Validation of a COVID-19 Job Exposure Matrix (COVID-19-JEM) for Occupational Risk of a SARS-CoV-2 Infection at Work: Using Data of Dutch Workers

Sophie van der Feltz, Susan Peters, Anjoeka Pronk, Vivi Schlünssen, Zara A Stokholm, Henrik A Kolstad, Karin van Veldhoven, Ioannis Basinas, Martie van Tongeren, Alex Burdorf, Karen M Oude Hengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: A COVID-19 Job Exposure Matrix (COVID-19-JEM) has been developed, consisting of four dimensions on transmission, two on mitigation measures, and two on precarious work. This study aims to validate the COVID-19-JEM by (i) comparing risk scores assigned by the COVID-19-JEM with self-reported data, and (ii) estimating the associations between the COVID-19-JEM risk scores and self-reported COVID-19.

METHODS: Data from measurements 2 (July 2020, n = 7690) and 4 (March 2021, n = 6794) of the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey-COVID-19 (NWCS-COVID-19) cohort study were used. Responses to questions related to the transmission risks and mitigation measures of Measurement 2 were used to calculate self-reported risk scores. These scores were compared with the COVID-19-JEM attributed risk scores, by assessing the percentage agreement and weighted kappa (κ). Based on Measurement 4, logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate the associations between all COVID-19-JEM risk scores and self-reported COVID-19 (infection in general and infected at work).

RESULTS: The agreement between the COVID-19-JEM and questionnaire-based risk scores was good (κ ≥ 0.70) for most dimensions, except work location (κ = 0.56), and face covering (κ = 0.41). Apart from the precarious work dimensions, higher COVID-19-JEM assigned risk scores had higher odds ratios (ORs; ranging between 1.28 and 1.80) on having had COVID-19. Associations were stronger when the infection were thought to have happened at work (ORs between 2.33 and 11.62).

CONCLUSIONS: Generally, the COVID-19-JEM showed a good agreement with self-reported infection risks and infection rates at work. The next step is to validate the COVID-19-JEM with objective data in the Netherlands and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberwxac032
JournalAnnals of Work Exposures and health
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2022


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