Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) risks among Indonesian healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

As Indonesia battles the COVID-19 pandemic, its healthcare workers face risks to their own health and safety at work, as they work long hours with limited personal protective equipment. Healthcare workers are crucial to the fight against COVID-19, but how are their conditions at work impacting their ability to treat patients?


A new Australia-Indonesia Centre (AIC) Rapid Research project examines the current occupational health and safety policy and procedures for healthcare workers during the pandemic, and will make suggestions to improve on existing practices.

Indonesia has the highest rate of COVID-19 infections amongst ASEAN countries and the numbers are still increasing daily. This poses a serious challenge to the Indonesian healthcare sector in terms of its capacity and capability to handle COVID-19 infected patients.

In response to the pandemic, the Indonesian government has built on existing facilities and added special hospitals for treating the virus. However the capacity of the healthcare workforce remains a challenge. High healthcare worker to patient ratios impact the ability to treat patients and increase the risk of exposing those workers to the virus themselves – an issue exacerbated by the limited availability of personal protective equipment.

“The current situation demands establishment of healthy and safe working environments in hospitals to protect healthcare workers and enable them to perform their duties at their best level,” said project Co-lead Dr Ratna Sari Dewi.

This project aims to examine the implementation of OHS policy and system among hospitals in Indonesia, and their OHS performance, with a focus on the East Java province.

It will examine the current OHS policies and procedures in hospitals and the awareness and compliance of hospital staff. It will also examine the impact of these policies and procedures on hospital performance, service and safety.

This information will help researchers identify the key areas for improvement of OHS policy and its implementation, including the integration of the OHS policy in hospitals’ operations.

“The findings of this research will have a significant impact on key stakeholders in hospitals, including staff, management and patients, as well as government and training/education institutions,” said Co-lead Prof Daniel Prajogo.

Findings will be shared with these stakeholders to provide guidance for hospital management and governments for improving OHS policies and practice.



Co-leads: Prof Daniel Prajogo (Monash), Dr Ratna Sari Dewi (ITS)

Participants: Prof Amrik Sohal (Monash), Dr Dyah Santhi Dewi (ITS), Dr Adithya Sudiarno (ITS), Dr Retno Widyaningrum (ITS), Arief Rahman (ITS), Anny Maryani (ITS)



Marlene Millott
PAIR Program Officer
+61 427 516 851


Fadhilah Trya Wulandari
PAIR Program Officer
+62 8124 3637 755



The AIC was established by the Australian and Indonesian Governments in 2013. It brings together 11 universities – seven Indonesian and four Australian – to advance people-to-people links in science, technology, education, innovation and culture. The AIC designs and facilitates bilateral research programs, taking research outcomes to policy and practice. It forms interdisciplinary teams that work collaboratively with stakeholders – policy, business and community – to find solutions to regional, national and global challenges.

Beyond research, the AIC’s outreach activities contribute to broader people-to-people links. It runs digital dialogues that seek to shed new insights. It supports the deepening of cultural exchange through a binational short film festival, explores respective national attitudes and perceptions towards each other, and brings together future leaders of both nations workshops, dialogues and other programs.

The Rapid Research program is part of the AIC’s Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research, funded by the Australian Government.  It is AIC’s front-foot response to a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact on Indonesia’s economy and society.  It brings together Sixty Australian and Indonesian researchers from the AIC’s consortium of 11 universities to explore three areas: COVID-19 People and Health; COVID-19, People and Connectivity, and COVID-19, People and Economic Recovery.


Photo by/Foto oleh H Shaw on Unsplash