Victims of forced labor lack control over the safety of their working conditions, including potential exposure to COVID-19. These workers are less likely to be provided adequate sanitary measures, personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing and other workplace safety measures or access to testing and medical care. At the same time, DOL/OSHA is extremely underfunded, is yet to issue enforceable workplace safety rules related to COVID-19 (and CDC guidelines remain advisory only) and has done almost nothing to apply existing workplace safety protections to the COVID-19 context. It is therefore critical that the next Administration issue and enforce an Emergency Temporary Standard on how to protect workers from COVID-19, ensure that all frontline workers—including industries where trafficking risks are highest, such as for migrant farmworkers and in meatpacking—have priority access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 testing and integrate protection of worker health and safety rights into all anti-trafficking initiatives. To give just one other salient example, workers who are at risk of trafficking are more likely to work outside and are dying in increasing numbers due to rising temperatures, yet there is no federal heat stress standard. Frontline workers also need to be given whistleblower protections for reporting cases to DOL/OSHA inspectors and others.
Description of Idea :
Idea No. 142