Kelly and Gieser Predict Effects of Pandemic on Future PPE Compliance

Shook Partner Colin Kelly and Associate Caroline Gieser have authored an article for the CorporateLiveWire Insurance & Risk Management 2021 titled "Behind the mask - A look at how mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic may improve PPE compliance in a post COVID-19 world."

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 global pandemic has changed many aspects of ordinary life for people throughout the world in deeply negative ways. Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, temperature checks, and social distancing have become not just routine but a daily requirement of living. As inconvenient as these practices seem in private life, they are likely to have a long-lasting positive impact in manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and food service industries well after the pandemic. Increased comfort and use of PPE in daily living may be the silver lining of the pandemic when it comes to changing habits to ensure better long-term health and safety in the workplace.

Employers have long had to combat the dangerous habit of workers ignoring workplace PPE policies despite longstanding and well-known safety and health benefits. As recently as 2019, lack of respiratory protection was in the top 10 most violated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Non-compliance with respiratory protection can be very costly for employers both from the standpoint of short-term insurability and long term general liability risk. OSHA estimates that the average cost of a workplace respiratory injury is $86,127, with $41,013 attributed to direct costs and $45,114 attributed to indirect costs.