Member States, workers and employers in the EU Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) have reached an agreement on the need to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease.
Member States, workers and employers in the EU Advisory Committee on Safety and Health at Work (ACSH) reached an agreement on the need to recognise COVID-19 as an occupational disease in health and social care and in domiciliary assistance and, in a pandemic context, in sectors where there is an outbreak in activities with proven risk of infection, and supported an update of the EU list of occupational diseases.
Yesterday’s agreement is an important step to implement the EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027, adopted by the Commission in June 2021. The framework sets out key actions at EU level to improve workers’ health and safety over the coming years. One of its key cross-cutting objectives is increasing preparedness for any potential future health crises.
This also implies stepping up support to workers during possible future waves of COVID-19. In line with this, the Framework announced that the Commission will update the Commission Recommendation on occupational diseases to include COVID-19 by the end of this year.
Following the opinion of the ACSH, the Commission will update the Recommendation listing all occupational diseases, and substances that can cause them, which the Commission recommends Member States to recognise. The aim is that Member States adapt their national laws according to the updated Recommendation.
If recognised as an occupational disease in a Member State, workers in relevant sectors, who have contracted COVID-19 at the workplace, may acquire specific rights according to national rules, like the right to compensation.