UCD Covid-19 Response

The UCD Community is rising to the challenge posed by the global pandemic

What leads to Covid-19 'superspreader' events in the workplace?

Lead Researchers: Dr Carla PerrottaUCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, and
Dr Conor BuggyUCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.


In a Covid-19 ‘superspreader event’, several people are infected by one or two individuals. The consequences are that, in some cases of super spreader events, the virus reproductive number may change. This can accelerates the epidemic curve from low community transmission to high levels of transmission, requiring restriction of movements to contain the epidemic.

But what leads to such events in the workplace? A project at University College Dublin supported by Science Foundation Ireland will examine relationships between workplace policies, contextual factors, worker behaviours and the incidence of superspreader events. The findings will help to identify factors and behaviours that can promote superspreading in the workplace, and plan to avoid them.

What is the issue?

We need to know if outbreaks in workplace settings have contributed to accelerating the epidemic curve in Ireland, and how the workplace setting could contribute to an increase in Covid-19 community transmission through superspreading events.

What will the research project do?

The project will analyse previous outbreaks and tailored workplace policies, and will design a survey to measure adaptations, safety and behavioural fatigue in the workplace.

What will the impact be?

By building our understanding of how Covid-19 superspreader events happen in the workplace, the research will help to inform strategies to anticipate and avoid them, and so limit the spread of the virus while keeping workplaces and the extended community safer

Dr Carla Perrotta said: “We aim to provide tailored and effective recommendations to improve the safety of workplace settings for workers and the broader community.”

Dr Conor Buggy said: "Understanding how our workforce has adapted to COVID in their workplaces is crucial in considering how our workers are coping, if they are experiencing fatigue or other occupational health issues that could impact their well-being."

Project Team

Lead Researcher: Dr Carla Perrotta, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

Co-Applicant: Dr Conor Buggy, UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science


Prof Mary Codd, UCD Prof Anne Drummond, UCD Dr Elizabeth Alvarez, McMaster University Dr Penpatra Sripaiboonkij, UCD Dr Sarah Doyle, HSE Prof Francis Butler, UCD Dr Fintan Costello, UCD