More than one-fourth of U.S. employees across industries said their employer asked them to bring their own personal protective equipment to work, including 20% of those working in the healthcare and social assistance industry, according to a new report from Stericycle, a compliance company that collects and disposes regulated substances, such as medical waste and pharmaceuticals.
Conducted in September, the survey polled 1,000 U.S. employees, 18 years or older, who go into a physical workplace at a company. Of these, 250 worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry, while the rest worked in retail, manufacturing and transportation/warehousing. The survey also polled 450 U.S. business leaders from those industries.
Businesses have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey shows, with 22% experiencing a decrease in profitability of more than 20%. The drop in profits did not dampen efforts to ensure safety from Covid-19 however, as more than a quarter (28%) of businesses spent up to $50,000 on coronavirus protocols, including masks, enhanced cleaning and temperature checks.
But 27% of employees said that they are asked to provide their own PPE when they come into work, including 20% of healthcare and social assistance employees and 33% of retail employees. About half (49%) of the business leaders group said cost prevented them from implementing PPE for all employees. [Click image to enlarge]
A majority of employees (54%) believe used PPE could pose an infection risk in the workplace, and only 37% said their workplace has a designated PPE disposal bin. Around one in four employees said they dispose of their PPE at their desk.
About 38% are worried about contracting the disease at work, and 44% said they are concerned that their coworkers are not following safety protocols. Another 34% of employees said they would leave their job or look for a new job if their employer did not offer specific Covid-19 safety protocols.
A majority of businesses (50%) plan to dedicate 2% to 10% of their 2021 annual budget to Covid-19 safety. Compared with the other three industries, healthcare and social assistance companies were the most likely to dedicate more than 20% of their annual budget for next year to Covid-19 safety. [Click image to enlarge]
Nearly half (48%) of businesses plan to offer a Covid-19 vaccine at their workplace, but 33% of employees do not plan to receive the vaccine. Approximately 24% of employees said they would not feel comfortable working alongside colleagues who did not receive the vaccine.
“Beyond the pandemic, safety will continue to be a priority for employees in every industry. While emphasizing urgent safety protocols throughout the pandemic is crucial, business leaders should also begin to determine what a safety-first future entails for their organization,” the report states.
Photo credit: Ada daSilva, Getty Images, Stericycle