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 for your employment rights or your license defense, please reach out to Goyette & Associates at email@example.com or 1 (916) 851-1900.
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