Study: Security guards, farmers, carers most at risk of Covid-19

Study: Security guards, farmers, carers most at risk of Covid-19

The study found that more than 15% of workers have an underlying illness, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the virus. Picture: PA

Security guards, farmers, and carers are among the occupations statistically most at risk from Covid-19, according to a new study.

The research suggests the jobs with greatest risk for coronavirus can be tracked via a cross-section of those with underlying illnesses, of older age, and living in deprived areas.

Agricultural workers and those in frontline services such as housekeeping or road transport are more likely to be older, with underlying conditions such as diabetes, and living in deprived circumstances, all of which contribute to a heightened vulnerability to the illness.

The study, compiled by researchers from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), recommends that the State and private sector should combine and use “innovative strategies” to protect workers both in occupations at high risk of contracting the virus and professions with workers who are statistically the most likely to be vulnerable to severe illness.

More than 15% of workers have an underlying illness, such as chronic heart or respiratory disease, which makes them particularly vulnerable to the virus, found the research.

The highest rates of such chronic illness can be traced back to housekeeping and related services professions at 34%, road transport drivers at 26%, and the caring professions at 22%, said the study.

The professions with the highest number of workers aged over 50 are agricultural workers, housekeeping services, and haulier drivers with 63%, 53%, and 47%, respectively.

The study found that just under 40% of cleaning workers, 30% of security staff, and 25% of plant workers live in deprived areas, with care workers, housekeepers, and road hauliers also dwelling disproportionately in areas of high deprivation.

Dr Brendan Walsh, one of the study’s co-authors, said it identifies those “who may have worse outcomes” should they contract the virus.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up