Overview of Legal Measures for Managing Workplace COVID-19 Infection Risk in Several Asia-Pacific Countries
Despite the lack of official COVID-19 statistics, various workplaces and occupations have been at the center of COVID-19 outbreaks. We aimed to compare legal measures and governance established for managing COVID-19 infection risks at workplaces in nine Asia and Pacific countries and to recommend key administrative measures.
We collected information on legal measures and governance from both general citizens and workers regarding infection risks such as COVID-19 from industrial hygiene professionals in nine countries (Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand) using a structured questionnaire.
A governmental body overseeing public health and welfare was in charge of containing the spread and occurrence of infectious diseases under an infectious disease control and prevention act or another special act, although the name of the pertinent organizations and legislation vary among countries. Unlike in the case of other traditional hazards, there have been no specific articles or clauses describing the means of mitigating virus risk in the workplace that are legally required of employers, making it difficult to define the responsibilities of the employer. Each country maintains own legal systems regarding access to the duration, administration, and financing of paid sick leave. Many workers may not have access to paid sick leave even if it is legally guaranteed.
Specific legal measures to manage infectious disease risks, such as providing proper personal protective equipment, education, engineering control measures, and paid sick leave are recommended to be stipulated in Industrial safety and health-related acts.