State Senator Walter F. Timilty has cosponsored legislation that aims to protect manufacturing and factory workers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill, SD 2934, An Act Relative to Manufacturing and Factory Worker Protection from COVID-19, was referred to the Committee on Rules of the two branches on May 7th.
“As we begin to slowly open up more businesses, we have to make sure that the workers are protected,” said Timilty. “These jobs are the backbone of our economic society. We must have these workers with proper precautions and protections in place so that they can perform their jobs safely.”
This legislation, sponsored by Senator Paul Feeney, will help protect these workers by requiring temperature checks by medical professionals or trained individuals prior to entering buildings and workplaces; at least 14 calendar days of paid sick leave for any employee self-reporting potential COVID-19 symptoms or close contact with an infected individual; employers must provide employees with PPE consistent with OSHA guidance to wear during their shifts; Social distancing of at least 6 feet, or in cases where social distancing is not possible, workers must wear PPE and employers should adopt new procedures to allow for more social distancing; staggered employee shifts, breaks, and lunches to minimize unnecessary congregation and allow for disinfecting; restroom facilities must be fully stocked with soap, sanitizer, and paper towels at all times and be regularly cleaned/disinfected; machinery, workspaces, common areas, and high touch areas must be cleaned and disinfected regularly and between shifts; and in the event an employee becomes infected or self-reports COVID-19 symptoms, employers must follow the CDC’s cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for the facility and the employees’ work area.
Local Board of Health employees are to determine if a workplace is safe for employees to return and can recommend closure of a facility for more than 24 hours to state government should they find that a facility is unsuitable for employees to return.