Background and Objectives: The first clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection were identified in an occupational setting, and to date, a significant portion of the cases may result from occupational exposure; thus, COVID-19 should also be considered a new occupational risk that both directly and indirectly impacts the health of workers. Given the significance of occupational-exposure-related infections and deaths, this study aims to assess the roles and tasks of occupational physicians (OPs) in countering the spread of the infection. Indeed, despite the OP's centrality in risk management in the workplace, its activity in the current epidemic context has rarely been mentioned. Materials and Methods: Three different databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase) were questioned using the main keywords "COVID-19" and "SARS-CoV-2" that were crossed, according to different needs, with the terms "occupational medicine", "occupational physician", "workplace", and "risk assessment" using, when possible, the MeSH database research. Additionally, a systematic research of the regulatory changes of workplaces health surveillance was performed on reference sites of international, European, and Italian authorities. Results: Fundamental tasks and duties of OPs in the current COVID-19 outbreak are highlighted by examining their clinical activity and technical action. A risk assessment and management workflow is proposed, and medico-legal implications in case of infection at work are also discussed in the light of recent regulatory changes that clearly attribute to OPs an important role in safeguarding public health. Conclusion: The proposed approach can provide new instruments to contrast the spread of the infection as part of a comprehensive system response to the current pandemic, for which OPs are called to assume full responsibility.

Role and tasks of the occupational physician during the covid-19 pandemic

Spagnolo L.;Vimercati L.;Caputi A.;Benevento M.;De Maria L.;Ferorelli D.;Solarino B.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Background and Objectives: The first clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection were identified in an occupational setting, and to date, a significant portion of the cases may result from occupational exposure; thus, COVID-19 should also be considered a new occupational risk that both directly and indirectly impacts the health of workers. Given the significance of occupational-exposure-related infections and deaths, this study aims to assess the roles and tasks of occupational physicians (OPs) in countering the spread of the infection. Indeed, despite the OP's centrality in risk management in the workplace, its activity in the current epidemic context has rarely been mentioned. Materials and Methods: Three different databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase) were questioned using the main keywords "COVID-19" and "SARS-CoV-2" that were crossed, according to different needs, with the terms "occupational medicine", "occupational physician", "workplace", and "risk assessment" using, when possible, the MeSH database research. Additionally, a systematic research of the regulatory changes of workplaces health surveillance was performed on reference sites of international, European, and Italian authorities. Results: Fundamental tasks and duties of OPs in the current COVID-19 outbreak are highlighted by examining their clinical activity and technical action. A risk assessment and management workflow is proposed, and medico-legal implications in case of infection at work are also discussed in the light of recent regulatory changes that clearly attribute to OPs an important role in safeguarding public health. Conclusion: The proposed approach can provide new instruments to contrast the spread of the infection as part of a comprehensive system response to the current pandemic, for which OPs are called to assume full responsibility.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/369323
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