Ready to Return: Our Return-To-Work Tools Can Help You Safely and Successfully Reopen Your Workplace

Cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination, and ventilation of the work area is an important step in returning employees safely to the workplace.

As a result of COVID-19, it is no longer business as usual. As businesses ramp back up, employers need a plan to reopen keeping safety and productivity top of mind.

Your COVID-19 Preparedness Plan should establish the policies, practices and conditions necessary to meet the regulatory requirements where you do business.

What Your RTW Plan Should Address

The plan should include and describe how your business will implement, at a minimum, the following:

  • Infection prevention measures;
  • Prompt identification and isolation of sick workers;
  • Engineering and administrative controls for social distancing;
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, decontamination, and ventilation of the work area;
  • Communications and training for managers and workers necessary to implement the plan; and
  • Provision of management and supervision necessary to ensure effective ongoing implementation of the plan.

If you are a … Read more...

How a Robust EHS Solution can Help you Address COVID-19 Related Challenges in your Organization

With the profusion of COVID-19 related information readily available, it’s critical to focus on the things you can control and to create an action-based plan of attack. While creating long-term plans is important, there are actions that should be taken today.

It makes sense to start with identifying the resources and tools that you need to successfully protect employees. Once you’ve established buy-in from leadership, develop a dedicated task force (if possible) that combines EHS, quality, production, human resources and other internal shareholders who can help develop a return-to-work strategy. Once that task force has been created, the next step is to identify the tools required to address this.

Gaining Insights from Organizations Who Launched Employee Benefit-Focused COVID-19 Response Programs

Since the outbreak of this pandemic, there have been some companies that have introduced some innovative solutions to manage issues they have faced related to COVID-19. These success stories have … Read more...

OSHA Guidance for the Construction Industry During Coronavirus Disease 2019

OSHA recently published COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce.

(This Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) blog is reprinted with permission from the authors and from the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.)

We have issued several GT Alerts on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our first Alert, published Jan. 31, 2020, provided general information on OSHA requirements and steps for employers to consider as COVID-19 began to appear in the United States, before work shutdown and shelter orders were in place.

The second alert, published March 25, 2020, provided guidance for essential workers. The third alert, published April 14, 2020, examined whether an employee’s COVID-19 case is work-related and recordable. This fourth alert covers recently published guidance provided by OSHA for the construction industry, “COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce.”

List of COVID-19 Recommendations

Although OSHA targeted the construction industry, this concise list … Read more...

Enhance Your COVID-19 Response Tactics via Our Top 10 Practices

With COVID-19 continuing to have a profound impact on businesses today, organizations are turning to robust tools, enhanced processes and subject matter expertise to help them address current challenges. In fact, experts claim that implementing a multi-faced approach is the only way to ensure that health risks are mitigated, the spread is slowed down and, equally as importantly, that business continuity is ensured.

The logical questions are then: how do we go about doing this and where do we start? As they say, when you don’t know where to begin, start anywhere.

Achieving Long-Term Results | A 3-Pronged Approach

To find solutions to the ever-growing challenges of this crisis, we can break them down into 3 main categories. These are:  internal processes and practices, the provision of proper equipment and cleaning supplies and implementing Health and Safety-specific tools.

Our Expertise in a One-Stop Shop

As leaders in the ESHQ space, … Read more...

Not ‘Business as Usual’: Intelex Joins the NSC SAFER Task Force to Provide Guidance for the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Intelex is joining a task force representing over 50 organizations as part of the NSC Safe Actions for Employee Return to Work (SAFER) initiative, which will issue recommendations and guidance about post-pandemic return-to-work.

After months of economic and industrial disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world are either beginning to bring workers back to the physical workplace or are in the planning process. Asia and some countries in Europe have reopened factories and eased restrictions on travel, and other countries are looking to follow suit as new infection rate curves flatten.   

As organizations navigate the actual and potential return-to-work scenarios resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Safety Council (NSC) has launched an initiative to help organizations create safe workplaces. The NSC Safe Actions for Employee Return to Work (SAFER) initiative will leverage a newly formed task force of national safety and health leaders from Fortune 500 companies, industry associations, and government and medical organizations. Lending their … Read more...

Is COVID-19 a Workplace Illness? OSHA Attempts to Clarify Recordkeeping

OSHA hopes its latest enforcement guidance helps employers focus their response efforts on implementing good hygiene practices in their workplaces and otherwise mitigating COVID-19’s effects.

OSHA has issued interim guidance for enforcing its recordkeeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19.

Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is considered a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for reporting cases of COVID-19 as workplace injuries and illnesses if the case:

  • 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.

In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, many employers may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work, making accurate injury and illness reporting … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Emergency Response Planning, Preparation and Training

In Part Five of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains why you should not leave crisis planning to chance.

It’s not if but when a crisis event occurs at your facility, so make sure you have planned for it and employees are trained in emergency response.

How an organization handles emergency response during a crisis – and the communications of such events – cannot be left to chance. Planning, preparation and especially, training contribute to successfully managing emergency response. So, handle these in a way that benefits you as a practitioner and the organization you represent.  

Personally, and with few exceptions, I always was totally surprised when a crisis event happened. Some were small events, others quite large and complex, but most were very unexpected. Don’t think that a crisis event might happen, because at some point, such an event will occur. Prepare employees by providing emergency … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Government Agencies

In Part Four of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to know and understand regulations – local, state, and federal – that require reports to be filed following an emergency situation such as an environmental spill or employee injury.

Some emergency situations require reporting to local, regional or federal agencies, which may step in to coordinate a response.

There are no “hard and fast” rules for the EHS practitioner in reporting a crisis event to government agencies. So, know the regulations required by the specific agency that has jurisdiction over your operation.

For instance, in the United States, an environmental emergency is reportable to EPA when there’s a threat that reaches a threshold limit. Likewise, OSHA has similar protocols when fatal or specifically defined injuries occur.

Understand Reporting Requirements

It is vital that you understand the reporting requirements for all government … Read more...

Intelex: Supporting COVID-19 Crisis Response and Prevention Efforts

The global COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the world into a state of nervousness and uncertainty. People everywhere are adapting to new realities that would have been unfathomable just months ago.   

Justin McElhattan, President, Industrial Scientific / Intelex Technologies, ULC., announced March 20 that Intelex is offering its Intelex Environment, Health, Safety, and Quality software platform free of charge to those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 in the communities in which the company operates and our employees live and work. These include the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Thames Valley and London (UK), Denver, Sydney (Australia), and Pittsburgh, where its parent company, Industrial Scientific, is headquartered.

Intelex is ready to support COVID-19   crisis response efforts.

“Municipalities, first responders, public health organizations, healthcare facilities, and all other life-essential services providers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak, we stand with you,” said Justin McElhattan, President, Industrial Scientific / Intelex Technologies, ULC. “With nearly 30 years of experience in protecting the health and … Read more...

OSHA Releases Guidance About Preparing the Workplace for the Threat of COVID-19

OSHA urges employers to take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

OSHA has released a guidance about best practices for COVID-19 and the workplace. The “Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19” planning guidance is based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE).

For employers who have already planned for influenza pandemics, planning for COVID-19 may involve updating plans. These plans could address the specific exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and other unique characteristics of SARS-CoV-2.

Employers who have not prepared for pandemic events can still take steps to prepare their workplaces and workers. It’s not too late to create a business continuity plan. In addition, provide cross-functional training for workers so that they can step in for quarantined coworkers … Read more...