Recognizing that adherence to public health protocols in the workplace is essential to reducing the spread of the virus, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted today to create the nation’s first Public Health Councils program. It will be implemented by the Department of Public Health in order to improve adherence to health guidelines and stem the spread of the virus. The program will train employees to help monitor the safety of their own workplace. LA County continues to see significant outbreaks of COVID-19 in workplaces where health order compliance has been lax.
“This is an all-hands on deck moment,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, author of the motion, “and I’m proud that LA County is launching this first-in-the-nation program. As COVID-19 caseloads rise again, it is imperative that every employer and employee do their utmost to fully implement public health protocols to ensure the safety of members of the public as well as employees and their families.”
DPH will partner with certified worker organizations to support employees interested in forming workplace councils. Those councils will receive training on County health order protocols to help monitor compliance at their worksite. Participation in the program by employees is voluntary.
The motion passed today also directs County Counsel to draft an anti-retaliation ordinance to protect employees who may identify possible violations. That ordinance is expected to be voted on by the Board of Supervisors on November 24.
“Every worker has the right to feel safe in their workplace and to voice concerns without fear of losing their job,” said the motion’s co-author, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The Public Health Councils and proposed anti-retaliation ordinance will protect thousands of workers and provide the tools desperately needed to curb workplace infections during the pandemic.”
The launch of the Public Health Council program comes on the heels of an earlier innovative public health program initiated during the pandemic. Nearly 3,000 local employers have completed the Department of Public Health’s recently-launched Safety Compliance Certificate Program.