We Demand Baker Issue Coronavirus Safety Standards

May 12, 2020

As Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker attempts to reopen shuttered workplaces, millions of workers will be at heightened risk of contracting the novel coronavirus and many of our working brothers and sisters may not survive the infection. Sadly, Gov. Baker has not sought the counsel of labor leaders or occupational health and safety experts as part of his reopening advisory board. On May 11, MassCOSH submitted a letter to Gov. Baker expressing our disappointment that safety experts have not been consulted and included a list of safety standards developed by occupational health experts and labor leaders that we demand to be adopted to save lives.

The standards (click here to view) build upon on Gov. Baker’s initial plan by requiring that employers meet all CDC and OSHA guidelines on social distancing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection and sanitization, and handwashing. Our standards require that every employer draft and distribute a written plan – with meaningful input by workers and guided by science – to identify and eliminate or reduce worker exposure to infectious disease hazards. Every company would be required to detail how it will address the three primary routes of virus transmission (large droplets from a cough or sneeze, aerosol micro-droplets, and virus particles collected on surfaces). The standards call for the protection of whistleblowers to protect and encourage workers’ ability to report hazardous conditions and non-compliance and a single, multilingual, hotline number to ensure that all workers, including those for whom English is not a first language, have a clear process for reporting dangerous conditions and receiving support and guidance.

It is our hope that Gov. Baker will strengthen his reopening plan by immediately issuing an Executive Order to create a statewide, enforceable SARS-CoV-2 health and safety standards that mirrors those we submitted. Check back often for updates.