The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the safety and health protections of U.S. workers, according to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)’s annual report, Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.
The annual report features state and federal data on worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses; explores worker protections; and identified work environments that were more susceptible to virus spread.
“The pandemic has only emphasized what we already know,” U.S. AFL-CIO director Rebecca Reindel said during a virtual news conference. “Workplaces are a major source of COVID outbreaks, and workplaces are inextricably linked with the safety of our families and our communities. So, preventing workplace exposures is key to stopping the spread of the virus.”
As of early October, about 7.4 million people in the U.S. have contracted the virus and nearly 210,000 have died. The nursing home industry was one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. As of Sept. 27, there have been more than 245,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents, more than 141,000 suspected cases, and more than 58,000 deaths from the virus, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The AFL-CIO report shows that from May 24 to Sept. 6, there were more than 175,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home workers, nearly 121 suspected cases, and 868 deaths.
Not surprisingly, the health care industry was also disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, with at least 163,000 confirmed cases and 713 deaths. Meatpacking, food processing and farming industries collectively reported 58,000 infections and 238 deaths from April 22 to Sept. 16.
“The federal pandemic response from the agency in charge of protecting America’s workers has been wholly inadequate and has placed working people in grave danger,” the organization wrote in the report’s Executive Summary.
The report calls America’s workplaces a primary source of COVID-19 outbreaks. But with no surveillance system in place, outbreak and infection information is limited. The organization also accuses OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) of refusing to issue enforceable, emergency temporary standards for COVID-19.
“We call on OSHA and MSHA to issue emergency COVID-19 safety standards to protect workers immediately from the virus that has ravished our country and our workplaces,” the organization said.
Workplace injury lawyers
Beasley Allen handles a variety of cases related to workplace safety, including situations similar to this. While all workers should be guaranteed a safe working environment, all too often we handle cases of serious injuries and deaths resulting from a hazardous work environment. Many times our investigation reveals defective or dangerous machinery was involved, or employers failed to provide adequate protections or ignored safety regulations. If you need more information, contact Kendall Dunson or Evan Allen, lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section who handle workplace litigation for our firm.
Nursing home abuse lawyers
Alyssa Baskam, a lawyer in our Atlanta office, heads Beasley Allen’s Nursing Home Litigation Team, together with Tucker Osborne in our Montgomery office. In order to properly handle nursing home litigation, lawyers and support staff must have specific experience in this type of case.