COVID-19: unbalanced management of occupational risks-case of the analysis of the chemical risk related to the use of disinfectants in the dairy industry in Morocco

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Apr 17. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-13846-1. Online ahead of print.


Moroccan employers have a strong responsibility for the safety and health of their employees in the workplace and for protecting them from the risk of COVID-19 and any occupational hazards, as required by Moroccan law. As a consequence, industries, including the agri-food sector, have put in place preventive measures to deal with this pandemic on several fronts, including the use of hydroalcoholic products and bleach for personal and surface disinfection. These disinfection actions may eliminate or reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, but the increased use of these products by employees could lead to serious health problems and increase the occupational chemical risk in the event of uncontrolled exposure. In order to analyze this risk in the dairy industry in Morocco, we have launched a qualitative and quantitative study to identify and assess the severity of chemical risk to which its employees are exposed. This involves an analysis of the safety data sheets [MSDS] of the disinfectants used and a health and safety survey of the users of these products, particularly for hand disinfection. This analysis showed that this chemical risk is omnipresent and prevention measures are partially adopted. Indeed, the strengthening of health safety measures to combat COVID-19 has significantly increased this risk, resulting in a remarkable imbalance in the assessment and management of occupational risks in this industry. These results have led us to propose corrective and preventive measures against this risk to interested parties and to adopt an integrated management of food and occupational health risks in a single system. This is the use of the Risk Analysis-Critical Control Points (HACCP)-Tool for a First Risk Assessment by Activity Analysis (OPERA) approach, which we developed and proposed in a previous study, for a simplified management of chemical risk in the food industry, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises.

PMID:33866500 | DOI:10.1007/s11356-021-13846-1