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Juyeon Lee 1 Article
Estimation of the number of working population at high-risk of COVID-19 infection in Korea
Juyeon Lee, Myounghee Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2020;42:e2020051.   Published online July 9, 2020
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
We aimed to identify occupational groups at high-risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection in Korea, to estimate the number of such workers, and to examine the prevalence of protective resources by employment status.
Based on the sixth Standard Occupational Classification codes, 2015 census data were linked with data from the fifth Korean Working Conditions Survey, which measured how frequently workers directly come into contact with people other than fellow employees in the workplace.
A total of 30 occupational groups, including 7 occupations from the healthcare and welfare sectors and 23 from other sectors, were classified as high-risk occupational groups involving frequent contact with people other than fellow employees in the workplace (more than half of the working hours). Approximately 1.4 million (women, 79.1%) and 10.7 million workers (46.3%) are employed in high-risk occupations. Occupations with a larger proportion of women are more likely to be at a high-risk of infection and are paid less. For wage-earners in high-risk occupations, protective resources to deal with COVID-19 (e.g., trade unions and health and safety committees) are less prevalent among temporary or daily workers than among those with permanent employment.
Given the large number of Koreans employed in high-risk occupations and inequalities within the working population, the workplace needs to be the key locus for governmental actions to control COVID-19, and special consideration for vulnerable workers is warranted.
Korean summary
코로나바이러스감염증-19 (코로나19) 유행 상황에서 감염 고위험 직업군 종사자는 보건의료복지 업종에서 총 140만 명, 그 외 업종에서 총 1,073만 명으로 추정된다. 고위험 사업장에 대해 정부가 안전보건 관리·감독·규제 및 지원 체계를 수립하고, 방역대책의 중심에 노동자의 안전과 건강 보호를 두는 관점의 전환이 필요하다. 우선 당장 역학조사 과정에서 직업관련 요소를 자세히 확인하고, 직업관련 감염에 대한 모니터링과 그에 걸맞는 대책을 마련해야 한다.
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