Douglas L. Parker Nominated by U.S. President Biden for Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health

As head of Cal-OSHA, California’s workplace safety organization, Douglas Parker was responsible for implementing and enforcing that state’s emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Douglas L. Parker for Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Labor. Parker, as the director of Cal-OSHA, California’s workplace safety agency, directed that state’s efforts to implement an emergency workplace COVID standard. The Biden administration continues to weigh whether or not it should issue an emergency temporary standard that includes Covid-19-related workplace safety regulations.

Parker, of San Francisco, Calif., previously served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration and was a member of the Biden-Harris transition team focused on worker health and safety issues. He also held positions as a senior policy advisor and special assistant at the Department … Read more...

The New Retool: Pivoting Manufacturing to be Ready for Anything


Experts say that because of changes forced on the manufacturing industry by the pandemic and a new administration, we’ll begin to see the evolution of manufacturing as an industry that’s more responsive and adaptive to both markets and consumers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic exploded around the globe, it’s not surprising the industry that makes personal protective equipment (PPE) rapidly ramped up production. The demand for N95 respirators and a range of other vital protective equipment like faceshields, gloves, atmosphere-supplying respirators (supplied-air respirators (SARs), self-contained breathing apparatuses (SCBAs) and combination SARs/SCBAs) and protective garments initially overwhelmed supply.

A video from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA)—“Beyond the Mask”—shows how the PPE industry responded to the unprecedented challenges posed by the worst public-health crisis in a century.

“Beyond the Mask” reveals the behind-the-scenes work involved in getting PPE into the hands of those whose lives depended on it. “In January, … Read more...

Don’t Use COVID-19 as Excuse for OSHA Non-Compliance: Legal Experts

When it comes to recordkeeping, the hardest questions employers are grappling with are whether an incident is recordable or not, and whether it is work-related.

Employers who try to use the pandemic as an excuse for non-compliance with OSHA regulations can expect no mercy from the agency and will still face hefty fines and penalties, according to legal experts.

During a recent webinar hosted by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Todd Logsdon, partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP, and Barry Spurlock, practicing attorney and associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University, offered these and other insights into common questions they have received around how OSHA regulations may or may not have changed in the new COVID landscape. Here is a summary of their observations on a number of top-of-mind topics.

Training During COVID

Many organizations are wondering how to proceed with required training while operating under the onerous restrictions … Read more...

Quality Management Can’t Be Optional Anymore

Here is an unfortunate truth: the story of the COVID-19 pandemic is one of epic quality failures in almost every area imaginable.

While there have been some admirable successes, such as the food and beverage organizations that have ensured the continued safe delivery of food supplies to most regions, failures both large and small have caused an untold amount of damage to the infrastructure of society and business. Arguably, these quality failures have worsened the impact of the pandemic, including economic devastation and even a higher death toll. 

Here are just a few of the quality failures that will become prominent themes in the narrative of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PPE Shortages and Quality Failures 

Almost immediately after the start of the pandemic, healthcare organizations worldwide faced a critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as the crucial N95 respirators that would protect doctors, nurses and other frontline workers from infection. There were … Read more...

Connected Safety Q&A: How the Global COVID-19 Pandemic Is Fueling Innovation and Digital Transformation

Connected Safety at Expert Connect

The outbreak of COVID-19 ushered in dramatic changes to EHSQ management, which, as a result, have propelled leaders to ramp up business continuity efforts, fortify their risk management strategies and improve day-to-day operations to boost efficiency.

In our upcoming Expert Connect Session, Innovating Towards a Future Focused on Connected Safety, Senior Product Marketing Manager Aaron Davis from Intelex Technologies and Tom Henson, Vice President, Global Marketing and Product Management from Industrial Scientific will take you on a journey that will explore how advancements in connected safety and connected worker technologies are changing key areas of EHSQ management, including environmental compliance and hazard monitoring, control of work and lone worker safety.

According to Davis, we’ve reached what he called “an inflection point in innovation” of safety technologies, fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it had not only on business performance and management worldwide but on worker safety. Davis … Read more...

OSHA to Ramp Up COVID-19 Enforcement Under Biden: Law Firm

OSHA COVID-19 Rules

Under the new Joe Biden administration, OSHA will take a more aggressive approach to regulation enforcement and will quickly step up measures to combat the effects of COVID-19 in the workplace, according to a health and safety-focused law firm.

Lawyers at Conn Maciel Carey made these and other OSHA-related predictions in a webinar that took stock of the agency’s recent past under the outgoing Donald Trump Republicans and looked ahead to what 2021 will look like under Biden’s Democrats.

During the pandemic, OSHA’s enforcement efforts have tended to concentrate on a select few types of citations, asserted partner Kate McMahon. These have largely been healthcare-oriented, with less emphasis on manufacturing-related wrongdoing. Biden’s OSHA will broaden that scope, both by industry and by citation type, using a few well-known methods at its disposal, she said.

“The general duty clause is an available tool that we think the Biden administration may use … Read more...

U.S. President Joe Biden Directs OSHA to Explore Temporary Standard to Protect Workers from COVID-19

OSHA Temporary Standard COVID-19

On his first full day in the Oval Office, U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21, 2021 signed a number of executive orders, among them, the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety.

The order states that “Ensuring the health and safety of workers is a national priority and a moral imperative. Healthcare workers and other essential workers, many of whom are people of color and immigrants, have put their lives on the line during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is the policy of my Administration to protect the health and safety of workers from COVID-19.”

The National Safety Council (NSC) issued a statement saying it applauded President Biden for the executive order directing OSHA to determine whether an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is necessary to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19.

“In the last 10 months, employers have operated without a national guideline that provides a uniform level … Read more...

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Construction Industry in the United States

COVID-19 and Construction

New research released by the Center for Construction Research and Training focuses on the economic impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry through September 2020, examining construction spending, new residential construction and the well-being of small businesses.

A recent report published by the Center for Construction Research and Training notes that COVID-19 has had a “stark impact” on the U.S. economy and many industries, including construction. “Impact of COVID-19 on Construction Businesses and Productions,” published by researchers Samantha Brown, MPH, Raina D. Brooks, MPH, Xiuwen Sue Dong, DrPH, found that while stay-at-home orders aided in “flattening the curve,” they had stark impacts on U.S. workers and businesses, including construction.

The pandemic hit some sectors of the construction industry harder than others, researchers reported. Overall construction spending dropped $68.4 billion from January to May and increased by $44.7 billion from May to September in 2020, remaining about $23.7 billion below January … Read more...

How COVID-19 Exposed the Shortcomings of How We Use Data

Data and Healthcare

Many of us spent much of 2020 looking at news reports and websites filled with visual representations of COVID-19 data. We saw epidemiological modelling, financial modelling, graphs, mortality rates, and much more all represented in vivid colors and complex, intersecting lines and bars. Among the many reasons for which we will remember 2020, one will be that it was the year the benefits of data went mainstream.

Yet the COVID-19 pandemic also exposed many of the ways our policies concerning data sharing, quality, and governance have fallen short and failed to provide decision-makers with the information they need when they need it. Although the pandemic is far from over, the development of multiple vaccines that will slow its advance means we must start assessing what we have learned, creating new plans of action, and preparing for making sure we are better prepared next time.

The Trinity Challenge is a coalition … Read more...

Necessity is the Mother of Invention: ISO Responds to COVID-19 with ISO/PAS 45005:2020

ISO 45005:2020 and COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations are reaching previously unimaginable levels of efficiency in their quest to bring stability and safety back to a desperate world. While everyone has been focused on the speed with which pharmaceutical researchers are producing COVID-19 vaccines, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has been working on providing a new specification in the 45000 series for occupational health and safety during the pandemic.


The Development of ISO/PAS 45005:2020


ISO/PAS 45005:2020: Occupational health and safety management—General guidelines for safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic was developed by ISO/TC 283 for Occupational Health and Safety Management in only three months, which is a far cry from the usual three years it takes to develop a standard. ISO/PAS 45005:2020 provides information that helps organizations in the following areas:

  • To protect workers and stakeholders from COVID-19 in the workplace.
  • To provide evidence that it is
Read more...