Essential factory workers concerned about unsafe conditions

New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state
Posted at 8:02 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 09:05:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Essential workers are still allowed to go to work following Governor Bill Lee's executive order requiring Tennesseans to stay at home. Workers have reached out to NewsChannel 5 with concerns their workplace may not be safe, particularly at factories, because of COVID-19.

During Lee's press conference Thursday, he responded to concerns about unsafe work environments saying if workers don't feel safe, they should speak up. Some factory workers reported their workplace can’t do much for the employees inside to socially distance from their coworkers.

The Nissan plant in Smyrna took action by limiting the amount of employees inside the plant.

They’ve halted production and provided workers with extra protective gear like face shields. General Motors shut down production altogether, impacting the plant in Spring Hill. The Electrolux plant in Springfield is still running because they make products that keep homes functioning.

Governor Lee said employees should first report safety concerns to their employer, but they can also report to their local law enforcement agency if they feel their workplace has unsafe work conditions.

"We've seen a great deal of effort from companies to create safe environments for their employees, but if an employee feels like they're not in a safe environment, for whatever reason, they certainly ought to talk to their employer about that and then take appropriate steps otherwise," Lee said.

In Nashville, workers with safety concerns can report businesses by calling 311 or using the Hub Nashville website or app.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.