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Between-occupation differences in work-related COVID-19 mitigation strategies over time: Analysis of the Virus Watch Cohort in England and Wales

Beale, Sarah; Yavlinsky, Alexei; Hoskins, Susan; Nguyen, Vincent; Byrne, Thomas; Fong, Wing Lam Erica; Kovar, Jana; ... The Virus, Watch; + view all (2023) Between-occupation differences in work-related COVID-19 mitigation strategies over time: Analysis of the Virus Watch Cohort in England and Wales. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health 10.5271/sjweh.4092. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: COVID-19 mitigations have had a profound impact on workplaces, however, multisectoral comparisons of how work-related mitigations were applied are limited. This study aimed to investigate (i) occupational differences in the usage of key work-related mitigations over time and (ii) workers' perceptions of these mitigations. METHODS: Employed/self-employed Virus Watch study participants (N=6279) responded to a mitigation-related online survey covering the periods of December 2020-February 2022. Logistic regression was used to investigate occupation- and time-related differences in the usage of work-related mitigation methods. Participants' perceptions of mitigation methods were investigated descriptively using proportions. RESULTS: Usage of work-related mitigation methods differed between occupations and over time, likely reflecting variation in job roles, workplace environments, legislation and guidance. Healthcare workers had the highest predicted probabilities for several mitigations, including reporting frequent hand hygiene [predicted probability across all survey periods 0.61 (95% CI 0.56-0.66)] and always wearing face coverings [predicted probability range 0.71 (95% CI 0.66-0.75) - 0.80 (95% CI 0.76-0.84) across survey periods]. There were significant cross-occupational trends towards reduced mitigations during periods of less stringent national restrictions. The majority of participants across occupations (55-88%) agreed that most mitigations were reasonable and worthwhile even after the relaxation of national restrictions; agreement was lower for physical distancing (39-44%). CONCLUSIONS: While usage of work-related mitigations appeared to vary alongside stringency of national restrictions, agreement that most mitigations were reasonable and worthwhile remained substantial. Further investigation into the factors underlying between-occupational differences could assist pandemic planning and prevention of workplace COVID-19 transmission.

Type: Article
Title: Between-occupation differences in work-related COVID-19 mitigation strategies over time: Analysis of the Virus Watch Cohort in England and Wales
Location: Finland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5271/sjweh.4092
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4092
Language: English
Additional information: © The Authors 2023. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: between-occupation difference; COVID-19; England; infection control; infection prevention; occupational health; occupational health; pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; Virus Watch; Wales
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > Infectious Disease Informatics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168619
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