While healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of COVID-19, too many hospital employers have failed to implement any kind of consistent best practices or safety standards in their facilities. That failure has put us all — workers, patients, and the community — at risk.
But our union members have spoken out, sounded the alarm, and refused to be silent. And now, because of our advocacy, there is action.
Gov. Wolf and the PA Dept. of Health have issued an executive order to establish safety standards in all PA hospitals. They committed to work with nurses and other hospital workers to enforce this order to hospitals that are not compliant.
This order went into effect Monday, June 15, and dictates that:
- Hospitals notify all staff of any COVID-19 exposure within 24 hours.
- All exposed staff have access to training.
- All exposed staff can quarantine if they need or choose to.
- All staff who interact with suspected or positive COVID-19 patients have access to a NIOSH-approved mask and that it be replaced as soon as possible if the healthcare professional deems it to be damaged, soiled, or otherwise ineffective.
- Every staff member, visitor, and patient be masked upon entering.
If a worker’s mask is soiled, damaged, or ineffective, they can tell their supervisor or hospital admin a new one is needed. They are required to replace it based on the worker’s assessment.
This is a tremendous victory that shows the power healthcare workers have when we lead!