MADISON, Mar. 18, 2020 — ABC of Wisconsin has been contacted by the Wisconsin Health & Hospital Association regarding Vice-President Mike Pence’s request for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
“We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday.
Subsequently, Wisconsin Hospital Association President & CEO Eric Borgerding made the following request:
“As I am sure you know, the COVID-19 outbreak is placing tremendous strain on Wisconsin health care’s supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). This includes quickly dwindling supplies of gowns, gloves, eye shields and, especially, face masks (specifically NIOSH 95 masks, or N95s). This equipment is critical to protecting our frontline health care workforce from infection when testing and treating for COVID-19, keeping our dedicated doctors, nurses, technicians and others there when we all need them most,” Borgerding said.
In many instances, industrial masks used on construction sites are perfectly acceptable for healthcare workers, according to the vice-president. Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is expected to make a similar request. Contractors can expect similar requests from local health facilities, if it hasn’t already been done.
ABC of Wisconsin advises each company evaluate its own company needs and inventory for the safety of its employees along with a moral responsibility to assist in this crisis. At this time, there is no reason to assume OSHA will lighten or lift any standards for workers pertaining to things such as silica dust. One compliance officer told ABC of Wisconsin that employers will be expected to continue to protect workers.