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Perspective of Workers" Union Representatives on COVID-19 Measures in Turkish Workplaces in the First Year of the Pandemic.

Balkan Medical Journal 2023 Februrary 8
BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, the virus causing coronavirus disease-2019, is a biological hazard in workplaces. Thus, protective measures should be applied. Despite their potential role, the perspective of workplace representatives on coronavirus disease-2019 measures is rarely investigated.

AIMS: This study aimed to assess the perspective of workplace union representatives on coronavirus disease-2019 measures in their workplaces in the first year of the pandemic in Turkey.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive study.

METHODS: This national descriptive study included workplace chief representatives of 33 workers' unions. A 42-item electronic survey was used to collect data to evaluate the practice of job organization, social distancing and personal protective equipment use, sanitization, and occupational safety and health training.

RESULTS: The study included 509 workplace chief representatives' responses. Results showed that several administrative measures, including suspending production or work, encouraging workers to take leave, implementing alternate work schedules, isolating any coronavirus disease-2019 case from other workers in a designated room, and avoiding face-to-face meetings, were not available in more than half of the workplaces. The mean number of available measures was significantly high (p < 0.001) in the industrial sector and workplaces with 250 or more workers. Almost all union representatives (98.8%) reported at least one diagnosis of coronavirus disease-2019 among workers, and 12.6% reported a positive history of coronavirus disease-2019-related mortality. The regression model for any history of coronavirus disease-2019 mortality in workers demonstrated a significantly increased association with workplaces with 250 or more workers compared with workplaces with less than 250 workers (odds ratio =2.99, 95% confidence interval =1.65-5.44, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The results indicate failure in administrative measures and the need for improvement in medium- and small-sized workplaces and the non-industrial sector. All local and national stakeholders need to pay special attention to address these issues. Future studies should evaluate on-site coronavirus disease-2019 workplace measures and their effectiveness.

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