The impact of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic on work-related accidents in Austria in 2020

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2022 May;134(9-10):391-398. doi: 10.1007/s00508-022-02013-2. Epub 2022 Apr 12.


Background: This study aims to investigate the impact of the lockdowns during the COVID-19 (Corona-Virus-Disease 19) pandemic in Austria on work-related accidents in the year 2020. Apart from the lockdowns, multiple work-related measures were introduced in 2020, such as the new law on short-term work and regulation on accidents during home-office. Their combined effects on work-related accidents are unknown and a secondary parameter of this study.

Methods: Daily data on the number of accepted and rejected cases of work-related accidents from the Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt were obtained for the years 2019 and 2020. Based on data provided by the World Health Organization and government publications, the beginning and end dates of national hard and soft lockdown periods were derived. From this database, a difference-in-differences regression analysis on the absolute number of daily work-related accidents was conducted.

Results: On average 272.3 work-related accidents per day were registered in 2019 and 199.4 in 2020, a statistically significant reduction of 72.9 accidents per day and total decrease of 26,164 less accidents compared to 2019. Both lockdowns had a statistically highly significant effect on work-related accidents: The hard lockdown reduced the average number of daily registered work-related accidents by 40%. The light lockdown phases reduced this number by an average of 51%. Weekends and holidays had the greatest impact on work-related accidents with a reduction of 69% and 73%, respectively.

Conclusion: Both lockdown qualities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria led to a significant reduction in work-related accidents for their duration. These findings merit further investigation with more detailed data on sectors and injury-quality.

Keywords: Accidents; Occupational injuries; SarsCov2; Social control; Stay at home orders; Teleworking.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2