Lack of Emergency Preparedness during COVID-19 Urges OSHA to Step Up

Lack of Emergency Preparedness during COVID-19 Urges OSHA to Step Up
Date: February 26, 2024

The British Medical Journal recently published research highlighting how laws and regulations failed to protect US frontline workers during the pandemic. The research indicates the importance of establishing and maintaining emergency preparedness plans and federal standards. These regulations will protect both long-term care and the healthcare workers within.

COVID-19 significantly impacted workers whose services were necessary. Those in long-term care and other healthcare employees were required to go to work. However, gaps in laws and procedures were not prepared to face an emergency such as a pandemic and therefore hadn’t considered these workers requiring special protections.

These gaps weren’t just simple cracks. In fact, epidemiologist and public health professor David Michaels, PhD, MPH, shares that “the consequences of these failures were appalling and led to tens of thousands of deaths in frontline workers.” Specifically, the pre-pandemic regulations didn’t necessarily permit sick days for essential workers.

With this in mind, those in the healthcare industry are eager to create regulations and laws to prevent situations like the COVID-19 pandemic in the future. Some states have programs to protect employees from airborne illnesses. However, we should note that there is not any protection at the federal level as of now.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) should increase its standards and focus on improving the workplace in terms of emergency preparedness.

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Source

Gaivin, Kathleen Steele. “Federal Standards, Employer Preparedness Plans Need Improving to Protect Frontline Workers: Study.” McKnight’s Senior Living, 30 Jan. 2024, www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/news/business-daily-news/federal-standards-employer-preparedness-plans-need-improving-to-protect-frontline-workers-study/

Julia Kourpas