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...

People, Processes, and Tools: How Industrial Scientific and Intelex are Securing the Vaccine Cold Supply Chain

Students of history know that wars are often won and lost on the basis of their supply chains. Delivering the materials for war, such as ammunitions, medical supplies, and food, is a vital function in any military operation. An efficient and resilient supply chain can mean the difference between a world-class military and a ramshackle group of people unable to manage the basic principles of organization.

In the battle against the novel coronavirus, the supply chain for delivering the vaccine will be as vital for defeating the virus as was the research that produced the vaccine. Hundreds of thousands of workers and a mix of dozens of public and private organizations will make up the army that will be required to deliver the vaccine to the people that need it the most. Cutting-edge technology solutions for health and safety will be vital to ensuring the safety and security of the … Read more...

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GAS HAZARDS AND THE COVID VACCINE

COIVD-19 vaccine and gas hazards

The latest blog by industrial Scientific (below) examines how the methods for storing and transporting the COVID-19 vaccine come with invisible hazards.  

I write this while sitting in a bed in the ER because it’s that urgent. We need to get 14 more of the O2 GasBadge Pro monitors… ASAP.”

This rush order was a request from an EHS leader at a world-renowned medical center.

The order came on the heels of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine and the distribution of those vaccine doses to health care facilities across the United States. The vaccine, manufactured by Pfizer, must be kept extremely cold at temperatures of minus 70 degrees Celsius and methods for storing and transporting the vaccine come with invisible hazards.

Both processes hinge upon the cold temperatures that are necessary to properly sustain the vaccine doses. Gas detection is a crucial element of ensuring safety in the distribution … Read more...

How Amazon’s $800M Investment on Employee Safety is Aligned with the National Safety Council’s Safety Insights

Amazon's worker safety investments

The retail giant Amazon is setting a precedent in another area–by committing to investing $800M in worker safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. From purchasing testing equipment to hygiene-related cleaning supplies to developing new roles and practices, Amazon’s efforts to strengthen its safety culture closely align with the insights and recommendations provided to companies by the National Safety Council (NSC).

If there’s an organization that has been making news in the last few years, Amazon tops the list. From its highly popular Amazon Prime program to their use of AI in elevating logistics- and transportation-related processes, they are also an early adopter of technology and a champion of the customer experience.

Now they about to make a mark in the worker safety area.

Amazon’s Plan to Transform their Worker Safety Practices and Programs


With the end-goal of creating a strong worker safety program and culture, executives have committed to investing $800MRead more...

Do You Know How Cold-Chain Requirements for the COVID-19 Vaccine Can Impact its Time to Launch?

COVID-19 Vaccine cold supply chain
The Good News: The Vaccines Work


News of promising results in COVID-19 vaccine research has brought a glimmer of hope to people around the world. Within the space of two weeks, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced that early results of their front-runner vaccines show an effectiveness rate of about 95%. The news catalyzed an upsurge in the stock market and spurred governments around the world to begin planning for delivering the vaccines to the most vulnerable populations.


The Bad News: Delivering the Vaccine Will Be Challenging


While the world’s attention has been on the vaccine as a way out of the COVID-19 crisis, distributing the vaccine globally will require one of the largest logistical operations in modern history. The most significant barrier to large-scale distribution is the requirement of a seamless cold-chain. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at an ultra-cold -75C, while Moderna’s vaccine requires storage at … Read more...

World Quality Day: COVID-19 Accelerates Push for Quality Maturity in Life Sciences

COVID-19 Quality Supply Chains FDA

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges to quality and supply chain management within the life sciences industry. Drug shortages caused by unprecedented supply and demand pressures continue to be significant challenges for many life sciences companies today and for the general public at large as the pandemic continues to escalate.


The Fragile State of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chains in the US


According to a recent report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), the US domestic pharmaceutical supply chain remains in a state of heightened vulnerability, with almost three quarters of the critical drugs required to treat COVID-19 patients facing significant shortages. The current shortages have brought quality management into the spotlight for many life science organizations and have tightened the focus on issues of quality maturity across the larger pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain.

Beyond supply chain disruption, additional factors including implementation of new public health safety protocols, … Read more...