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 daily updates below.

Pennsylvania

October 29, 2020

Update as of 10/29/2020

193,611 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19
8,762 deaths statewide
2,282,828 patients tested negative to date

FULL REPORT
Pittsburgh Safety Consultants
COVID-19 Halloween Safety Guide

Strategize creative ways to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 and maximize fun this Halloween. Safety must be a part of the plan. Make Trick-or Treating Safer.

  • Consider Your Local Virus Situation
  • Incorporate Masks into Costumes
  • Switch It Up
  • Socially Distance the Distribution of Candy
  • Get creative & consider alternative Community Options
READ MORE
Halloween Safety COVID 19

COVID-19 on Pace to Become Third Leading Cause of Death in 2020

According to the National Safety Council, the mortality numbers for COVID-19 already have surpassed the total annual number of preventable, accidental deaths in 2018, the most recent year of final data, and we still have four months left of 2020. Following behind heart disease and cancer, COVID-19 will most likely be the third leading cause of death in 2020. The current number of confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. surpasses 170,000, exceeding the total number of preventable deaths in 2018 which was 167,127.

READ MORE
Coronavirus Deaths

N95 Respirator Effectiveness: OSHA's Frequently Asked Questions

You may have wondered if the N95 is effective for 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size, wouldn’t a smaller-sized COVID-19 particle pass right through the respirator and into the wearer?

OSHA has issued a statement addressing COVID-19 and N95 effectiveness, and it answers the question.

The following was pulled from OSHA’s COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Q: Will an N95 Respirator Protect the Wearer from the Virus that Causes COVID-19?

A: Yes, an N95 respirator is effective in protecting workers from the virus that causes COVID-19. "N95" refers to a class of respirator filter that removes at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles from the air. Some people have mistakenly claimed that since the virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately 0.1 microns in size, wearing an N95 respirator will not protect against such a small virus. That mistaken claim appears to result from a misunderstanding of how respirators work.

When an infected person expels the virus into the air by activities like talking, coughing, or sneezing, the airborne particles are composed of more than just the virus. The virus is part of larger particles that are made up of water and other materials such as mucus. These larger particles are easily trapped and filtered out by N95 respirators because they are too big to pass through the filter. This is called mechanical filtration. But mechanical filtration is just one of the ways that respirator filters keep particles from passing through the filter. An electrostatic charge also attracts particles to fibers in the filter, where the particles become stuck. In addition, the smallest particles constantly move around (called "Brownian motion"), and are very likely to hit a filter fiber and stick to it.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests respirators using particles that simulate a 0.3 micron diameter because this size particle is most likely to pass through the filter. If worn correctly, the N95 respirator will filter out at least 95% of particles this size. An N95 respirator is more effective at filtering particles that are smaller or larger than 0.3 microns in size.

The N95 respirator filter, as is true for other NIOSH-approved respirators, is very effective at protecting people from the virus causing COVID-19. However, it is important for employers and workers to remember that the respirator only provides the expected protection when used correctly. Respirators, when required, must be used as part of a comprehensive, written respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard. The program should include medical evaluations, training, and fit testing.

OSHA
Industrial Hygiene Safety Consultants N95 Respirator Use

OSHA Fines Increase in Quarter 3

October 21, 2020

OSHA officials have not let the COVID-19 pandemic stand in the way of inspecting jobsites. According to Construction Dive, fines of more than $125,000, including three fatalities in Quarter 3.

READ MORE
Construction Industry Violations

Coronavirus Kills 200+ Meat Plant Workers in U.S.

September 13, 2020

According to the Food Environmental Reporting Network, 42,534 meatpacking workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in 494 meat plants, and 203 meatpacking workers have died since March. Companies criticized federal regulators for taking so long to give them guidance on how to keep workers safe. The Washington Post reported that OSHA noted that plants failed to provide a workplace "free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees in that employees were working in close proximity to each other and were exposed to."

READ MORE
OSHA Fines Coronavirus Meat Packaging Workers

OSHA Continued


Federal OSHA and Its State Counterparts Make COVID-19 Safety Measures Top Priorities. Read More.

OSHA’s latest COVID-19 updates can be viewed here.

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Ohio Nursing Facilities for Failing to Fully Implement Respiratory Programs to Protect Employees from Coronavirus. Read More.

  • OSHA released guidance related to COVID-19 for Oil and Gas Industry Workers and Employers. The guidance discusses the exposure risk levels with certain work tasks, engineering controls and administrative controls that can be used to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • OSHA has issued guidance to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic. The guidance provides information similar to the CDC’s guidance and also answers frequently asked questions by employers.

In a recent News Release, OSHA provided coronavirus-related guidance to help employers develop policies and procedures that address the following issues:

OSHA released frequently asked questions and answers about face coverings, surgical masks and respirators in the workplace. Please remember that each state may have different guidelines in place that are more stringent than OSHA’s guidance.

OSHA released an alert titled: “COVID-19 Guidance on Social Distancing at Work”. The alert provides steps employers can implement to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. OSHA has launched a new webpage with coronavirus-related guidance for construction employers and workers. The guidance includes recommended actions to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. OSHA provided a description of work tasks with exposure risk levels along with recommended engineering and administrative controls. In addition, OSHA provides information on what information can be included in COVID-19 training. Below is a table that contains work tasks and their associated exposure risk levels.

OSHA released a memorandum (Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019) to Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees that will assist Compliance Officers (CSHOs). If, after taking the appropriate actions described in the memorandum, the employer cannot determine whether it is more likely than not that exposure in the workplace played a causal role with respect to a particular case of COVID-19, the employer does not need to record that COVID-19 illness. The memorandum discusses:

  • How employers can investigate the case and how to determine if it is work related.
  • Reviewing the evidence available to determine if COVID-19 was contracted at work.
  • OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases.
  • OSHA will utilize non-formal phone/fax investigations or rapid response investigations in circumstances where OSHA has historically performed such inspections (e.g., to address formal complaints) when necessary to assure effective and efficient use of resources to address COVID-19-related events.

On May 26, 2020, the previous memorandum on this topic will be rescinded, and the new memorandum will go into and remain in effect until further notice.

OSHA released an additional memorandum to Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees to assist Compliance Officers (CSHOs).

In geographic areas where community spread of COVID-19 has significantly decreased, OSHA will return to the inspection planning policy that OSHA relied on prior to the start of the COVID-19 health crises, as outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual (FOM), CPL 02-00-164, Chapter 2, when prioritizing reported events for inspections, except that:

  • OSHA will continue to prioritize COVID-19 cases.
  • OSHA will utilize non-formal phone/fax investigations or rapid response investigations in circumstances where OSHA has historically performed such inspections (e.g., to address formal complaints) when necessary to assure effective and efficient use of resources to address COVID-19-related events.

OSHA released COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce. The following tips can help reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus:

  • Where work trailers are used, all workers should maintain social distancing while inside the trailers.
  • To the extent tools or equipment must be shared, provide and instruct workers to use alcohol based wipes to clean tools before and after use. When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
  • Keep in-person meetings (including toolbox talks and safety meetings) as short as possible, limit the number of workers in attendance, and use social distancing practices.
  • Clean and disinfect portable jobsite toilets regularly. Hand sanitizer dispensers should be filled regularly. Frequently-touched items (i.e., door pulls and toilet seats) should be disinfected.

OSHA issued Discretion in Enforcement when Considering an Employer's Good Faith Efforts During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic to OSHA Regional Administrators and State Designees. Below are a few highlights from the Memorandum:

  • In instances where an employer is unable to comply with OSHA-mandated training, audit, assessment, inspection, or testing requirements because local authorities required the workplace to close, the employer should demonstrate a good faith attempt to meet the applicable requirements as soon as possible following the re-opening of the workplace.
  • Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) should evaluate whether the employer made good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, to ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes, or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained.

OSHA issued an Alert to Help Keep Manufacturing Workers Safe During Coronavirus Pandemic

Safety measures employers can implement to protect employees working in manufacturing include:

  • Practicing sensible social distancing and maintaining 6 feet between co-workers, where possible;
  • Establishing flexible work hours, (e.g., staggered shifts), if feasible;
  • Training workers on how to properly put on, use/wear, take-off and maintain protective clothing and equipment;
  • Allowing workers to wear masks over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus;
  • Monitoring public health communications about coronavirus recommendations for the workplace and ensuring that workers have access to and understand that information;
  • Promoting personal hygiene. If workers do not have access to soap and water for handwashing, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Provide disinfectants and disposable towels workers can use to clean work surfaces; and
  • Encouraging workers to report any safety and health concerns.

OSHA released Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for Regional Administrators and State Plan Designees.

OSHA should investigate complaints, referrals, and employer-reported fatalities and hospitalizations to identify potentially hazardous occupational exposures and to ensure that employers take prompt actions to mitigate hazards and protect employees. This will be conducted in accordance with OSHA’s Field Operations Manual.

Article from Safety & Health, Official Magazine of National Safety Council Congress & Expo

According to an agency press release, employers “other than those in the health care industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services) and correctional institutions” generally will not be required to record COVID-19 cases because they “may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work."

Read Full Article Update here.

OSHA Quick Card: How to Protect Yourself in the Workplace during a Pandemic

The March 14 guidance, which applied to healthcare, now applies to all workplaces covered by OSHA where there is required use of respirators. This memorandum will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis.

OSHA released COVID-19 Quick Tips Videos (see below content) which focus on social distancing, disinfecting workplaces and industry work factors to keep workers safe from COVID-19.

Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus

    On April 4, 2020 OSHA released Enforcement Guidance for Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. As part of the guidance document, the federal government advised that employers may consider using respirators and filters certified under the following standards of other countries or jurisdictions:

    • Australia: AS/NZS 1716:2012
    • Brazil: ABNT/NBR 13694:1996; ABNT/NBR 13697:1996; and ABNT/NBR 13698:2011
    • People’s Republic of China: GB 2626-2006; and GB 2626-2019
    • European Union: EN 140-1999; EN 143-2000; and EN 149-2001
    • Japan: JMHLW-2000
    • Republic of Korea: KMOEL-2014-46; and KMOEL-2017-64
    • Mexico: NOM-116-2009

    If respiratory protection must be used, and either acceptable National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified alternatives or alternatives that were NIOSH-certified except for having exceeded their manufacturer’s shelf life are not available for use in accordance with OSHA’s April 3, 2020 memorandum, employers may consider using respirators and filters certified under standards of other countries or jurisdictions, as specified in the enforcement guidance. Additional information related to the different certifications can be found here.

    The memo provides information related to extending the use (or reuse) of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) in addition to the use of expired N95 FFRs. Below are a few highlights from the memo:

    • In the event extended use or reuse of N95 FFRs becomes necessary, the same worker is permitted to extend use of or reuse the respirator, as long as the respirator maintains its structural and functional integrity and the filter material is not physically damaged, soiled, or contaminated (e.g., with blood, oil, paint). Employers must address in their written RPPs the circumstances under which a disposable respirator will be considered contaminated and not available for extended use or reuse. (See memo for additional related requirements.)
    • Employers may use only previously NIOSH-certified expired N95 FFRs found here. Workers should be notified that they are using expired N95s. (See memo for additional related requirements.)

    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.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

    The latest COVID-19 updates from the CDC can be viewed here.

    The CDC published a Manufacturing Facility Assessment Toolkit for safety professionals to assess their workplace. The facility assessment checklist is intended for use by facility management and/or occupational safety and health professionals to assess a facility’s COVID-19 control plan and determine whether control measures in place align with CDC/OSHA guidance.

    Counterfeit Respirators / Misrepresentation of NIOSH-Approval: How to identify a NIOSH-Approved Respirator

    A couple interesting developments or studies were reported in the last week on respiratory protection COVID-19. The first development is the CDC put on their webpage a discussion and listing of counterfeit respirators (i.e., those that are NOT NIOSH approved, but claim to be). Read More

    Obviously the issue is these respirators cannot be used in situations demanding NIOSH approval, such as when an N95 respirator must be used. Further, if claiming they are NIOSH approved when they are not, these respirators are likely also NOT FDA cleared as occurs with surgical masks. Therefore they could NOT be considered surgical masks either. At best, they could be considered face masks similar to the cloth and others being worn. Should you be on a project/site you are encouraged to review respirators used and if any are included on the CDC list of counterfeit respirators.

    If you have any questions regarding respiratory protection, please contact the Consultation Group.

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    Centers for Disease Control Coronavirus

    June 26, 2020

    CDC added new signs/symptoms of COVID-19 to the list:

    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea

    The CDC published additional recommendations for manufacturing workers and employers. The CDC provided information on:

    • Creating a COVID-19 assessment and control plan
    • Engineering controls
    • Administrative controls
    • Cloth face coverings
    • Educating and training workers/supervisors
    • Cleaning and disinfecting work surfaces
    • Screening and monitoring workers
    • Managing sick workers
    • Addressing return to work
    • Personal protective equipment

    The CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published additional guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public places, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes.

    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.” 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.

      PA News Continued

      Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Present Latest Data

      PA Gov. Wolf
      PA Gov. Wolf

      October 16, 2020

      “The fall resurgence is here,” Gov. Wolf said. “And while we must always take this deadly virus seriously, now is the time for all of us to double down on our efforts to keep ourselves and those around us safe. We’ve seen what happens when masks aren’t worn and social distancing isn’t practiced – people get sick, so we need to stay vigilant and work together to stop the spread of COVID-19.” Read More.

      According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Federal Judge ruled against Wolf's request for a stay of the ruling in order to help the administration's efforts to fight Covid-19. Wolf, through the Office of Attorney General, had requested last week a stay of the Sept. 14 ruling pending an appeal to the U.S. Third District Court of Appeals.

      There were no changes in the state’s phasing system. All counties currently remain in the green phase. View WTAE Map here.

      Gov. Wolf: Sec. of Health Signs Expanded Mask-Wearing Order
      With this order, signed under Dr. Levine’s authority under the Disease Prevention and Control Act, masks must be worn whenever anyone leaves home. The order takes effect immediately. Read more.

      The PA Department of Labor and Industry updated a few Q’s & A’s on their Frequently Asked Questions website. Below are a few Q’s & A’s:

      Q: ​Does the construction guidance change for counties that have moved to the green reopening phase?

      A: Yes, there are no limitations to the number of workers on residential and commercial job sites. Gatherings can now be up to 25 people in yellow counties and 250 in green counties. Social distancing should still be observed while gathering. Workers may travel to the job site together, as long as the occupancy of the vehicle is limited to half the occupancy load and face masks are worn by the occupants.

      Q: What qualifies a pandemic safety officer, and what qualifications must the pandemic safety officer possess?

      A: The pandemic safety officer is the individual designated by the business to provide information about how the employer is complying with all relevant orders and guidance. This individual should be familiar with all relevant orders and guidance and be able to provide workers on site with accurate, reliable guidance in this regard.

      Gov. Wolf provided an update on the state’s reopening process. The Wolf Administration worked with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association to develop guidance on dining in both the yellow and green phases.

      Statewide Return to Work Protocols

      As we open America, employers can also expect to establish new health and safety protocols for the workplace such as mandatory health screenings and face coverings—that may remain in place for the foreseeable future. Reopening plans may include multiple mitigation steps, such as limits on occupancy, sanitation and physical distancing requirements, and new posting duties. For criteria, phase guidelines and preparedness tips, visit Opening Up America for additional reference.

      Below are a few items contained in the guidance document that all businesses conducting in-person operations must perform:

      • Clean and disinfect high-touch areas frequently and continue to regular clean all other areas of the buildings.
      • Establish and implement a plan in case the business is exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. This includes taking each employee’s temperature before they enter the business and sending home those who have a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher. Ensure employees practice social distancing while waiting to have temperatures screened.
      • Prevent large groups from entering or leaving the building by staggering work start and stop times.
      • Conduct meetings and trainings virtually. If a meeting needs to be held in person, limit the number of employees to 10 and maintain a social distance of six feet.


      PennDOT Highway & Bridge Construction Projects Resume May 1

      The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced that in accordance with the governor's plan for a phased-in reopening of public and private construction, PennDOT highway and bridge construction projects will resume beginning May 1. PennDOT road and bridge construction projects will restart with limited exceptions based on project-specific factors, including location and feasibility for social distancing and COVID-19 safety protocols at the job site. Work on all projects will be conducted in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Pennsylvania Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the job site, and relevant training. The Wolf administration issued guidance for the construction industry.

      Construction projects are required to:

      • Maintain proper social distancing
      • Provide hand washing and sanitizing stations for workers, as well as cleaning and sanitizing protocols for high risk transmission areas
      • Identify a “pandemic safety officer” for each project or work site, or, for large scale construction projects, for each contractor at the site.
      • The number of individuals permitted on enclosed portions of a project (non-residential) varies depending on the size of the enclosed site. (There was no additional guidance provided for this.)

      Commercial construction firms should also strongly consider establishing a written safety plan for each work location containing site specific details for the implementation of this guidance to be shared with all employees and implemented and enforced by the pandemic safety officer. Contractors performing work at the direction of the commonwealth, municipalities or school districts should defer to those public entities to determine what projects may continue. Local governments may elect to impose more stringent requirements than those contained in the guidance and in such instances, businesses must adhere to those more stringent requirements.

      Consultant Predicts A Post-Coronavirus 'Construction Tsunami'

      According to a recent update from Construction Dive (April 2, 2020), Keith Prather, market intelligence expert for Olathe, Kansas-based business management consulting firm Pioneer IQ, developed the Fear and Recovery Curve model to help indicate when the crisis will top out and when it will begin to recede. He told attendees that the U.S. economy will get back to normal sooner rather than later and downplayed some analysts’ views that the outbreak could keep businesses sidelined until early next year. Read Full Article Here.

      Opening Up America

      President Trump has released Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives. If these guidelines were to be used by state officials, employers may need to perform the following:

      • Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
      • Social distancing and protective equipment
      • Temperature checks
      • Sanitation
      • Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
      • Business travel
      • Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
      • Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID+ test.

      Gov. Wolf: Health Secretary Signs Order Providing Worker Safety Measures to Combat COVID-19

      PA issued guidance for worker protection for the critical/essential employers. The order establishes protocols to help employees maintain a social distance during work:

      • Provide masks for employees to wear during their time at the business, and make it a mandatory requirement while at the work site, except to the extent an employee is using break time to eat or drink, in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Health and the CDC. Employers may approve masks obtained or made by employees in accordance with this guidance;
      • Stagger work start and stop times for employees when practical to prevent gatherings of large groups entering or leaving the premises at the same time;
      • Provide sufficient space for employees to have breaks and meals while maintaining a social distance of 6 feet, including limiting the number of employees in common areas and setting up seating to have employees facing forward and not across from each other;
      • Conduct meetings and training virtually. If a meeting must be held in person, limit the meeting to the fewest number of employees possible, not to exceed 10 employees at one time and maintain a social distance of 6 feet.
      • Prohibit non-essential visitors from entering the premises of the business;

      Upon discovery of an exposure to a person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, businesses are also ordered to implement temperature screenings before employees enter the business prior to the start of work and send any employee home who has an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Read Full Article Here.

      NEW JERSEY

      October 21, 2020

      Updated Quarantine Advisory Issued for Individuals Traveling to New Jersey. Read More.

      The latest COVID-19 updates for the state of New Jersey can be viewed here.

      • Gov. Murphy announced Executive Order No. 171 was signed and will extend all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act for an additional 30 days. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
      • Gov. Phil Murphy released the multi-stage approach to reopen New Jersey. There are three stages to the plan and currently, New Jersey is operating under stage one of the plan.

      STAGE 2:

      • Restrictions are relaxed on additional activities that can be easily safeguarded.
      • More work activities are allowed at physical locations only if they adhere to safeguarding and modification guidelines.
      • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home.
      • Some personal care services may be provided on a limited basis.
      • Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding.
      • More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications.
      • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home.
      • Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis.

      STAGE 3:

      • Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding.
      • More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications.
      • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home.
      • Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis.
      • Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 142, permitting the resumption of non-essential construction. The Order permits non-essential construction projects to resume effective at 6:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18th. All construction projects must abide by the social distancing, safety, and sanitization requirements that are described in detail in the Governor’s Executive Order. A detailed list of requirements can be found on pages five through seven of the order.

      MICHIGAN UPDATES:

      October 19, 2020

      • Federal OSHA and Its State Counterparts Make COVID-19 Safety Measures Top Priorities. Read More.
      • Michigan Launches Dozens of Free COVID-19 Test Sites Statewide. Learn More.

      The latest COVID-19 updates for the state of Michigan can be viewed here.

      Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an Emergency Order on July 29 reinforcing Executive Orders 2020-160 and 2020-161 and allowing for civil fines of up to $1,000 and referral to licensing agencies for violations.

      The Emergency Order requires that everyone must comply with the procedures and restrictions outlined in the following Executive Orders:

      • Executive Order 2020-160, which limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.) It also orders that bars in every region, including those in Regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70 percent of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages
      • Executive Order 2020-161, which orders businesses to develop COVID-19 preparedness and response plans, designate supervisors to implement and monitor those plans, and train employees on workplace infection control and use of personal protective equipment

      The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has toolkits available to help workplaces in Michigan stay safe. As a reminder best practices Michigan employees should follow include:

      • Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water,
      • Limit contact with others by remaining six feet apart,
      • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and tools routinely,
      • Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick,
      • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and
      • Practice self-screenings to check for any abnormal/new symptoms.

      On July 10, 2020, in response to a recent increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order requiring individuals to wear face masks covering their nose and mouth, and businesses to refuse to provide service to customers without face coverings. Read the latest report here.

      Michigan OSHA released additional clarification for the construction and manufacturing industries that applies to (only) the state of Michigan. Below are a few of the requirements for the construction industry and the manufacturing industry (this is not an all-inclusive list). A full list of requirements can be viewed here.

      Businesses or operations in the construction industry must:

      1. Designate a site-specific supervisor to monitor and oversee the implementation of COVID-19 control strategies developed. The supervisor must remain on-site at all times during activities.
      2. Conduct a daily entry screening protocol for workers, contractors, suppliers, and any other individuals entering a worksite, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with, if possible, a temperature screening.
      3. Create dedicated entry point(s) at every worksite, if possible, for daily screening (if applicable).
      4. Provide instructions for the distribution of PPE and designate on-site locations for soiled masks.
      5. Encourage or require the use of work gloves, as appropriate, to prevent skin contact with contaminated surfaces.
      6. Identify choke points and high-risk areas where workers must stand near one another and control their access and use so that social distancing is maintained.
      7. Ensure there are sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite.
      8. Notify contractors (if a subcontractor) or owners (if a contractor) of any confirmed COVID-19 cases among workers at the worksite.

      Manufacturing facilities must:

      1. Conduct a daily entry screening protocol for workers, contractors, suppliers, and any other individuals entering the facility, including a questionnaire covering symptoms and suspected or confirmed exposure to people with possible COVID-19, together with temperature screening as soon as no-touch thermometers can be obtained.
      2. Create dedicated entry point(s) at every facility for daily screening.
      3. Suspend all non-essential in-person visits, including tours.
      4. Train workers on, at a minimum:
        1. Routes by which the virus causing COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person.
        2. Distance that the virus can travel in the air, as well as the time it remains viable in the air and on environmental surfaces.
        3. Symptoms of COVID-19.
        4. Steps the worker must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
        5. Measures that the facility is taking to prevent worker exposure to the virus.
        6. Rules that the worker must follow in order to prevent exposure to and spread of the virus.
        7. The use of personal protective equipment, including the proper steps for putting it on and taking it off.
      5. Reduce congestion in common spaces wherever practicable.
      6. Implement rotational shift schedules where possible.
      7. Adopt protocols to limit the sharing of tools and equipment to the maximum extent possible.
      8. Send potentially exposed individuals home upon identification of a positive case of COVID-19 in the facility.
      9. Encourage workers to self-report to plant leaders as soon as possible after developing symptoms of COVID-19.
      10. Shut areas of the manufacturing facility for cleaning and disinfection, as necessary, if a worker goes home because he or she is displaying symptoms of COVID-

      All Businesses, operations, and government agencies must develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.

      The construction industry reopens May 7, 2020. The Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity highlighted requirements for employers and provided further guidance on best practices to protect Michigan workers and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Under the Executive Order, construction industry employers are required to:

      • Designate a site supervisor to enforce COVID-19 control strategies.
      • Conduct daily health screenings for workers.
      • Create dedicated entry points, if possible, or issue stickers or other indicators to assure that all workers are screened every day.
      • Identify choke points and high-risk areas (like hallways, hoists and elevators, break areas, water stations, and buses) and controlling them to enable social distancing.
      • Ensure sufficient hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations at the worksite.

      The governor’s order also requires construction industry employers to:

      • Develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan, consistent with recommendations in OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
      • Keep workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible.
      • Increase standards of facility cleaning to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19.
      • Provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, face shields, and face masks as appropriate for the activity being performed.

      OHIO UPDATES


      OHIO COVID-19 STATISTICS
      Last updated 10/20/2020

      The latest COVID-19 updates for the state of Ohio can be viewed here.

      The Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Health (DOH) issued a Second Order to Extend the Expiration Date of Various Orders. The second order will extend the Director’s Updated and Revised Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing and will expire when the earlier of the State of Emergency declared by the Governor no longer exists, or the Director of the DOH rescinds or modifies the Order.

      Amy Acton, Ohio Director of the Department of Health, revised the Director’s Order for Business Guidance and Social Distancing. Included in the Order are updated requirements for most businesses operating in Ohio. Below are a few sections of the Order to reference:

      • Section 7 - Facial Coverings (Masks)
      • Section 13 - Sector Specific COVID-19 Information and Checklist for Manufacturing, Distribution, and Construction
      • Section 15 - Sector Specific COVID-19 Information and Checklist for General Office Environment

      Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, rescinded portions of the current COVID-19 Stay Safe Ohio Order. Governor DeWine announced (5/19/2020) the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation (BWC) will begin distributing at least 2 million non-medical-grade face coverings to Ohio employers who are covered by BWC. Public and private employers that participate in the State Insurance Fund will receive a package from BWC containing at least 50 face coverings.

      Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued a Stay Safe Ohio Order. Effective 12:01 a.m. on May 4, 2020, manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses may reopen; however, certain actions must be performed. Section 21 of the order contains a list of 17 actions that must be performed in these settings.

      WEST VIRGINIA

      West Virginia COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, submission to CDC

      The latest COVID-19 updates for the state of West Virginia can be viewed here.

      Gov. Justice West Virginia first state in nation to begin testing all assisted living facility residents and staff for COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Resources issued information on recommended daily health screenings.

      Recommended questions for screening:

      1. Have you or has anyone in your home had contact within the last 14 days with any person under screening/testing for COVID-19, or with anyone with known or suspected COVID-19?
      2. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms?
      • Fever (100.4°F or higher), or a sense of having a fever.
      • New cough that you cannot attribute to another health condition.
      • New shortness of breath that you cannot attribute to another health condition.
      • New sore throat that you cannot attribute to another health condition.
      • New muscle aches (myalgias) that you cannot attribute to another health condition, or that may have been caused by a specific activity (such as physical exercise).

      If an individual answers YES to any of the screening questions, immediately activate your agency’s protocol for suspected COVID-19. The designated screener should consider:

      A review of the screening results.

      • Recommendations for possible exclusion of the individual from the facility.

      • Recommendations for medical follow-up.

      Gov. Jim Justice issued a reminder (5/1/2020) that “Week 2” of the Governor’s multi-phased plan to reopen businesses across the state – “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback” – are scheduled to begin this coming Monday, May 4. This phase includes the reopening of small businesses with 10 or fewer employees, restaurants with takeaway service or outdoor dining options, as well as religious entities and funeral homes.

      ILLINOIS

      The latest COVID-19 updates for the state of Illinois can be viewed here.

      Executive Order Executive Order 2020-43 will be extended through August 22, 2020 (through Executive Order 2020-48). This Executive Order supersedes Executive Order 2020-38.

      Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-43. This Executive Order supersedes Executive Order 2020-38. The new Order lists different requirements for individuals and businesses operating in the State, including:

      • Practice social distancing. To the extent individuals are using shared spaces when outside their residence, including when outdoors, they must at all times and as much as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person who does not live with them.
      • Wear a face covering in public places or when working. Any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering (a mask or cloth face covering) shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public place and unable to maintain a six-foot social distance. This requirement applies whether in an indoor space, such as a store, or in a public outdoor space where maintaining a six-foot social distance is not always possible.

      All businesses must:

      • Continue to evaluate which employees are able to work from home, and are encouraged to facilitate remote work from home when possible;
      • Ensure that employees practice social distancing and wear face coverings when social distancing is not always possible;
      • Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
      • Ensure that all visitors (customers, vendors, etc.) to the workplace can practice social distancing; but if maintaining a six-foot social distance will not be possible at all times, encourage visitors to wear face coverings; and
      • Prominently post the guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency.

      Requirements for manufacturers. Manufacturers must ensure all employees practice social distancing and must take appropriate additional public health precautions, in accordance with Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) guidance, which include:

      • Provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
      • Ensure that all spaces where employees may gather, including locker rooms and lunchrooms, allow for social distancing; and
      • Modify and downsize operations (staggering shifts, reducing line speeds, operating only essential lines, while shutting down non-essential lines) to the extent necessary to allow for social distancing and to provide a safe workplace in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

      Requirements for office buildings. Employers in office buildings must ensure all employees practice social distancing and must take appropriate additional public health precautions, in accordance with DCEO guidance, which may include:

      • Provide face coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain a minimum six-foot social distance at all times;
      • Consider implementing capacity limits where the physical space does not allow for social distancing;
      • Allow telework where possible; and
      • Develop and prominently post plans and signage to ensure social distancing in shared spaces such as waiting rooms, service counters, and cafeterias.

      World Health Organization

      COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update

      Next World Health Organization update on 10/22/2020 5:00 PM- 6:30 PM Geneva Time (CEST).

      The latest WHO Situation Report can be viewed here.

      The Director-General Dr. Tedros in his media briefing two days ago (5/11/2020), urged a slow, steady, lifting of public health and social measures (so called lock downs), which is key to stimulating economies, while also keeping a vigilant eye on the virus so that control measures can be quickly implemented if an upswing in cases is identified.

      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.” 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.

      Johns Hopkins University of Medicine

      Cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have surpassed 7.9 million worldwide, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, with more than 2 million cases in the United States. This Coronavirus Resource Center webpage, which was developed by the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, contains COVID-19 related statistical data on a global and national scale. You can click on additional counties within a state to obtain county specific data.

      CLICK HERE

      FDA

      Upcoming: Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee October 22, 2020 Meeting Announcement. Attend Here.

      The latest COVID-19 updates from the FDA can be viewed here.

      FDA

      Amerisafe Group Nurses Administer Temperature Screenings at Westmoreland County Courthouse

      Photo and Article Credit: Rich Cholodofsky, Staff Writer, Tribune-Review, (04/09/2020).

      According to the Tribune Review, (04/09/2020) "County commissioners last week approved a contract with Hempfield-based Amerisafe Group to conduct safety screenings at the county’s 911 center in an effort to keep staff with coronavirus symptoms out of the building. County officials almost immediately expanded the program to include the courthouse. Officials reported no issues as the screenings started Wednesday morning at the courthouse. About 150 employees, a reduced number caused by furloughs of county staff because of the pandemic, lined up shortly before 8:30 a.m. in front of the building for the temperature tests."

      Read Full Article Here

      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.

      Full Article
      Occupational Health Services Infectious Disease Temperature Screening

      COVID-19 Response & Testing Services

      SERVICES

      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.

      Need Respirator Fit Guidance During COVID-19 Outbreak? For additional assistance, please contact our Occupational Health Group: 844-295-6709

      RESPONSE SERVICES

      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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