Thirty-nine states didn’t go far enough in their COVID-19 response, according to the National Safety Council.
A new NSC report reveals that despite COVID-19 claiming more lives than accidental drug overdoses, vehicle crashes and falls combined, most states have an inconsistent approach to safety during the pandemic.
The “State of response: State actions to address the pandemic” report assesses states’ efforts in five key areas – employer guidelines, testing, contact tracing, mental health and substance abuse, and roadway safety.
Only 12 states received an on-track rating from NSC for their COVID-19 response.
The top states:
- New Mexico
- New York, and
- Rhode Island.
Other states with good scores:
- New Jersey
- Vermont, and
- Washington state.
Twenty-eight states and Washington, DC, fell into the middle category called “lagging,” and ten states were “off track.”
Mississippi and South Dakota received the lowest overall rating. Among other states receiving low rankings are Florida and Georgia.
Employer COVID-19 response
The NSC notes that states have taken the lead with employer guidelines, and with 157 million Americans in the workplace, employers have an important role to play in keeping workers healthy.
Some of the most significant coronavirus outbreaks have been in workplaces, with the largest at food processing facilities, manufacturing plants and long-term care facilities.
The NSC ranked state employer guidelines in COVID-19 response for social distancing, testing, contact tracing, cleaning and face coverings.
Nine states were ranked “on track” for their employer guidelines:
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island, and
Seven states were deemed off track for employer guidelines:
- Missouri, and
The rest were somewhere in between. No state received a perfect score.
The NSC cited three states for their particular good work in creating employer guidelines:
- Utah has a comprehensive guide that’s easy to read, goes into significant detail and was the only one of the top nine states to provide comprehensive guidance on testing.
- New Mexico includes guidance for all employers and specific industries on its landing page, and
- California‘s recently updated general guidance is comprehensive, provides detailed guidance and includes information on regulations affecting employers.
The NSC is providing employers with tools to help their employees stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns provides science-based guidance for businesses across the U.S.