Union nurses say hospitals aren't following OSHA COVID-19 mandates

Hospitals are not fully compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Emergency Temporary Standards, according to a survey of 5,000 registered nurses conducted by National Nurses United.  

"We are more than 18 months into the pandemic, yet hospitals are still not doing enough to ensure the safety of nurses, patients, and other healthcare workers," said National Nurses United Executive Director Bonnie Castillo.

The OSHA measures took full effect July 21. An Aug. 20 letter from the American Hospital Association called for a withdrawal of the ETS, citing efforts already in place at hospitals. 

Here are the key takeaways:

1. Access to testing is still limited.

  • Forty-one percent of the nurses surveyed reported any staff who asks for testing has access 
  • Nearly 20 percent said testing access is limited
  • Seven percent said testing is not available where they work.
  • More than 75 percent of nurses report not being notified of exposure within a timely manner. 

2. More than 75 percent of nurses report not being notified of exposure within a timely manner.

3. Not all patients and visitors are screened.

  • Two-thirds of nurses reported every patient is screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry. 
  • Fifty-three percent reported all visitors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry.

4. Personal protective equipment is still not provided in full. 

  • Sixty-one percent reported wearing respirators when caring for COVID-19 patients.
  • Forty percent reported wearing respirators when caring for patients suspected of having COVID-19. 
  • Sixty-two percent reported wearing surgical masks when caring for patients suspected of having COVID-19. 

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