United States Sees 1M COVID-19 Deaths Since Pandemic Start
The need to keep workers safe continues.
- By Alex Saurman
- May 17, 2022
Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the United States lost 1,000,000 lives to COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, employers and organizations have been trying to find ways to keep workers safe. In June 2021, OSHA announced an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for healthcare workers. This standard protects employees in hospitals and nursing homes and first responders. In a press release, OSHA said they planned to release a final standard at a later time. In December 2021, OSHA announced that a portion of the ETS was being edited and that a final standard had not yet been released.
In late 2021, OSHA passed a vaccination and testing ETS that would apply to employers with 100 or more workers. The ETS required employers to implement a policy either requiring the COVID-19 vaccine or requiring workers to be tested. However, the general industry ETS was blocked by the Supreme Court of the United States in January 2022.
Although OSHA does not have any official standards for COVID-19 safety in the workplace, there are numerous organizations that have resources. According to a press release, the National Safety Council (NSC) created a decision tool, in partnership with the Health Action Alliance, that has key questions and answers on vaccines for employers. The organizations also have an employer readiness assessment to prepare employers for the “post-emergency phase.”
“Losing more than 1 million lives to COVID-19 in the United States is devastating to our nation, and the threat of more loss to this deadly virus persists,” said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO in the press release. “As President Biden said in his statement, ‘as a nation, we must not grow numb to such sorrow.’ We must all do more, and I urge employers across the country to help mitigate the spread and loss of life to COVID-19 by implementing proven safety techniques. We know how to keep workers safe; we need to take action to do so.”
Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.