Safety & Health

Director: David Mullen
 
OSHA: New Guidance on Mitigating and Prevention of the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace

OSHA has issued updated guidance for workplaces other than healthcare workers. This guidance will help employers and workers in industries other than healthcare, protect workers who are still not vaccinated, with special emphasis on other industries noted for prolonged close-contacts like meat processing, manufacturing, seafood, and grocery and high-volume retail. This new guidance covers the construction industry and all other industries.

OSHA also issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to protect healthcare workers from contracting coronavirus.  The standard focuses on healthcare workers most likely to have contact with someone infected with the virus. OSHA announced the new standard alongside new general industry guidance, both of which are aligned with Centers for Disease Control guidance. The emergency temporary standard establishes new requirements for settings where employees provide healthcare or health care support services, including skilled nursing homes and home healthcare, with some exemptions for healthcare providers who screen out patients who may have COVID-19.   

Here is new guidance issued today that covers construction (and everyone else): https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/safework#executive-summary

Here is the ETS for healthcare: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets


Registration is OPEN for the 2021 IBEW Safety Caucus

The 2021 IBEW Safety Caucus will be on August 24, 2021 and will be 100% virtual using Zoom. The caucus will begin at 10:00 a.m. eastern and conclude at approximately 6:30 p.m. eastern. Safety issues and initiatives important to all IBEW members from all trade classifications will be during the caucus. There is no registration fee to attend and links for the caucus as well as specific zoom links to each breakout session will be provided at a later date.
Please use this link to register and a draft agenda of the caucus can be found here.
NEW Workplace Resources for COVID-19 from OSHA, May 1, 2021

OSHA has updated their comprehensive document for Workplace Resources for COVID-19 as of May 1, 2021
This document is information shared by OSHA and other agencies and organizations on COVID-19. This document contains a section with resources on reopening workplaces, cloth face coverings and respiratory protection, and vaccines, and additional industry-specific COVID-19 resources grouped by industry. 

To view click on:  Workplace COVID-19 Resources May 1, 2021.pdf

Labor Unions Step Up to Help with Vaccination Efforts!!

The North American Building Trade Unions have sent a letter to President Biden offering their local union halls and training centers as injection sites for the COVID-19 vaccine.
https://nabtu.org/press_releases/nabtu-offers-all-training-centers-and-union-halls-to-presidential-covid-19-relief-taskforce-for-national-vaccine-distribution/
Additionally, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees have offered the White House and FEMA support with their labor and infrastructure in an effort to build or convert vaccination sites across the country.

Biden Administration Issues Executive Order to Protect Workers from COVID-19

President Biden has immediately taken steps to protect workers from COVID-19. This Executive Order (EO) is contained within his 200 page National Strategy For The COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness document.

The specific EO on Protecting Worker Safety & Health calls for revised guidelines to be issued within two weeks, a determination if an Emergency Temporary Standard is needed and if so, an ETS must be issued by March 15, 2021. The order calls for coordination with states and other Federal agencies to cover other workers.

Here is a link to the entire National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness
(The EO on Protecting Worker Safety & Health can be found on Pages 170-173)

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/National-Strategy-for-the-COVID-19-Response-and-Pandemic-Preparedness.pdf 


A Quick Guide for Respirators, Face Masks and Face Shields

Click here to view a chart created by the AFL-CIO that may answer some questions about respirators, face masks and shields.

This document outlines certification requirements, uses and OSHA requirements for different types of respirators, face masks and shields.


NIOSH Fact Sheet on COVID-19  

NIOSH has redone their home web page. Click on "workplace resources" from their home page to get to the COVID-19 fact sheets for different industries and the burn rate calculator, etc....  

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/index.htm


OSHA Press Release:

U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Employers That They Cannot Retaliate Against Workers Reporting Unsafe Conditions During Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours.

“Employees have the right to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. “Any worker who believes that their employer is retaliating against them for reporting unsafe working conditions should contact OSHA immediately.”

Workers have the right to file a whistleblower complaint online with OSHA (or 1-800-321-OSHA) if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under the whistleblower protection laws enforced by the agency.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage provides valuable resources on worker rights, including fact sheets on whistleblower protections for employees in various industries and frequently asked questions.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit the OSHA website.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease

Responding to the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed guidance for health care providers, businesses and schools in an effort to stem the spread of the potentially deadly respiratory illness in the United States.

CDC offers several strategies to help prevent workplace exposure:

  • Employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness are encouraged to use sick leave and stay home.
  • Employees should frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
    or use a sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • The cleaning crews will continue to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs, but you are encouraged to do the same.

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

·        Before, during, and after preparing food
·        Before eating food
·        Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
·        Before and after treating a cut or wound
·        After using the toilet
·        After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
·        After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
·        After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
·        After handling pet food or pet treats
·        After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

1.     Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2.     Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
        Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3.     Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4.     Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5.     Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. 

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

·        Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
·        Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
·        Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. 

How to use hand sanitizer

·        Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
·        Rub your hands together.
·        Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

For more information concerning the coronavirus visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/


About the IBEW Safety Caucus:

The IBEW convenes an exclusive IBEW only safety caucus annually. The safety caucus provides IBEW members that attend the caucus necessary time to discuss issues that are critical in furthering occupational safety and health for IBEW members.

International President Stephenson continues to affirm the commitment from his office to the future of the caucus, and directs delegates to align their focus toward an advisory role to the international office on safety matters affecting IBEW members.

For more information about the meetings or the NSC, you may contact IBEW Safety Director David Mullen at 202-728-6040 or david_mullen@ibew.org. 


About the Safety & Health Department:

The Safety and Health Department is assigned responsibilities related to safety and health involving all trade jurisdictions of the IBEW. The department’s primary focus is occupational safety, although home, community, and personal safety and health issues frequently require departmental attention.

Local unions are required to report serious lost time accidents and fatalities using the web based accident reporting system.


                                     

Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness