“On April 28, 2020, five local bargaining units of the Ohio Nurses Association’s union arm filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on behalf of thousands of registered nurses whose lives are put at risk every single day because of unenforced COVID-19 guidelines and personal protective equipment (PPE) standards. The complaints were specifically filed against the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital, Mercy Allen Hospital and St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. OSHA has turned a blind eye to what is happening in hospitals in Ohio and nationwide during this pandemic – a time when OSHA’s fundamental purpose of protecting workers is needed more than ever.
OSHA is not requiring employers to follow its own nor the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines. In fact, OSHA has repeatedly said they will not enter workplaces to investigate. With 16% of COVID-19 cases in Ohio being healthcare workers, and over 16,000 infected healthcare workers nationwide according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we can’t help but wonder if the tally would be lower if OSHA stepped up to protect workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. We are nurses in a desperate situation simply asking for OSHA to do their job and keep frontline workers safe,” stated Robert Weitzel, Co-Chair of the ONA E&GW Commission.