Fact Sheet: System Letdown Worker Harm

Thursday, April 14, 2022

System Letdown: Worker Safety, Harm and Compensation in the Age of Covid-19


·      During the first year of the pandemic there were 50 million frontline and essential workers in the United States. They faced a severe shortage of respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

·      Countless workplaces were rife with lax or non-existent safety practices, turning them into breeding grounds for transmission and outbreaks that sickened and killed employees who were largely low income, disproportionately people of color and had no choice but to work in person.

·      Grocery, pharmacy, warehouse, supercenter and other workers were expected to do their jobs as usual without any safety gear or new safety protocols.

·      Warehouses contained sometimes thousands of workers, often in cramped spaces, who are sometimes forced to talk loudly to overcome machinery noise without proper PPE.

·      Hospital workers, nursing home staff and other health care providers, who were directly in harm’s way due to the very nature of their jobs, suffered infections and deaths at alarming rates.

·      Thousands of workers at meatpacking factories tested positive and dozens died. Even as other businesses restructured or reorganized to comply with CDC guidance, many meatpacking companies continued to ask employees to work on crowded assembly lines without screening, personal protective equipment, or time for proper hygiene.

·      In the second year of the pandemic, companies rolled back safety protocols despite the emergence of more highly transmissible variants Delta and Omicron. Dangers to employee health and safety grew as cases surged.

Click here for full study.

[*]Sources for all facts can be found in System Letdown: Worker Safety, Harm and Compensation in the Age of Covid-19, Center for Justice & Democracy, April 2022.

Join Our Fight!

The Center for Justice & Democracy is the only national consumer organization in the country exclusively dedicated to protecting our civil justice system. If you'd like more information, please contact us.

Connect with us