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A major challenge over the pandemic period was to establish the criteria for recognizing COVID-19 as an occupational disease. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has attempted to estimate the incidence of COVID-19 in individual occupational groups and economy sectors in the European Union and the United Kingdom, and to identify possible factors increasing the transmission of the virus at workplaces. Legal regulations of various countries in the world allow COVID-19 to be recognized as an accident at work and/or an occupational disease. In Poland, an occupational disease is defined as a disease caused by harmful factors occurring in the work environment or connected with performing a given job, included in the official list of occupational diseases. When assessing occupational exposure in the healthcare sector, it should be considered that healthcare workers include all persons in contact with patients or their biological material, as well as employees who are not medical professionals but who share a common space with patients due to the nature of their work. The latter group includes administrative and technical employees, control and rescue service workers, people supporting medical staff, and employees of nursing homes. In the case of non-medical occupations, the decision to recognize COVID-19 as an occupational disease should be made on an individual basis, after confirming a significant risk of contracting a SARS-CoV-2 virus infection at the workplace and in the absence of evidence of a non-occupational source of infection. An assessment of occupational exposure should always include evaluating the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Med Pr Work Health Saf. 2023;74(5):435–42.
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