April 7, 2020

Media Alert: AIHA Urges Congress to Protect Healthcare and Other Industry Workers During COVID-19 Pandemic

What: The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) applauds the enactment into law of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and urges Members of Congress to provide additional protections to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why: The CARES Act is a large bill covering aid to consumers, businesses, and workers. The new law provides billions of dollars to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and related supplies, as well as to fund training. The bill now includes a needed legislative fix allowing NIOSH-certified respirators to become more readily available for public health emergency response. AIHA appreciates the efforts of its members in advocating for the inclusion of this language in the bill through direct contact with their elected officials.

Next Step: The CARES Act is an overwhelmingly positive bill. However, it does not include all AIHA's recommendations. Therefore, AIHA is urging Members of Congress to include the text of the COVID-19 Healthcare Worker Protection Act of 2020 in the next coronavirus aid package. The COVID-19 Healthcare Worker Protection Act would require the U.S. Secretary of Labor to issue an emergency temporary standard to protect healthcare sector workers, and employees in other sectors whom the CDC or OSHA identify as having an elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19. The emergency temporary standard would be required to be issued within one month of the bill being enacted into law. The act would also require the secretary to begin work on a permanent standard after the emergency standard is issued.

How: AIHA encourages its members, stakeholders, and other interested parties to visit AIHA's Government Relations Action Network, and to contact their Members of Congress today, urging them to include the text of the COVID-19 Healthcare Worker Protection Act of 2020 in the next coronavirus aid bill.

Who: Founded in 1939, AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illness, or impairment or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community. AIHA provides comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help its members maintain the highest professional standards.

Contact: For additional information, contact Mark Ames, AIHA's director of government relations