The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) provide a recent note on rapid diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace.
An EU-OSHA survey in April 2021 showed that these tests were available to employers in the 19 EU/EEA countries that responded. This is done through different approaches and/or within a specific national legal framework. However, their use is relatively limited. Twelve countries report regulatory measures in this respect. In one case out of two, this is related to occupational safety and health measures and in the other to public health. Ten countries mention the existence of guidelines.
A clear strategy in the company
According to the note, a clear screening strategy is needed. “It is important that it is in line with public and occupational health regulations and recommendations. In addition, the strategy should take into account what is known about the performance of the tests (ensuring that only those with proven performance are used), as well as the prevalence and transmission dynamics of Covid-19 in the establishment”.
The authors also stress the importance of involving all stakeholders – authorities, workers, employers, health and safety committees, occupational health services, etc. – in the development and implementation of the strategy. The cost of testing is an issue for companies. Funding opportunities can be an important incentive to roll out screening.
Finally, the authors reiterate that testing should be used in addition to, not instead of, other health and safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Most importantly, anyone with symptoms should stay home or isolate themselves and undergo PCR testing as soon as possible.