Getty Images
Getty Images 1203945657 5eb009e35440e

50% of US Employees Worry About Workplace Exposure to COVID-19

May 4, 2020
However, 71% have confidence that their employers can bring them back to work safely.

As many states are starting to go back to work, employees are expressing concern about their safety.

In fact, 54% of U.S. employees say they are worried about exposure to COVID-19 at their job, according to a new poll by Eagle Hill Consulting.

The survey, which included 1,000 respondents from a random sample of employees, was conducted from April 22-27, 2020.

Workers indicate that several factors would make them feel safe going back to work;

the availability of protective protections like masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer (58%)

mandating employees with symptoms stay home (55%)

and making COVID-19 tests available (53%).

Fifty-six percent say that employers have the right to know if workers have tested positive for COVID-19, while 43% support employers testing for symptoms. Few employees (17%) believe their jobs would be impacted by their test results.

“In the coming weeks, employers and workers will encounter perhaps the most significant and rapid changes to the workplace we have ever encountered in modern history,” says Melissa Jezior, CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting, in a statement.

“Change management is a steep struggle for most employers, and implementing such massive modifications to how we work will not be easy,” Jezioro added. “The number one focus of employers right now should be employee engagement.  That means understanding at the most granular level employee sentiment about COVID-19, their challenges returning to the workplace, and how to keep the workforce safe – and then taking action to address employee feedback.”

“The good news is that employees have confidence (71%) that their employers can bring them back to work safely. But, that puts a big burden on employers. Employees want testing, protective gear and careful monitoring of the workforce.  Those expectations for most companies will be difficult to deliver given shortages and high costs,” Jezioro explained.

Key findings of the survey include::

  • 43% of workers support employers testing for symptoms.
  • 44% of employees want COVID-19 testing available through their doctor, 40% it from local government, while 39% want testing via their employer.
  • Only 17% of employees believe their jobs would be impacted by their test results, and few (15%) have concerns about how employers will use COVID-19 test results.
  • Most employees (71%) say their employers will be prepared to safely bring employees back to the workplace.
  • Employees would like organizations to continue transparency and open communication from leadership (44%); remote work flexibility (42%); and employee wellness efforts (41%).
About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!