During the past several weeks, the United States has taken measures to protect the health and safety of its citizens against the threat of the Ebola virus. As health care workers treat existing cases and prevent the spread of the virus, it is vital that our medical centers are prepared with the proper protocols and training to safely and effectively battle this sickness.
So far, many hospitals across the country have been slow or faulty in implementing infectious disease procedures. As a result, health care workers, along with those working in patient transport, intake, laboratory and environmental services have been unnecessarily exposed to this deadly disease.
AFSCME has been and will continue monitoring the situation as it unfolds. However, we have taken several steps we believe will lead to increased safety for those treating victims of the disease:
-We wrote "Protecting Health Care Workers from Exposure to Ebola" and "Ebola and General Exposure Protections for Workers" to prepare our members to demand effective protections from employers.
– We provided our members with a generic letter based on one developed by the United Nurses Association of California, which lists the components of an effective protection plan for hospitals.
-We created an Ebola section on the AFSCME website, which provides facts and updates on the situation.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 is committed to protecting the workers who put themselves at risk in order to keep others safe. As this situation develops, we will continue our efforts to ensure that Council 8 members are working in the safest environment possible.