Health care workers and others in highly vulnerable occupations are not getting adequate guidance, training or equipment to protect them from COVID-19, the coronavirus. Putting these front line workers at risk also increases the risk to the general population by increasing the chance of spreading the virus to those in their care.
Please contact our Congressional representatives by phone or email and tell them to call on OSHA to immediately issue a temporary emergency standard to require protective gear and guidance for health workers and first responders and to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Contact Congressman Joe Cunningham here.
Contact Senator Lindsey Graham here.
Contact Senator Tim Scott here.
- The US could be approaching the greatest infectious disease crisis this country has faced in over a century.
- When nurses, doctors and healthcare workers are protected, the general public is better protected as well.
- The federal government must quickly issue emergency measures to protect healthcare workers as well as others working in transportation, schools and other occupations especially vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
The COVID-19 virus is spreading throughout the world with more than 250 cases in the U.S. as of March 6. The virus is highly contagious and is causing severe illness in about 20% of the people known to be infected. Health care workers are particularly susceptible. Mortality is significantly higher than in recent epidemics and is highest in the older population and those who are on the front lines of taking care of patients.
The director of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedro Ghebreyesus, has said ”This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”
Regulations requiring employers to provide protective gear for health care workers and to create infection-control plans were drafted by the Obama administration; however work on the regulations was stopped in 2017 because it was not considered urgent.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is part of the Labor Department and is the agency responsible for imposing safe conditions in the workplace. Members of Congress, unions representing health care workers, and the former head of OSHA are asking the Labor Department to activate the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970. The law allows the agency to quickly issue a temporary emergency standard that requires protective measures and infection-control plans when a “grave danger” emerges in the workplace.
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