March 12, 2020

Duckworth Introduces Bill to Protect Frontline Health Care Workers


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act today, legislation that would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to promulgate an emergency temporary standard to protect frontline health care workers who are at increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Similar legislation was introduced in the House on Monday and included as part of the House’s package of proposals to address the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Our nation’s health care workers are on the front lines as we work to defend Americans from COVID-19,” said Duckworth. “They deserve to be as protected as they can be as they take on greater risks to keep the rest of us safe, and this legislation will help ensure they are.”

“Senator Duckworth and I are extremely thankful to the health care workers who are on the frontlines of this coronavirus outbreak,” Durbin said. “And it is imperative that we do everything we can to help keep them safe and healthy as they fight this pandemic, and this bill will help do just that.”

Section 6(c)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 grants OSHA the authority to issue an emergency temporary standard if workers are at grave risk of danger from a new hazard. The COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act would direct OSHA to issue such a standard within 30 days to protect health care workers from the spread of the coronavirus.

Along with Senators Duckworth and Durbin, the bill is also cosponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jack Reed (D-RI), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).