NSC Report Finds 39 States Need to Do More to Protect Residents from COVID-19 - National Safety Council

NSC Report Finds 39 States Need to Do More to Protect Residents from COVID-19

Leaders urged to prioritize safety above all else.

September 29, 2020

Itasca, IL – A new National Safety Council report reveals 39 states did not go far enough to protect residents from the century’s biggest threat to safety. Despite COVID-19 claiming more lives than accidental drug overdoses, motor vehicle crashes and falls combined, the State of Response: State Actions to Address the Pandemic report uncovers an inconsistent approach that has jeopardized safety – and may have imperiled it for years to come – due to the pandemic’s impact on issues such as addiction, traffic and workplace safety.

Only 12 states received an "on-track" rating from NSC, with New Mexico, New York, California, Rhode Island and Washington leading the pack with the highest overall ratings. Ten states received an "off-track" rating, with Mississippi and South Dakota receiving the lowest overall rating. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia fell into the middle "lagging" category.

“Many states have shown ingenuity and grit when it comes to protecting citizens, while others fell short,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO. “This report is intended not as a condemnation but as a challenge to states to learn from each other and do better – and a reminder to employers that our workers are the lifeblood of our country, and their safety is paramount. By coming together, we believe states can improve overall safety and health outcomes and strengthen our economic recovery.”

The report assessed states’ efforts in five key areas based on recommendations from the SAFER effort, created by NSC to provide much-needed guidance to businesses as they manage through this crisis. NSC evaluated states on how effectively they performed in employer guidelines, testing, contact tracing, mental health and substance use, and roadway safety. Each state’s overall rating was calculated based on the summary of its ratings in each key area, and, using that data, was given an on-track, lagging or off-track distinction.

States in each category are listed in order of their scores.

States with the most and least comprehensive employer guidelines:

On TrackOff Track

Utah
California
Kentucky
Nevada
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Rhode Island

Florida
Oklahoma
Alaska
Georgia
Idaho
Mississippi
Missouri

States with the best and lowest ratings for testing criteria:

On TrackOff Track

Alaska
California
Colorado
District of Columbia
Maine
Massachusetts
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
Vermont
Washington

Alabama
Arkansas
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah
Virginia
Wisconsin


States with the best and lowest ratings for contact tracing:

On TrackOff Track

Massachusetts
New Jersey
New York
Vermont
Washington
California
Connecticut
New Mexico
Oregon
Utah

Iowa
Mississippi
Montana


States with the best and lowest ratings for addressing mental health:

On TrackOff Track

California
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Vermont
Washington
Delaware
Arizona
Arkansas
Idaho
Illinois
Maine
Massachusetts
New York
Rhode Island
Utah

South Dakota
Alabama
Wyoming
Kansas
South Carolina
District of Columbia
Tennessee



States with the best and lowest ratings for roadway safety:

On TrackOff Track

Alabama
District of Columbia
Illinois
Iowa
Louisiana
Maryland
New York
Oregon
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Washington
Delaware
New Mexico

Massachusetts
Montana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Wyoming


The report also highlights best practices and includes recommendations on ways states can better address these issues, including engaging workplaces, increasing testing and contact tracing capacity, supporting mental health of all citizens and doubling down on roadway safety best practices.

NSC created the SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns effort in April to provide businesses with guidance, tools, and solutions to help them better navigate the pandemic. NSC also monitored the collective efforts to keep Americans safe and healthy. To share the broader implications of our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSC will host the State of COVID-19 Response Summit, presented by SAFER on Dec. 9. Aimed at helping businesses, policymakers and leaders, the summit will feature new reports and offer solutions for working together to keep workplaces safer across the country today and long after this crisis has ended.

Read the full report, view the methodology and learn more about the upcoming summit here.

About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.