COVID-19 Updates

Amerisafe Group is launching this webpage as a resource to occupational health and safety professionals and others for daily updates on matters related to the occupational impacts of COVID-19. We regularly check various occupational health and safety (OSHA, NIOSH, CDC, WHO, FDA, etc.), and various government agency sources for current information so that we can serve our internal and external customers. We also monitor our surrounding states such as PA, OH, WV, IL, NJ, MI. It includes relevant sources, any new Q&A we’ve had and other discussions. Keep current for updates below.

Instructional Videos & Resources

OSHA Issues New Emergency Temporary Standard Requiring Vaccine-or-Test Mandate for Private Employers

Washington — President Biden announced the most sweeping COVID-19 vaccine requirements yet on Thursday, September 9, 2021, which will affect roughly 100 million Americans. More than 80 million Americans will be affected by a requirement that all companies with at least 100 employees must mandate vaccines or employees must undergo regular testing.

"My job as president is to protect all Americans," Mr. Biden said Thursday. "So tonight, I'm announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees that together employ over 80 million workers to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week,"

Mr. Biden noted that many large companies already require vaccinations. "The bottom line — we're going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers," he said.

"The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a rule requiring all employers with at least 100 employees to make sure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to get a negative test at least once a week. OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to introduce the vaccine requirement. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation," Mr. Biden said.

That was just one of the mandates and changes the president announced in a speech on boosting vaccinations and battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The president also announced vaccination requirements for health care providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid, for all federal employees and contractors and for the staffs of Head Start programs, Department of Defense Schools and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools. Mr. Biden had announced in July the federal workforce would need to provide evidence that they had been vaccinated or submit to regular testing and practice social distancing measures in the workplace.

Visit: https://www.osha.gov/coronavirus/ets to read more.

U.S. Department of Labor issues updated guidance on protecting unvaccinated and other at-risk workers from the coronavirus on August 13, 2021

13 August 2021: "WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued updated guidance to help employers protect workers from the coronavirus. The updated guidance reflects developments in science and data, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated COVID-19 guidance issued July 27.

The updated guidance expands information on appropriate measures for protecting workers in higher-risk workplaces with mixed-vaccination status workers, particularly for industries such as manufacturing; meat, seafood and poultry processing; high volume retail and grocery; and agricultural processing, where there is often prolonged close contact with other workers and/or non-workers.

OSHA's latest guidance:

  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers in areas of substantial or high community transmission wear masks in order to protect unvaccinated workers;
  • Recommends that fully vaccinated workers who have close contacts with people with coronavirus wear masks for up to 14 days unless they have a negative coronavirus test at least 3-5 days after such contact;
  • Clarifies recommendations to protect unvaccinated workers and other at-risk workers in manufacturing, meat and poultry processing, seafood processing and agricultural processing; and
  • Links to the latest guidance on K-12 schools and CDC statements on public transit.

OSHA continues to emphasize that vaccination is the optimal step to protect workers and encourages employers to engage with workers and their representatives to implement multi-layered approaches to protect unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers from the coronavirus.

As part of the agency's ongoing commitment to review the COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard every 30-days, OSHA also said that the safeguards set forth by the standard remain more important than ever. After reviewing the latest guidance, science and data, and consulting with the CDC and partners, OSHA has determined the requirements of the healthcare ETS remain necessary to address the grave danger of the coronavirus in healthcare. OSHA will continue to monitor and assess the need for changes in the healthcare ETS each month.

Our priority is the safety and health of workers, and we will continue to enforce the law to ensure workers are protected from the virus while they are on the job, including through OSHA's National Emphasis Program on COVID."

Visit OSHA.gov for more information.

Resource: https://www.osha.gov/news/news...

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard and Updates Guidelines for the Healthcare Industry

June 10, 2021 - OSHA has issued a long-awaited emergency temporary standard (ETS) on COVID-19 in the workplace (Subpart U of the General Industry regulations). The ETS applies to all settings where any employee provides healthcare services or healthcare support services. The ETS does not apply to construction or other General Industry employers outside of healthcare. Instead, OSHA issued revised guidance for those employers to use when crafting their own COVID-19 policies (discussed below under Guidance for Non-Healthcare Employers).

Subpart U—COVID-19 Healthcare ETS

The main section of the ETS (1910.502 – Healthcare) requires employers to develop and implement effective COVID-19 plans. Controlling COVID-19 requires employers to use multiple overlapping controls in a layered approach to better protect workers.

The ETS requires employers to:

  • Develop a COVID-19 plan: Develop and implement a COVID-19 plan (in writing if more than 10 employees)
  • Training. Ensure all employees receive training so they comprehend COVID-19 transmission, tasks and situations in the workplace that could result in infection, and relevant policies and procedures.
  • Designate a safety coordinator with authority to ensure compliance of the plan
  • Conduct a workplace-specific hazard assessment, involvement of non-managerial employees in hazard assessment and plan development/implementation, and policies and procedures to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to employees.
  • Conduct patient screening and management
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE). Provide and ensure each employee wears a facemask when indoors and when occupying a vehicle with other people for work purposes
  • Physical distancing. Keep people at least 6 feet apart when indoors.
  • Physical barriers. Install cleanable or disposable solid barriers at each fixed work location in non-patient care areas where employees are not separated from other people by at least 6 feet.

Each of these has additional specific requirements that must also be met by the employer.

Guidance for Non-Healthcare Employers

OSHA provided this guidance for employers as recommendations to use in protecting unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk workers. Employers and workers should use the guidance to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. The guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The recommendations are advisory in nature and informational in content and are intended to assist employers.

Detailed information on the new guidance can be found visiting OSHA’s website at: https://www.osha.gov/coronavir...

Amerisafe Group has extensive experience developing COVID-19 plans, training on COVID-19, conducting workplace hazard assessments, identifying and training on PPE and other requirements of the new ETS. Please contact us for compliance assistance.

ETS for Healthcare

Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare

OSHA Recommendations for ALL Employers

June 10, 2021 - In addition to issuing the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for the Healthcare Industry, OSHA has also released new COVID-19 guidelines that apply to all employers. These guidelines are not a standard but outline their current logic on the pandemic. Most notably, these guidelines state that employers who are NOT covered by the ETS for the Healthcare Industry no longer need to provide protection where all employees in the workplace (or a defined area of the workplace) are fully vaccinated.

For unvaccinated or at-risk employees that are present in the workplace, OSHA recommends the following guidelines:

  • Granting paid time off for employees to get vaccinated
  • Instructing all employees to stay home with infected
  • Instructing unvaccinated employees to stay home when coming in contact with infected individuals
  • Practicing physical distancing
  • Providing masks for unvaccinated and at-risk employees
  • Providing employee training
  • Performing routine cleaning and disinfection
  • Encouraging mask use by unvaccinated visitors
  • Maintenance of ventilation systems
  • Prohibiting retaliation

Read more at https://www.osha.gov/coronavir... or by clicking the button below.

Workplace Guidelines

OSHA Workplace Guidelines

National Emphasis Program (NEP)

As mandated under President Biden's Executive Order, OSHA recently launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) for inspections and enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines. The NEP will focus OSHA's attention and resources on the COVID-19 hazard and steps taken by employers to protect their employees. The NEP will remain in effect for no more than 12 months from its effective date. Specifically, the NEP directs OSHA to:

  • Continue inspections in workplaces where employees have a high frequency of close contact exposures and where this hazard is prevalent (at least 5% of inspections must target these employers).
  • Generate Master Lists for site selection for inspections. While these Lists focus primarily on healthcare and food processing employers, OSHA is also targeting employers involved in building construction, heavy/highway construction, specialty contractors, chemical manufacturing and others

Contact Amerisafe to learn more about the NEP and what OSHA will be looking for during these inspections.

National Emphasis Program (NEP)

Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety

President Biden signed an executive order Thursday, January 21st, 2021 to direct federal regulators to issue stronger safety guidance for workplaces operating in the midst of the pandemic. This approach is a shift from the Trump administration’s more business and industry-friendly approach, and signals a new emphasis on workers, including a focus on issues of race and equity, in the Biden administration.

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Amerisafe Hugs!

Amerisafe Group partnered with Redstone Senior Care Facility in Greensburg in attempt to safely bring loved ones together during the pandemic through "hugging stations" during the holiday season.

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Amerisafe Group Hugs

Hand Sanitizer Safety

According to a recent article by HealthDay News, hand sanitizer has had a dangerous affect on young children. Though the eye injury is reported as a "common complication," it is a concern for adults and health care workers due to overuse during the pandemic. Eye exposure to sanitizers may lead to blindness from development of corneal ulcers. Read more about the recent study to learn more.

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COVID-19 Vaccines: What to Expect

The CDC provided updated information on COVID-19 vaccines. The updates highlight:

  • Common side effects
  • Helpful tips
  • When to call the doctor
  • Scheduling your second shot
About Vaccines
Vaccines

COVID-19 Coronavirus Symptom Screening

The Amerisafe Group constantly monitors the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on businesses. Like so many of you we have taken steps internally in response to COVID-19 to not only protect our employees, but also the many customers we continue to service during this crisis.

You may be struggling with managing COVID-19 and its impacts to your business. Amerisafe can help. We offer a variety of services for companies to assist them in protecting their employees and managing COVID-19.

Worker Screening

Fortunately many companies continue to operate, but still need comfort in knowing workers arriving to their shift are not symptomatic or otherwise a concern for spreading COVID-19. Our Medical Providers work with customers to develop effective, CDC-based screening tools, and then we serve as their “gatekeeper” in actually screening workers.

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Occupational Health and Safety Services
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