WHO/ILO interim guidance COVID-19

Occupational health and safety for health workers from 2 February 2020

Health workers are at the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak response and as such are exposed to different hazards that put them at risk.

Occupational hazards include exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens, violence, harassment, stigma, discrimination, heavy workload, psychosocial risks, prolonged use of personal protective equipment and other hazards. This document provides specific measures to protect occupational health and safety of health workers and highlights the duties, rights and responsibilities for health and safety at work in the context of COVID-19.

This guidance complements and should be used in conjunction with the following WHO interim guidance. Prevention, identification and management of health worker infection in the context of COVID-19 from 30 October 2020, which provides recommendations for post-exposure risk assessment and management of infections in health workers (2), and Health workforce policy and management in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic response from 3 December 2020, which contains strategic policy recommendations for health workforce planning, support and capacity-building.

The collaboration of WHO with ILO was very important to ensure that health workers continue to enjoy their right to decent, healthy and safe working conditions in the context of COVID-19. Special thanks and appreciation to ILO colleagues.

In addition, there is free online Open WHO course on occupational health and safety of health workers in the context of COVID-19, available is several languages. 

Best regards from Geneva. Stay healthy and safe and work well.


Ivan D. Ivanov, MD, PhD
Head, Occupational and Workplace Health
Environment, Climate Change and Health Departmen