Recognition of COVID-19 as an occupational disease
Agreement of the Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work
SW – 05/2022
18 May 2022, representatives of European Member States, workers, and employers
on the Advisory Committee for Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) agreed that
COVID-19 should be recognised as an occupational disease in the health, social,
and home care sectors and in industries with a proven higher risk of infection.
They advocated supporting an appropriate update of the EU schedule of
EU schedule of occupational diseases
The European Schedule of Occupational Diseases is not legally binding and has two annexes.
The European Commission's 2003 Recommendation on the European Schedule of
Occupational Diseases encourages Member States, without prejudice to more
favourable national regulations, to incorporate the European Schedule in Annex
I into their laws or regulations governing the diseases, whose occupational
origin is recognised. Annex II contains a supplementary schedule of diseases
suspected to be occupational, which should be reported and could possibly be
included in Annex I of the European Schedule at a later stage.
Recognition of occupational diseases
Member States are responsible for the recognition and compensation of
occupational diseases. In the event that COVID-19 is recognised as an
occupational disease in a Member State, workers who have contracted COVID-19 in
the workplace may assert rights in accordance with national regulations.
the COVID-19 pandemic, some workers were at increased risk of contracting
COVID-19. This particularly affected those who came into contact with infected
persons, e.g. in healthcare and social services. Other industries may also be
at higher risk for COVID-19 infection due to the nature of their operations.
to the European Commission, most Member States have indicated that they
recognise COVID-19 infection as an occupational accident or disease in
accordance with their respective national regulations. Also in Germany, a COVID-19 disease can be recognised as an
occupational disease or accident under certain conditions. Nevertheless, the
update of the European Commission's recommendation is important to promote the
recognition and compensation of COVID-19 as an occupational disease by all
Background and next steps
supports the European Commission in the preparation, implementation and
evaluation of occupational safety and health activities and facilitates
cooperation between national administrations, trade unions and employers'
European Commission had already announced in the EU Strategic Framework for
Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 that it would update the recommendation on
occupational diseases to include COVID-19. A key objective of the Strategic
Framework is to strengthen preparedness for any future health crises. The
European Commission will now update the recommendation on the schedule of
occupational diseases accordingly.
find more information on the topic here.