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OSHA Accused of Putting Workers Safety at Risk

Image from Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times

In late October, a lawsuit was filed against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by several unions representing healthcare workers. These unions claim that OSHA is not doing enough to keep workers safe at a time when a deadly virus is spreading across the country. They argue that the administration has failed to issue an infectious-disease standard that would protect workers from the pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed by American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of State, United Nurses Association of California, and Washington State Nurse Association. It accuses the agency of making the decision to not set safety standards and violating law that requires it to do so.

This is not the first time workers have expressed their frustrations with the agency over denial to actively regulate safety standards in the workplace during the pandemic. In May, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) filed a lawsuit alleging OSHA and the Secretary of Labor refused to put in procedures that would ensure safer a workplace for healthcare workers. Another lawsuit was filed by meatpackers claiming OSHA’s disregard of the danger brought by the virus has left their safety at risk.

OSHA claims that its standards are good enough to protect workers despite the fact that they have had over nine thousand COVID related complaints but only issued a little over a hundred citations.

Almost two hundred thousand healthcare workers have been infected with the virus leading to hundreds of deaths. At a time when healthcare workers are put at a greater risk than ever their safety must be protected and it seems OSHA is failing to do that.

Original Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/29/osha-lawsuit-healthcare-coronavirus/

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