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Campus Custodians Seek Full PPE Protection

University of Miami workers voice concern about cleaning quarantined areas

September 15, 2020

As the number University of Miami students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 grows, campus custodians worry about protecting themselves on the job, National Public Radio reports.

Through their union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ, the custodians, who work for a subcontractor, have requested additional personal protective equipment (PPE), including protective gowns and N95 masks, when cleaning common areas of quarantined floors in campus dormitories. They also want hazmat suits to wear when they are disinfecting areas suspected to be contaminated with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The university has reported nearly 300 cases of COVID-19 among students and employees since the start of the fall semester. Dozens of students who have tested positive or come into contact with infected people have been quarantined in on-campus housing.

The custodians’ employer has given them face shields, gloves, and surgical masks, although some custodians say they have not received a fresh mask every day. The employer says its employees have the supplies they need to stay safe, according to standards from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Download a tip sheet with specifications about the proper PPE to keep frontline workers safe while cleaning areas infected with the coronavirus.

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