OHS Canada Magazine

U.S. council calls for aggressive action to ensure worker safety

Onus for protections ultimately falls to employers, says expert


April 2, 2020
By OHS Canada
OHS Canada
Categories
Hazmat
Health & Safety
Human Resources

COVID-19 is a workplace safety issue never before seen by U.S. employers, says Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. (Adobe Stock)

The president of the National Safety Council (NSC) in Itasca, Ill., is urging U.S. employers to be vigilant in protecting their workers through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement issued April 2, president and CEO Lorraine Martin said workplace leaders need to understand the critical responsibilities they have to their workforce during this time of global crisis.

“In partnership with our employees, we as leaders must be vigilant as we grapple with a workplace safety issue we’ve never seen and face the challenge of protecting those on the front lines,” she said. “In occupational safety, the onus to protect workers from all hazards, all the time, falls to employers, full stop.”

The NSC is a U.S.-based organization focused on eliminating preventable deaths in America.

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A survey conducted by the NSC found that more than 70 per cent of member organizations still have employees reporting to work, unable to work remotely. Many are in critical roles that are crucial to supporting the functioning of American society.

“Business leaders cannot forget that the everyday risks their employees face easily can be compounded by the pandemic,” said Martin.

Those operating with skeleton crews may face fatigue and stress issues, she said.

“We all must take care of our employees. They are our greatest asset and they deserve protection, now more than ever.”

Martin also acknowledged and applauded companies who have shifted operations towards the production of much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE).