Males working as cleaners, security guards, drivers, process workers, and in other roles classified as ‘elementary’ are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19, according to statistics published by the Office of National Statistics (ONS UK). US data was used by ONS to create an interactive heat map showing which occupations are potentially most exposed to COVID-19 at work.

Figures revealed that men working as security guards in the UK had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 fatality with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 (63 deaths). Men and women working in social care, a group including care workers and home carers, both had significantly raised rates of death involving COVID-19, with rates of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 males (45 deaths) and 9.6 deaths per 100,000 females (86 deaths).

Among men in the UK, a number of other specific occupations were found to have higher rates of death involving COVID-19, including taxi drivers and chauffeurs (36.4 deaths per 100,000); bus and coach drivers (26.4 deaths per 100,000); chefs (35.9 deaths per 100,000); and sales and retail assistants (19.8 deaths per 100,000).

How does the risk of exposure to COVID-19 vary by occupation?

Another helpful table published by the ONS is an interactive guide to the proximity-based risk of exposure to disease by occupation, based on 2019 data from the US. The ONS advises that there is a clear correlation between exposure to disease and physical proximity to others across all occupations. However, healthcare workers such as nurses and dental practitioners, though their work involves close contact with others, are more likely to be using PPE (personal protective equipment) during the pandemic.

It could be construed that workers at greatest risk of dying from COVID-19 are among the least likely to wear PPE. CoolGard has been developed to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace for every occupation at every level in the organization, regardless of pay-scale, status, or qualification.