Development and validation of a multi-lingual online questionnaire for surveying the COVID-19 prevention and control measures used in global workplaces

BMC Public Health. 2022 Jan 12;22(1):74. doi: 10.1186/s12889-022-12500-w.


Background: Despite widespread COVID-19 vaccination programs, there is an ongoing need for targeted disease prevention and control efforts in high-risk occupational settings. This study aimed to develop, pilot, and validate an instrument for surveying occupational COVID-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures available to workers in diverse geographic and occupational settings.

Methods: A 44-item online survey was developed in English and validated for face and content validity according to literature review, expert consultation, and pre-testing. The survey was translated and piloted with 890 workers from diverse industries in Canada, Ireland, Argentina, Poland, Nigeria, China, the US, and the UK. Odds ratios generated from univariable, and multivariable logistic regression assessed differences in 'feeling protected at work' according to gender, age, occupation, country of residence, professional role, and vaccination status. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted, and internal consistency reliability verified with Cronbach's alpha. Hypothesis testing using two-sample t-tests verified construct validity (i.e., discriminant validity, known-groups technique), and criterion validity.

Results: After adjustment for occupational sector, characteristics associated with feeling protected at work included being male (AOR = 1.88; 95% CI = 1.18,2.99), being over 55 (AOR = 2.17; 95% CI = 1.25,3.77) and working in a managerial position (AOR = 3.1; 95% CI = 1.99,4.83). EFA revealed nine key IPC domains relating to: environmental adjustments, testing and surveillance, education, costs incurred, restricted movements, physical distancing, masking, isolation strategies, and areas for improvement. Each domain showed sufficient internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha ≥0.60). Hypothesis testing revealed differences in survey responses by country and occupational sector, confirming construct validity (p < 0.001), criterion validity (p = 0.04), and discriminant validity (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: The online survey, developed in English to identify the COVID-19 protective measures used in diverse workplace settings, showed strong face validity, content validity, internal consistency, criterion validity, and construct validity. Translations in Chinese, Spanish, French, Polish, and Hindi demonstrated adaptability of the survey for use in international working environments. The multi-lingual tool can be used by decision makers in the distribution of IPC resources, and to guide occupational safety and health (OSH) recommendations for preventing COVID-19 and future infectious disease outbreaks.

Keywords: COVID-19; Infection prevention and control; Occupational safety and health; Online survey; Psychometric validation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace*


  • COVID-19 Vaccines