Tag Archive | "coronavirus"

OSHA

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Health & Safety Watch: OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program

Posted on 16 March 2021 by cradmin

 In response to President Biden’s executive order on protecting worker health and safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

NEP inspections will enhance the agency’s previous coronavirus enforcement efforts, and will include some follow-up inspections of worksites inspected in 2020. The program’s focused strategy ensures abatement and includes monitoring the effectiveness of OSHA’s enforcement and guidance efforts. The program will remain in effect for up to one year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.

OSHA state plans have adopted varying requirements to protect employees from coronavirus, and OSHA knows many of them have implemented enforcement programs similar to this NEP. While it does not require it, OSHA strongly encourages the rest to adopt this NEP. State plans must notify federal OSHA of their intention to adopt the NEP within 60 days after its issuance.

In a related action, OSHA has also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods. OSHA will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely. On March 18, 2021, OSHA will rescind the May 26, 2020, memorandum on this topic and this new guidance will go into and remain in effect until further notice.

OSHA will ensure that its Compliance Safety and Health Officers have every protection necessary for onsite inspections. When conducting on-site inspections, OSHA will evaluate all risk and utilize appropriate protective measures, including appropriate respiratory protection and other necessary personal protective equipment.

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Health & Safety Feb. 21

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Health & Safety: OSHA Issues Stronger Coronavirus Workplace Guidance

Posted on 01 February 2021 by cradmin

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update this new guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

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MANSTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: A traffic sign directs people towards the temporary testing centre on the site at Manston Airport on August 04, 2020 in Manston, England. A group of Britain's leading virus experts have written to the government, expressing their frustration at the mistakes being made in the country's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the letter, signed by nearly 70 clinical virologists, they state that “Our skills have been underused and underrepresented (albeit to differing extents within the devolved nations of the UK), resulting in lost opportunities to establish a coordinated robust and durable testing framework for Sars-CoV-2.” (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Study Concludes Construction Industry Has Among Highest COVID-19 Positivity Rates

Posted on 22 December 2020 by cradmin

The results of a recent study administered by testing firm Curative in Los Angeles between August and October, were revealed in an article on Construction Dive. The study tracked the results of more than 730,000 COVID-19 tests and compared positive test results with an occupational questionnaire. Although the study has not been certified by peer review, it certainly presents some alarming correlations.

The author of the article quotes Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor at UCLA’s School of Public Health, co-author of the study and Curative’s medical director stating, “In the construction industry, people may still be coming to work if they have symptoms because some have no paid sick leave. The findings are concerning, and warrant a better understanding of the measures put in place to control infection.”

According to the study, construction workers had a positivity rate of 5.7 percent for individuals who were asymptomatic, and 10.1 percent for those with symptoms. When compared to other industries, the positivity rate of construction workers was significantly higher. The next highest industry for asymptomatic individuals, food services, had a rate of just 3.8 percent. Only correctional workers had a higher positivity rate for symptomatic cases; 12.5 percent compared to 10.1 percent of construction workers.

Source: Curative Get the data

The Construction Dive article states that  public health departments in Washington state, Michigan and Nashville, Tenn., have found construction to be among the top three occupational settings where outbreaks occurred. Additionally, a CDC study in Utah found construction to have the second highest number of cases among all industries studied and a University of Texas study concluded that construction workers were five times more likely to be hospitalized with the virus than workers in all other industries.

“Given the rising coronavirus case counts across the country, and its particularly high rates among the demographic groups that make up much of the industry’s workforce, we are definitely seeing more workers testing positive,” said Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs at the Associated General Contractors of America. “The distinction is that the virus is not spreading occupationally — in other words, workers are not getting the virus from their jobsites — but instead is being transmitted via local communities and then workers are showing up, asymptomatic, and testing positive.”

With many of the cases being asymptomatic, companies are finding it difficult to get workers to not bring the virus to the jobsite.

To prevent the spread of the virus, more routine testing at jobsites to identify infected individuals may be an effective solution.

You may also be interested in this article: Health & Safety Watch: Workplace Safety and the Flu

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PPP

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Application Deadline for Paycheck Protection Program Extended

Posted on 06 July 2020 by cradmin3

Saturday July 4 the legislation was signed that extends the deadline for small businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to August 8, 2020.

Enacted in the weeks following the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the PPP allows businesses to get direct government subsidies for payroll, rent and other costs. The subsidies come as federal loans, but those loans can be forgiven if businesses use at least 60 percent of the funds for payroll.

The program had officially ended at midnight on June 30 with around $129 billion in funds remaining, out of the $660 billion that had been allocated. More than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized the program, which was designed as a bridge for companies to maintain their payrolls through the worst of the pandemic.

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Issues Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen & Employees Return to Work

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OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work

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OSHA Issues Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen & Employees Return to Work

Posted on 22 June 2020 by cradmin3

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines provide general principles for updating restrictions originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to focus on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities and employee training.

Non-essential businesses should reopen as state and local governments lift stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and follow public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continue to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection.

Visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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OSHA_COVID.5ea08746cead2

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OSHA Adopts Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

Posted on 27 May 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA’s requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus’s spread, protect employees and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.

Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA’s guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.

Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee’s in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA’s coronavirus webpage.

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Farnsworth-e1588869206752-1024x496

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Conditions for Home Contractors Begin to Stabilize

Posted on 18 May 2020 by CRadmin2

According to an article recently released by Qualified Remodeler, a new weekly survey of home-improvement contractors shows that conditions have improved after the initial COVID-19 lockdown crisis. If you would like to keep track of conditions yourself, the Farnsworth Group and Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) provide frequent updates on how coronavirus is affecting the industry. So far, we are in week 6 of these updates.

According to the Weekly COVID-19 Tracker, contractors are still concerned about how the virus is impacting business, but those who responded to the survey are seeing improvements. In addition, the actual degree of concern has leveled out and started to drop. At the same time that concern about customers being able to pay their balances, seems to have fallen, other concerns are now on the rise, specifically concerns over getting new leads and the availability of materials.

Although contractors are still experiencing delays and a rash of cancelled projects, it looks as though we are at or have surpassed the apex of the arc. The week 6 analysis shows that larger firms have been able to deal with the coronavirus impact while smaller companies are falling short, with some grasping at straws and others having to close. So far, it looks like the larger the company, the better it has been handling the situation.

One of the most promising points of the new, weekly study is that project requests and closures are making a comeback. A lot of small projects are being put on hold, but many homeowners who are determined to get large, high-quality projects completed are closing at above-normal rates.

I highly suggest taking a look at the original Weekly COVID-19 Tracker from the Farnsworth Group and HIRI where you can peruse a bevy of charts, graphs and analyses, and you can sign up for instant access to the full, detailed report, which is segmented by company size and location.

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Video: Park Industries Messaging During Tough Times

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Video: Park Industries Messaging During Tough Times

Posted on 29 April 2020 by cradmin

During the current troubled times that not only this industry, but virtually all industries are facing, it is critical to establish clear messaging that you are there for your customer and will be for the long haul. Park Industries recently put out such a video that is a prime example of just such a message.

It’s critical that the message is honest and genuine, while also comforting, which Park seemed to capture in very good form. Take a look at it and think about your own organization’s position.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and what messages you are putting out during this uncertain situation. At the same time, the company has continued to launch new products and push forward, optimistic about the future.

You may also be interested in this article about Park Industries latest TITAN CNC.

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OSHA Clipboard

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OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance For Recording Cases of COVID-19

Posted on 16 April 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s record-keeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as it relates to recording cases of COVID-19.

Under OSHA’s record-keeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if the following applies:

  • Is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
  • Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  • Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.

OSHA does not consider construction to be a high-risk industry like healthcare and emergency response industries are when it comes to transmission of the virus. As such, the agency said it will not enforce record-keeping requirements to mandate that contractors make determinations regarding whether a COVID-19 case is work related or not. Construction firms can use whatever information is reasonably available to them in deciding whether a COVID-19 case is recordable.

For example, if there are several workers who ride in the same work truck every day and one is diagnosed with COVID-19 and then a second worker who rides in that truck also is diagnosed, that is probably objective evidence that the transmission is work related. However, if both workers attended the same party at the home of someone who had COVID-19, then the employer can consider that evidence as well and determine the cases are not work related.

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Releases Alert and Guidance on COVID-19

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Webinar: Analysis of Family First Coronavirus Response Act

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Webinar: Analysis of Family First Coronavirus Response Act

Posted on 26 March 2020 by cradmin

This recorded webinar shared March 24, 2020, by Allied Construction Industries helps businesses understand and navigate the emergency rules set forth by HR 2601 – the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act.” It focuses on how these emergency guidelines may affect your business and employees.

Keep in mind this does not cover any potential information of the federal COVID-19 stimulus package going through Congress.

Download the full webinar here.

For the latest government information on COVID-19, visit Coronavirus.gov for the latest official information from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force.

You may also be interested in this article: U.S. Department of Labor Provides COVID-19 Resources

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