Public health experts sign letter asking OSHA to implement stronger COVID-19 standards

Public health experts across the country have signed a letter calling for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to implement stronger health standards that will better protect healthcare workers.

David Michaels, a professor of environmental and occupational health at GW and a former OSHA administrator, testified at OHSA’s Healthcare Rulemaking Public Hearing to read comments that he co-drafted from over one hundred public health experts in late April. More than 100 public health experts signed the letter, which called on OSHA to standardize regulations that reduce coronavirus transmission, like guaranteed paid sick leave and measures to ensure asymptomatic people don’t unknowingly spread the virus.

“COVID-19 showed how vulnerable our healthcare workers are to airborne viruses and that strong and cohesive standard for protection is needed to protect these at-risk individuals,” Michaels said in a release last week.

Experts in the fields of epidemiology, aerosol science, medicine, public health law and others called for OSHA to fully acknowledge the aerosol transmission of coronavirus that can expose healthcare workers to the virus in their letters.

Experts said they want OSHA to consider a standard that protects all healthcare workers regardless of vaccination status, a standard of paid leave for workers with COVID-19 and a standard that protects healthcare workers from exposure to airborne particles and asymptomatic infected individuals.

OSHA is reviewing the testimony and comments from the experts, and OSHA is still developing the standards.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.