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J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Oct;52(10):995-1003. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181f43872.

Factors associated with the ability and willingness of essential workers to report to duty during a pandemic.

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  • 1Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.



To determine essential workers' ability and willingness to report to duty during a serious pandemic outbreak and to identify modifiable risk factors.


Workers (N = 1103) from six essential workgroups completed an anonymous, cross-sectional survey.


Although a substantial proportion of participants reported that they would be able (80%), fewer would be willing (65%) to report to duty. Only 49% of participants would be both able and willing. Factors significantly associated with ability/willingness included individual-level (eg, intentions to adhere to respiratory protection and pandemic vaccination recommendations) and organizational-level factors (eg, preparedness planning for respiratory protection and worker vaccination programs).


During a serious pandemic event, non-illness-related shortfalls among essential workers could be substantial. Organizational preparedness efforts should focus on worker protection programs and the development of policies that would facilitate the attendance of healthy workers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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