sectors, are at a higher risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 infection, which causes Covid-19.