COVID-19 Amerisafe Group Update

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Update - April 3, 2020

So that we can serve our internal and external customers, we regularly check various occupational health and safety (OSHA, NIOSH and others) and health (CDC, WHO and other) sources for current information. We have also fielded a variety of questions and researched answers that we think may be beneficial to a broader audience.

The 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. It includes relevant sources, any new Q&A we’ve had and other discussions.

Westmoreland Checking for COVID-19 Symptoms at 911 Center, May Expand to Courthouse

Commissioners approved a month-long contract with Amerisafe Group to furnish trained employees to conduct screenings at the county’s public safety headquarters on Donohoe Road in Hempfield, where a staff of 52 dispatchers man phones and coordinate first responders. The contract with Amerisafe Group will run through April 30.

Read Full Article In Tribune-Review Here

A Message From The National Safety Council

Highlight's from National Safety Council President & CEO, Lorraine Martin's update on Workplace Safety & Prevention Efforts for Safe Business Operations

Workplace Safety More Critical Than Ever

The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented global crisis and impacted workplaces in significant ways. Even the most mature operations may find themselves in situations that impede their abilities to deliver life-saving products and services.

According to an NSC member benchmarking survey conducted last week, we identified 72% of member companies still have workers on the job today. Many of these jobs are unsung positions in grocery stores, construction, manufacturing, trucking, delivery, postal, airlines, public transportation, defense, janitorial, refuse collection, warehousing and many more. That translates to millions of on-site workers that are potentially not getting the care and protection they need to safely do their jobs.

These dedicated professionals may be working more hours - often with skeleton crews - covering new job responsibilities in new environments. Employees will need proper training on new equipment and operating procedures, and we must stay vigilant on issues like distraction, fatigue and complacency. NSC is collecting resources and information to help employers navigate these issues. Please visit our info hub at nsc.org/coronavirus, which we are updating daily.

It’s more important now than ever to focus on the fundamentals of safety - to assess and mitigate risk in the changing operating environments that we're working in. Tasks that previously may have had safeguards in place may have been changed, workers may be new to the job or brought over from other tasks, and communication can often be fragmented in times of crisis. We need to double down on these essential components of keeping people safe.

Prevention Efforts for Safe Business Operations

We not only need to protect workers today, but prevent illness so we have a healthy workforce when it comes time to return to usual work environments and routines. Preventative measures today are critical.

Ensure your workers reporting to job sites practice the federal government’s directives for hygiene. Provide disinfectant so workers can clean high-touch surfaces every two hours. Make sure they can practice physical distancing recommendations and follow CDC workplace guidelines. And if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, be sure to follow CDC guidance for disinfecting and cleaning buildings and facilities. The guidance includes closing off areas used by the sick individual, opening windows and doors and waiting 24 hours after the sick employee leaves the facility to start cleaning and disinfecting, if feasible.

Health Care Workers

Finally, as has been well-documented, our healthcare professionals – the men and women on the front lines of the crisis – are in dire need of personal protective equipment (PPE).

For more information, please visit the site donateppe.org which allows companies to identify donation drives and to donate based on the needs of healthcare facilities in your local communities and across the globe. We all must do our part to address the health and safety of these heroes.

SERVICES

Visit this page for Amerisafe Group COVID-19 Response Services

OSHA Update:

Update- April 3, 2020

There were no major updates published by OSHA. OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage can be viewed here.

On Friday, March 27, 2020 H.R.748 - Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019 was signed into law. Included in the Bill are provisions for the US Department of Labor which included:

  • $15,000,000 will remain available through September 30, 2022, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, including to enforce worker protection laws and regulations.
  • $14,000,000 can be used by the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Employment and Training Administration—Program Administration.
  • The final $1,000,000 will be given to the Office of Inspector General for oversight of activities.

PA.GOV:

Update- April 3, 2020

Yesterday (4/2/2020) as of 12:00 a.m., there were 1,211 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 7,016. There were 16 new deaths among positive cases, bringing the statewide total to 90. A full report can be viewed here. Below are additional statistics from the PA DOH. A full report can be viewed here.



Update- April 2, 2020

Yesterday (4/1/2020) at 4:00PM, Governor Tom Wolf issued an updated list of Essential & Non-Essential Industries in PA. Below is a summary of the changes. The full list can be viewed here.

  • Paint, Coating, and Adhesive Manufacturing are still prohibited to operate at a physical location (added except as authorized under CISA advisory Version 1.1 permitted)
  • Lawn and Garden Equipment and Supplies Stores are still prohibited to operate at a physical location (added except establishments primarily engaged in retailing farm supplies, such as animal [except pet] feed)
  • Vending Machine Operators are still prohibited to operate at a physical location (added except those serving health care or emergency management facilities permitted)
  • Traveler Accommodation may continue physical operations (added this category includes hotels and motels, however short term residential rentals are prohibited)

The following Business Categories were added to the list:

  • Restaurants and Other Eating Places may continue physical operations (takeout and delivery permitted)
  • Justice, Public Order may continue physical operations
  • Administration of Human Resource Programs may continue physical operations
  • Administration of Environmental Quality Programs may continue physical operations
  • Administration of Housing Programs, Urban Planning, and Community Development may continue physical operations
  • Administration of Economic Programs may continue physical operations
  • Space Research and Technology may continue physical operations
  • National Security and International Affairs may continue physical operations
  • Executive, Legislative, and Other General Government Support may continue physical operations.

World Health Organization:

Update- April 3, 2020

The WHO has updated information related to how COVID-19 can spread from person to person. In the latest situation report, the WHO states: “In a small number of case reports and studies, pre-symptomatic transmission has been documented through contact tracing efforts and enhanced investigation of clusters of confirmed cases. This is supported by data suggesting that some people can test positive for COVID-19 from 1-3 days before they develop symptoms. Thus, it is possible that people infected with COVID-19 could transmit the virus before significant symptoms develop. It is important to recognize that pre-symptomatic transmission still requires the virus to be spread via infectious droplets or through touching contaminated surfaces.

The WHO also states: “Preliminary data suggests that people may be more contagious around the time of symptom onset as compared to later on in the disease.”

Update- April 2, 2020

During the WHO Director-General’s briefing, he stated that PPE is one of the most urgent threats to the collective ability to save lives. The WHO has shipped near 2 million items of PPE to 74 countries and is preparing to send additional PPE to 60 other countries. The March 28, 2020 situation report can be viewed here.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use a KN95 Respirator (approved in China) in the US during COVID-19 Outbreak?

Answer: Yes.

According to a recent (January 2020) Technical Bulletin published by 3M, a KN95 respirator is “equivalent” to US NIOSH N95 for filtering non-oil-based particles such as those resulting from bioaerosols (e.g. viruses). However, prior to selecting a respirator, users should consult their local respiratory protection regulations and requirements or check with their local public health authorities for selection guidance.

  • In the OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 publication, OSHA references the CDC/NIOSH Guidance for Optimizing Respirator Supplies.
  • In the CDC/NIOSH Guidance for Optimizing Respirator Use, crisis/alternate strategies are not commensurate with current U.S. standards of care but may need to be considered during periods of expected or known N95 respirator shortages. When N95 Supplies are Running Low - “Use respirators approved under standards used in other countries that are similar to NIOSH-approved N95 respirators but that may not necessarily be NIOSH-approved”

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Update- April 3, 2020

The CDC has updated their How COVID-19 Spreadswebpage. The CDC states: “Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.”


Update- April 2, 2020

The CDC published a summary of research that describes possible decontamination methods of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). According to the CDC “FFRs are not approved for routine decontamination and reuse as standard of care. However, FFR decontamination and reuse may need to be considered as a crisis capacity strategy to ensure continued availability. Based on the limited research available, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, vaporous hydrogen peroxide, and moist heat showed the most promise as potential methods to decontaminate FFRs.” The CDC and NIOSH do not recommend that FFRs be decontaminated and then reused as standard care. This practice would be inconsistent with their approved use, but the CDC understands in times of crisis, this option may need to be considered when FFR shortages exist.

The CDC published guidance on how to disinfect a facility. The publication provides guidance to employers on how to clean and disinfect their facility if someone is sick.

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, including:

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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Hotline Services

Many questions exist and develop almost daily about COVID-19. You and your employees may desire access to a medical professional to navigate these many questions. Our Occupational Health professionals know COVID-19 issues in an occupational setting, and have assumed this role for many companies by staffing their internal Hotlines for employee support.

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Consultation Services

Our Occupational Health Group has become the “go to” resource for many of our customers on all things related to COVID-19 occupational health issues, worker testing, hygiene protocols and other. They continue to be on the front-lines of emerging occupational health science, and they and all of us at Amerisafe stand ready to assist you in addressing any COVID-19 questions you might have.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH GROUP

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