Trending Medical and health breaking news Nurses Lead Petition for Permanent OSHA COVID Standards

Trending Medical and well being breaking information Nurses Lead Petition for Everlasting OSHA COVID Requirements

Trending Medical and well being breaking information

Jane Thomason

The pandemic’s latest surge in winter hospitalizations and the Omicron variant are the newest dangers healthcare staff and the final workforce concern dealing with with out everlasting COVID security requirements to guard them. These considerations are on the focus of a nationwide petition led by nurses asking for the US Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) to undertake stronger laws as its emergency short-term normal (ETS) is about to run out Tuesday, December 21.

Nationwide Nurses United (NNU) spearheaded the petition, signed by greater than 40 unions, public well being and occupational security organizations, and 6300 people, submitted to OSHA December 16. The petition, following an extended marketing campaign by NNU and its 175,000 nationwide members for stronger well being security requirements, asks for protections from office exposures to COVID-19 and different “aerosol transmissible ailments,” in line with an NNU press launch.

ETS was adopted in June, imposing obligatory necessities for healthcare employers on an infection management protections, with penalties for individuals who violate these necessities. These protections embody mandating N95 respirators and private protecting tools; isolating sufferers suspected of getting COVID or already contaminated; offering paid medical go away to nurses in the identical state of affairs; and speak to tracing, Jane Thomason, NNU’s lead industrial hygienist, instructed Medscape Medical Information.  

Everlasting requirements would forestall a lapse in safety at a time when a “devastating winter surge” in COVID instances and a brand new variant threaten to additional tax healthcare methods, Thomason mentioned. “This pandemic is way from over.”

NNU known as on OSHA a number of occasions through the previous few months to undertake everlasting requirements earlier than ETS expired, however with out phrase of the company’s plans, it believed the newest petition was wanted, she added.

“It is going to assist OSHA hear and see what widespread assist there’s for defense of healthcare staff and to not let [standards] lapse. It will be a travesty for office security…If we do not defend healthcare staff within the midst of a pandemic, all of us are at larger threat,” she mentioned. “A secure office for nurses is a secure setting for sufferers.” 

Lisa Baum

Occupational sickness has lengthy been a difficulty receiving “brief shrift” from regulators, mentioned Lisa Baum, lead occupational well being and security consultant of the New York State Nurses Affiliation, one of many teams that has signed the petition.

Whereas healthcare staff have lengthy been in danger, the pandemic has worsened that, and authorities laws written within the Nineteen Seventies, when the workforce was largely blue collar, should be up to date and expanded, she instructed Medscape Medical Information.

“Sadly, the COVID pandemic is way from over and the danger stays for healthcare staff all through the nation. The dangers are larger within the multitudes of hospitals which might be understaffed and ill-prepared.”

Whereas a lot is anticipated of healthcare staff, they should not must threat their lives to do their jobs, Baum added. “The short-term normal have to be continued, and a everlasting infectious illness normal promulgated in some unspecified time in the future within the close to future.”

Along with NNU, six different nationwide unions, the AFL-CIO and North America’s Constructing Trades Unions, state and native unions, and dozens of public well being, occupational well being and security, and nonprofit organizations across the nation signed the petition representing greater than 14 million folks. 

NNU reported that as of this week 476 RNs have died of COVID because the pandemic started, amongst 4670 healthcare employee deaths total, in line with its monitoring information. Up to now, greater than 1 million US healthcare staff have been contaminated, NNU said in its launch.

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