Over the last few weeks, reports of inadequate health and safety procedures for workers on the frontlines have grabbed headlines. Despite the fact that thousands of workers have filed COVID-19 related complaints with OSHA, administration officials have largely left it up to companies themselves to investigate and rectify safety issues. Reporting indicates that there remain serious health concerns across the country, and in particular in meat processing plants, where workers have shared that they are unable to cover their mouths to sneeze or cough. Against this backdrop, workers across the country have walked off the job demanding better protections, including a number of Amazon warehouse workers today.
Our recent wave of polling – part of our ongoing effort to understand how Americans perceive companies’ response to COVID-19 – shows that respondents believe that the health and safety of frontline workers must be top priority.
Specifically, 88% of survey respondents agree that companies must provide frontline workers with personal protective equipment (PPE).
But our Corporate Response Tracker – which looks at what the 100 largest employers are doing in response to the crisis – paints a contrary picture. In a recent update to our data, we found that 46% of companies have announced additional health and safety procedures for their workers, and yet only 14% have disclosed providing PPE directly to workers for free.
As our economy moves forward and begins to reopen in the coming months, these efforts will become increasingly critical – for the health and safety of workers themselves, but also for their families, their customers, and their communities. We’ll be continuing to track how America’s largest companies – who together employ more than 13 million Americans – are approaching the increasing need for PPE and other safety measures on the front lines.