Workplace Health Scientists Urge Employers: Regardless of Supreme Court Ruling on Vax Mandates Employers and Employees Can Take Critical Steps to Reduce the Risk of COVID-19 in the Workplace
January 12, 2022 (Falls Church, VA) – As employers and businesses await the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on OSHA’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing mandates in the workplace, leading health organizations urge employers and employees to pledge to make their organizations and communities healthier and safer from COVID-19. Businesses and public health organizations have taken the Commit To C.A.R.E. pledge including: National Safety Council, Society for Critical Care Medicine, the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, and Indoor Air Quality Association Australia, among others.
AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community, in partnership with IBEC, The Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium, launched Commit To C.A.R.E., a new public education initiative that encourages employers and employees to commit to reducing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace and communities by minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19 and preparing buildings against the spread. The initiative is funded by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The economic toll on businesses and employees is immense. To return to work safely, both employers and their employees play a role in keeping their work environments and communities safe. While vaccination is one way to reduce the transmission and severity of COVID-19, there are other steps organizations should take to mitigate its spread and protect what matters most — people,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan. “Commit To C.A.R.E. resources include the most comprehensive tools that employers and employees can use to better understand their risk and take action to protect themselves and others,” he added.
According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, a quarter of U.S. adults say they or someone in their household has been laid off or lost a job because of the coronavirus outbreak, and 32% say they or someone else in their household has taken a pay cut due to reduced hours or demand for their work. And, most workers (60%) who lost wages during the pandemic are still earning less.
Commit To C.A.R.E. (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Equity) strives to debunk myths about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, make the complexities of the science easier to understand through no-cost, engaging multi-media tools available in nine different languages, help prepare facilities against airborne viruses, and encourage businesses to pledge their commitment to C.A.R.E. for the health and well-being of their employees, clients, and customers.
The comprehensive resources, written in non-technical terms, include micro-training videos (i.e., addressing the importance of control strategies such as ventilation and respiratory protection), checklists, a web-based interactive assessment tool, other informational pieces on such topics as in-house vaccination and testing policy, and more. The free resources also include downloadable posters and fliers for use in the workplace. For more information about becoming a C.A.R.E. Partner, or accessing free multimedia resources such as checklists, posters, flyers, videos and to take the C.A.R.E. pledge, visit: Commit2Care.org.
Ways employers and employees can get involved:
- Share information about Commit To C.A.R.E with your employers and clients. Visit: www.BackToWorkSafely.org/CDC to download a tool kit of materials to get started;
- Request that your employer send an email to employees asking them to take the Commit To C.A.R.E pledge;
- Ask your employer to include information about Commit To C.A.R.E in the company newsletter and on social media;
- Tell colleagues in your company about Commit to C.A.R.E.;
- Ask a business owner you know to take the pledge and Commit to C.A.R.E.;
- Send Commit To C.A.R.E. videos, checklists, etc. that you download to friends and family via email or your social media network!
"The resources included in Commit to C.A.R.E. align to most of the topic areas within the OSHA ETS and help create a common understanding of the issues across the workforce, building a solid framework for more detailed training within an organization," said Kenneth Martinez, Chief Science Officer at IBEC. "The resources go one step further by targeting the content specifically to key industries: general business, healthcare, and long-term care facilities," he added.
AIHA is the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, networks, comprehensive education programs, and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional and competency standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed across the public and private sectors, as well as to the communities in which they work.
In 2020, AIHA developed the “Back to Work Safely” initiative to help small businesses get back to work safely with industry sector-specific guidelines and resources. AIHA’s Back to Work Safely Guidelines, 2nd Edition, are now available for small to mid-size businesses in 27 sectors. The free guidance documents, available only in English and Spanish), provide clear and actionable steps towards the safe operations of a variety of workplaces through prevention, early detection, and control of COVID-19. The 2nd editions offer practical guidance for employers to implement multiple layers of risk mitigation strategies in order of most effective to least effective – through the elimination of a hazard, substitution of a hazard, use of engineering controls (e.g., increased ventilation and air filtration), administrative controls (e.g., staggered shifts), and personal protective equipment (e.g., respirators and gloves). For more information, please visit www.aiha.org.
IBEC, the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium, strives to bridge the gap between science and real-world applications so that people can feel safe gathering together again in indoor spaces. A membership-based organization founded in March 2020, IBEC brings together scientists, OEHS professionals, disaster response, and healthcare specialists to help accelerate the contributions of science and technology for healthily built environments. For more information, please visit www.weareibec.org.