California Nurses, Know Your Rights: Protections at Work for COVID-19
Nurses and healthcare workers have a fundamental right to a safe and healthy workplace, and infectious diseases such as COVID-19 should be no exception. Full protection of healthcare workers is a fundamental and necessary part of limiting the spread of virus. National Nurses United has created informational resources regarding protections for nurses at work for COVID-19.
Your employer must protect you:
- The Cal/OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Diseases Standard (ATD Standard) requires airborne and contact precautions for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Cal/OSHA’s guidance on COVID-19 is available at https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/Coronavirusinfo.html.
- PPE for COVID-19 must include, at minimum, N95 respirators or higher, isolation gowns, eye protection, and gloves. Surgical and non-respirator face masks do not protect persons from airborne infectious diseases and cannot be relied upon for novel pathogens such as COVID-19.
- A Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with high efficiency particulate air filters must be worn during aerosol generating procedures on suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases
ATD Standard Requirements for COVID-19:
- Screening protocols to identify patients who may have COVID-19 infections.
- Open and continuous communication with nurses and other health care workers about any potential exposure to COVID-19 case(s).
- Plans to ensure prompt isolation of patients with COVID-19 infections in negative pressure isolation rooms.
- Protective PPE for nurses and other health care workers providing care to patients with COVID-19 infections including airborne and contact precautions.
- Employers must ensure the adequate supply of PPE necessary to reduce worker exposure to COVID-19 in routine operations, foreseeable emergencies, and surge events.
- A Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) with high efficiency particulate air filters must be worn during aerosol generating procedures on COVID-19 cases.
- 14 days paid precautionary leave for a nurse or other health care worker who is exposed to COVID-19. The employer must notify the employee in a timely fashion in the event of an exposure to a suspected or confirmed patient(s).
- Employers must identify, evaluate, and investigate potential worker exposures including the cause and chain of employee/patient transmission. Medical follow-up services must be provided, free of charge, to all exposed employees.
For questions and comments, or if you need representation please reach out to Goyette & Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 (916) 851-1900.
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