Category: Safety

Help Avoid and Defend Against COVID-19 Lawsuits by Following OSHA, CDC, and Other Guidelines

The nation’s employment attorneys are anticipating an onslaught of lawsuits over workplace exposures to COVID-19. To help avoid these lawsuits, and mount an affirmative defense if they do occur, it is recommended that employers develop a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control plan. A single document showing that the company is carefully following OSHA, CDC, and health department guidance, to help prevent employees from contracting and spreading the virus, would go a long way towards an affirmative defense, should a lawsuit ensue. A current comprehensive plan establishes a record showing how thoughtful and complete the company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been. If you don’t have a current exposure control plan, see the MCAA Model COVID-19 Return to Work Exposure Control Plan for guidance.

Once you have established your company’s exposure control plan it is critical that you keep it updated. OSHA, CDC, health department, and local critical industries requirements change frequently due to constant COVID-19 research. Carefully monitor MCAA’s COVID-19 Resource Center to help keep your plan updated.

COVID-19 Temperature & Symptoms Screening Toolkit

In the United States, temperature and other symptom checks would normally constitute an overly broad medical exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as various state non-discrimination laws. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with CDC and other guidance, the EEOC has provided guidance permitting employers to measure employees’ body temperature and to ask about other COVID-19 symptoms. Employers that choose to measure employee body temperatures and monitor for other symptoms should:

  • Establish a consistent process for conducting such screening and excluding symptomatic individuals to promote workplace safety;
  • Adopt measures to mitigate the risk of claims under laws related to discrimination, wage payment, leaves of absence or medical privacy; and
  • Be mindful of employee relations considerations. 

The Temperature and Symptom Screening Toolkit, which was prepared by Littler Mendelson, P.C., is intended to assist employers to achieve these objectives.

MCAA & CNA Excavation Safety Resources Are Readily Available

With the nation’s attention towards occupational safety and health on COVID-19, it’s important to remember and address the other potential hazards. One of those potential hazards is excavation cave-ins, which frequently result in fatalities without the appropriate protective systems in place.

MCAA and safety partner CNA have several excavation safety resources that are readily available to you.

MCAA’s excavation safety resources include a worker safety training video, pocket guide, training documentation sheet, 20-question multiple choice test with answer key, and an easily tailorable model excavation safety program. CNA’s excavation safety resources include damage prevention guidelines for underground utilities and a trench inspection checklist.

MCAA EXCAVATION SAFETY RESOURCES

CNA DAMAGE PREVENTION GUIDELINES

CNA TRENCH INSPECTION CHECKLIST

FDA Advises Against Hand Sanitizers Made by Eskbiochem

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that hand sanitizers manufactured by Eskbiochem SA de CV in Mexico may contain methanol (wood alcohol), which can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested. The FDA has identified the following products manufactured by Eskbiochem:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

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The Next Qualified Level Arc Flash Safety Training Webinars Scheduled for July 23, 2020

Make sure your service techs have the up-to-date safety training they need to protect themselves from arc flash and electrical shock hazards while working on equipment pushing 480 volts or less. The session covers all applicable OSHA requirements, NFPA 70E provisions, best practices, and real-world accident information.

VIEW BROCHURE

The next two training webinars will be presented on July 23, 2020. The first webinar will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. EST, and the second is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST.

REGISTER TODAY

Take advantage of the MCAA/MSCA member discounted webinar prices below.

PRICING:

# of Trainees (per company)Cost (per person)
1-5$200/person
6-10$175/person
11-25$150/person
26-50$125/person
51-100$ 100/person
101+Email for Pricing

If you can’t make it in July, the webinar will be taught again twice on August 20, 2020. Questions? Contact Pete Chaney.

Updates to MCAA’s Model COVID-19 Return to Work Exposure Control Plan

New information from research on COVID-19 is being generated constantly. This reality requires us to carefully monitor the new information and make updates to MCAA’s Model COVID-19 Return to Work Exposure Control Plan as necessary. MCAA’s model plan was recently updated. We recommend that you evaluate the changes to determine whether your company’s plan also requires an update.

The recent changes include:

  1. The addition of Appendix B – Critical Industries Requirements Summary
  2. The addition of Appendix H – OSHA Guidance on Returning to Work
  3. Text changes regarding OSHA now allowing face shields in lieu of cloth face coverings when appropriate
  4. Text changes regarding the cleaning of power tool batteries
  5. Text changes regarding surgical masks/PPE

UPDATED MODEL PLAN

Acceptable Alternatives to Cloth Face Coverings When Deemed Inappropriate for COVID-19 Protection

Where cloth face coverings are not appropriate in the work environment or during certain tasks (e.g., because they could become contaminated or exacerbate heat illness), OSHA allows employers to provide alternative PPE, such as face shields and/or surgical masks.

Like cloth face coverings, surgical masks and face shields can help contain the employee’s potentially infectious respiratory droplets and help limit the spread of COVID-19. Using a face shield in lieu of a cloth face covering can help workers stay cooler in hot climates and reduce the fogging of safety glasses.

If you choose to provide your employees with face shields, it is important they understand the difference between face shields rated for construction tasks (e.g., grinding) and face shields used in the medical industry, which have no built-in impact protection. Most importantly, make sure all your employees have the proper face protection based on the work they will be performing.

Prepare for the Summer Heat with MCAA & CNA Safety Resources

Prepare your workers for the hot summer days by providing them with the knowledge they need to prevent heat stress related illnesses.

Common heat stress related illnesses and accompanying symptoms include:

  • Heat Stroke: The body loses its ability to sweat, and can’t control its temperature (HEAT STROKE IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY)
  • Heat Exhaustion: The body sweats away too much water and salt
  • Heat Syncope: The body’s blood pressure becomes too low, resulting in dizziness or fainting and
  • Heat Cramps: The body experiences painful muscle spasms.

MCAA Safety Resources Provide Training Talks

MCAA’s safety resources are available for free as a benefit of membership. Be sure to check out:

MCAA’s full range of safety resources are available via our Direct Links to MCAA & MSCA Safety Resources page.

CNA Offers Guidance

Long-time MCAA partner in safety CNA offers guidance on the subject in one of its highly informative risk control bulletins.

OSHA Revises COVID-19 Enforcement Plan

OSHA recently revised its plan for enforcing safe workplace requirements concerning COVID-19. The memorandum the agency sent to its regional administrators provides instructions and guidance for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports. The previous COVID-19 enforcement guidance document sent to the regional administrators back in April is being rescinded. In summary, the agency plans to proceed as follows.

  • In geographic areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to the inspection planning policy that OSHA relied on prior to the start of the COVID-19 health crises, as outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM), CPL 02-00-164, Chapter 2, when prioritizing reported events for inspections, except that:
    • OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases;
    • OSHA will utilize non-formal phone/fax investigations or rapid response investigations in circumstances where OSHA has historically performed such inspections (e.g., to address formal complaints) when necessary to assure effective and efficient use of resources to address COVID-19-related events; and
    • In all instances, the Area Director (AD) will ensure that CSHOs utilize the appropriate precautions and personal protective equipment (PPE) when performing inspections related to COVID-19.
  • In geographic areas experiencing either sustained elevated community transmission or a resurgence in community transmission of COVID-19, ADs will exercise their discretion, including consideration of available resources, to:
    • Continue prioritizing COVID-19 fatalities and imminent danger exposures for inspection. Particular attention for on-site inspections will be given to high-risk workplaces, such as hospitals and other healthcare providers treating patients with COVID-19, as well as workplaces, with high numbers of complaints or known COVID-19 cases.
      • Where resources are insufficient to allow for on-site inspections, the inspections for these types of reported events will be initiated remotely with an expectation that an on-site component will be performed if/when resources become available to do so.
      • Where limitations on resources are such that neither an on-site nor remote inspection is possible, OSHA will investigate these types of reported events using a rapid response investigation (RRI) to identify any hazards, provide abatement assistance, and confirm abatement.
      • OSHA will develop a program to conduct monitoring inspections from a randomized sampling of fatality or imminent danger cases where inspections were not conducted due to resource limitations.
    • Utilize non-formal phone/fax investigation instead of an on-site inspection in industries where doing so can address the relevant hazard(s); and
    • Ensure that CSHOs utilize the appropriate precautions and PPE to protect against potential exposures to COVID-19.

MEMORANDUM

OSHA Revises Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19

OSHA recently sent revised enforcement guidance to it’s regional administrators regarding affected employers’ obligation to record and report work-related cases of COVID-19. The memorandum makes it clear that employers must make a good faith effort to determine whether a case of COVID-19 is work-related, and if so, record and report the illnesses if the other required recording/reporting criteria also applies. Examples, of considerations that employers should make, which are described in the memorandum, are as follows:

  • COVID-19 illnesses are likely work-related when several cases develop among workers who work closely together and there is no alternative explanation.
  • An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely work-related if it is contracted shortly after lengthy, close exposure to a particular customer or coworker who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and there is no alternative explanation.
  • An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely work-related if his/her job duties include having frequent, close exposure to the general public in a locality with ongoing community transmission and there is no alternative explanation.
  • An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he/she is the only worker to contract COVID-19 in his/her vicinity and his/her job duties do not include having frequent contact with the general public, regardless of the rate of community spread.
  • An employee’s COVID-19 illness is likely not work-related if he/she, outside the workplace, closely and frequently associates with someone (e.g., a family member, significant other, or close friend) who (1) has COVID-19; (2) is not a coworker, and (3) exposes the employee during the period in which the individual is likely infectious.
  • CSHOs should give due weight to any evidence of causation, pertaining to the employee illness, at issue provided by medical providers, public health authorities, or the employee himself/herself.

MEMORANDUM

STOP USE of Certain 3M Arc Flash Fall Arrest Harnesses

Certain 3M™ Fall Protection Specific DBI-SALA® Delta™ & Exofit XP™ Arc Flash Harnesses with an Integrated 18 in. Nylon D-Ring Extension failed arc flash testing. The company has issued a STOP USE NOTICE to all affected customers. The affected harnesses are listed in the stop use notice.

Certain 3M™ Fall Protection Custom DBI-SALA® Delta™ & Exofit XP™ Arc Flash Harnesses will not be tested, and therefore, are being recalled by the company. The company is requesting that customers return the harnesses for a cash rebate. The affected harnesses are listed in the stop use notice.

STOP USE NOTICE

Caution Your Workers About Exposure to COVID-Disinfecting Chemicals

Some of the chemicals being used to disinfect jobsite surfaces can cause COVID-19 like symptoms in recently disinfected areas without adequate ventilation and/or other protective measures. MCAA recommends that you train all employees to ask appropriate onsite personnel whether chemical disinfection for COVID-19 has been performed recently in the areas they will be working. When chemicals have been recently used in those work areas, workers should request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the chemical(s) to determine what the health hazards are, and how they can protect themselves. Once they have the SDS(s) they should pay special attention to Section 2 Hazard(s) Identification and Section 8 Exposure Controls/Personal Protection.

Two New Sources for COVID-19 PPE

There are two new sources for COVID-19 PPE, cloth face coverings, hand sanitizer, etc. for MCAA members. One is the company MONTCO and the other is long-time MCAA partner RESCUE ONE. Both companies are credible, reliable, and have good relationships with MCAA.

MONTCO:

MCAA member discount prices are available with MONTCO if you use the discount code “MCA-1” when placing your order. MONTCO is working on an MCAA member order sheet, but in the meantime, you can place your order by e-mail or telephone at: mdelladonna@comcast.net, 610-935-9545

MONTCO INVENTORY

RESCUE ONE:

To order items from Rescue One, contact Carl Murphy at cmurphy@rescue-one.com or 301-740-3390 ext.12. If unavailable, please contact Dean Tschudy at dtschudy@rescue-one.com or 301-740-339 ext.34.

RESCUE ONE INVENTORY

The Next Qualified Level Arc Flash Safety Training Webinars Scheduled for June 18, 2020

Make sure your service techs have the up-to-date safety training they need to protect themselves from arc flash and electrical shock hazards while working on equipment pushing 480 volts or less. The session covers all applicable OSHA requirements, NFPA 70E provisions, best practices, and real-world accident information.

VIEW BROCHURE

The next two training webinars will be presented on June 18, 2020. The first webinar will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. EST, and the second is from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST.

REGISTER NOW

Take advantage of the MCAA/MSCA member discounted webinar prices below.

PRICING:

# of Trainees (per company)Cost (per person)
1-5$200/person
6-10$175/person
11-25$150/person
26-50$125/person
51-100$ 100/person
101+Email for Pricing

If you can’t make it in June, the webinar will be taught again twice on July 23, 2020. Questions? Contact Pete Chaney.

Critical Change to CDC’s Discontinuing Isolation Guideline

Based on new COVID-19 research the CDC has recently changed their guidelines regarding discontinuing isolation for individuals with symptoms of the virus who are caring for themselves at home. The original guidelines for discontinuing isolation specified that at least 7 days had passed since symptoms first appeared and, at least 3 days (72 hours) had passed since recovery. Recovery is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath). The CDC’s change increases the period of recommended isolation by 3 days, from 7 to 10 days after symptoms begin. Please be sure to change your company’s COVID-19 exposure control plans accordingly.

FURTHER CLARIFICATION & EXAMPLES:

Worker has symptoms, but has not tested positive: Any employee who has not tested positive, but who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 is required to stay off the jobsite until he or she is free of symptoms for 72 hours or more without the use of fever-reducing, or other symptom-altering medications.

Worker tests positive, but has no symptoms: Any employee who does test positive, but is symptom free may return to work when at least 10 days have passed since the date of his or her first positive test, and he or she has not had a subsequent illness. 

Worker tested positive, has symptoms and is caring for self at home: Any employees who does test positive and is caring for him or herself at home may return to work when at least 72 hours have passed since recovery, and at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared. 

Worker tested positive and has been hospitalized: Any employee who tests positive and has been hospitalized may return to work when permitted to do so by his or her medical care provider.

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Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers Are Flammable

Using an effective hand sanitizer is one of the most important things everyone can do to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true on construction jobsites and in mechanical service areas where there is no running water. To be effective against COVID-19, the CDC states that hand sanitizers must contain at least 70% alcohol. Since alcohol is flammable, we must be extremely careful when using it. Many things on a jobsite can serve as an ignition source, such as a lighter, a welding torch striker, welding and grinding sparks, even static electricity.

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Updated MILWAUKEE TOOL COVID-19 Resource Guide

MCAA’s long-time partner Milwaukee Tool has updated their COVID-19 Resource Guide to include additional content on best practices for remote meetings, eSERVICE tool repairs and digital training resources. The guide addresses tool cleaning, operations protocols, digital training, shipping and inventory updates, Milwaukee Tool’s #TOGETHERweSTAND campaign and how to stay in contact with Milwaukee Tool. The guide also includes links to sample documents, including a Health Screening Planning FormHealth Pre-Screening Questionnaire and Potential Considerations for Documenting Procedures. MCAA thanks Milwaukee Tool for the long-standing partnership, and for sharing these resources with MCAA.

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