MassCOSH Releases Badly Needed Resource for Workers Still Reporting to Work

April 08, 2020

Press Release
Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, Executive Director
(617) 733-8482
Mass. Occ. Safety and Health Group Releases Badly Needed Resource for Workers Still Reporting to Work
 The organization created the toolkit after becoming frustrated with a lack of national and state leadership
Today, the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) announced the release of its robust resource for workers deemed essential and reporting to various work sites across the state. The document, titled COVID-19 Tool Kit for Essential Workers: Health and Safety Protections and How to Make Them Happen, is the result of hundreds of work hours and utilizes decades of experience from the best occupational health experts in Massachusetts. Click here to view. 

In the midst of this unprecedented occupational health crisis, OSHA has failed to fulfill its mission to protect working people. OSHA has not risen to the serious, urgent needs of essential workers by using its power to enforce existing workplace safety regulations, let alone by implementing an emergency infectious disease standard for frontline healthcare workers. 

“For over 44 years, MassCOSH has been on the progressive front of workers’ rights, dedicating itself to preventing needless injury and illness on the job,” said MassCOSH Executive Director Jodi Sugerman-Brozan. “With an enormous number of workers still reporting to their jobs in the midst of a deadly pandemic, we recognized the immediate need for information workers can use right now to protect their own lives and organize together for safer working conditions.” 

In the toolkit, workers can find basic demands that they can present their employer to improve working conditions and a review of OSHA standards all employers must follow, including the OSHA Personal Protective Equipment standards, the Bloodborne Pathogen standard, and the General Duty requirement for all employers to provide healthy and safe working conditions. 

A highlight of the toolkit is custom safety practices for workers in industries such as grocery, public transit, healthcare and homecare, and more, providing these workers with best practices for staying safe in their line of work. Given the rapidly changing nature of the pandemic and subsequent policy and scientific research, the toolkit will be updated daily to provide workers with the latest, most accurate information. 

“Workers on the front lines of this global health crisis are putting their health and lives – and that of their families – on the line to help the rest of us survive,” said MassCOSH Health Tech Committee member Nancy Lessin. “This comprehensive toolkit for Massachusetts workers will help them not only understand all the protections they must be provided on their jobs to keep them safe, but how to use new and creative tools to win those protections fast.” 

The toolkit directs workers to capitalize on the essential nature of their employment to achieve desired changes on the job. It includes a case study of workers successfully organizing for COVID-19 protections and walks the reader through step-by-step instructions on how to organize for similar protections and legally refuse to do unsafe work. It also provides tools for workers to take action together. Among others, these tools include: 

·       A customizable petition for workers 

·       A sample call to action inviting co-workers to take action 

The resource concludes with information to help workers navigate paid sick time, unemployment insurance and other benefits.