US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus

First published by OSHA

New OSHA guidance seeks to mitigate, prevent viral spread in the workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus prevention program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

“OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update today’s guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

MSHA – Mine Fatality #1

First published by MSHA.

MINE FATALITY – On Jan. 16, 2021, a miner was fatally injured while using a tool to remove a down-the-hole hammer. The drill motor turned unexpectedly, pinning the driller’s leg between the tool and the drill mast.

Accident scne where a miner was fatally injured while using a tool to remove a down-the-hole hammer.
Best Practices:
  • Establish and discuss safe work procedures before starting any task.
  • Identify and control all hazards. Train all workers to recognize potential hazards and understand safe job procedures to eliminate hazards before beginning work.
  • Follow manufacturer’s procedures for using equipment, and monitor employees for compliance.
  • Position yourself in a safe location away from potential “danger-zone” areas.
  • Train miners to safely perform their tasks.
  • Conduct equipment inspections and correct any defects affecting safety.
Additional Information:

This is the first fatality reported in 2021, and the first classified as “Machinery.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Virtual happy hour: Survey examines remote working and drinking

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Nearly half of remote employees have signed off early to have an alcoholic drink or have had a drink during the workday amid the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey indicate.

On behalf of sparkling water manufacturing company HOP WTR, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to examine their at-home habits during the pandemic. Of the respondents, around 800 were at least 21 years old and working from home. The researchers found that 46% of respondents said they’ve logged off early to have a drink, while 45% have had an alcoholic beverage while on the clock.

Overall, 53% said they’ve been drinking more frequently during the pandemic, at an average of four alcoholic drinks a week.

Other findings:

  • More than 60% of the respondents working remotely said virtual happy hours with co-workers have contributed to their increased alcohol intake.
  • 52% of all respondents said they’ve felt the need to drink while watching the news.
  • About 60% said they’ll try to drink less in the future.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Using ventilation to reduce COVID-19 exposure: CDC creates webpage

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — A new webpage published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is intended to help employers and building managers improve the ventilation system in their facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

CDC recommends ventilation as part of a “layered strategy” that includes physical distancing and use of facial coverings to help reduce the concentration of SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – in indoor air.

“The lower the concentration, the less likely some of those viral particles can be inhaled into your lungs; contact your eyes, nose and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces,” the webpage states. “Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentration, which reduces the overall viral dose to occupants.”

The agency’s recommendations for improved ventilation include:

  • Increasing outdoor air ventilation, but use caution if your facility is in a highly polluted area.
  • Opening windows and doors to the outside, but only when weather conditions allow and doing so doesn’t create a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms).
  • Using fans to improve the effectiveness of open windows. However, don’t place fans in a configuration that could cause potentially contaminated air to flow from one person to another. One strategy is to use a fan that’s placed safely and securely in a window.
  • Decreasing occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation isn’t possible.
  • Making sure restroom exhaust fans are working at full capacity when a building is occupied.
  • Using a portable high-efficiency particulate air fan/filtration system to help enhance air cleaning, especially in high-risk areas such as a nurse’s office.

Additionally, CDC advises running HVAC systems at “maximum outside airflow” for two hours before and after a building is occupied. The agency’s webpage includes a set of strategies with corresponding estimated costs, as well as answers to list of frequently asked questions about building ventilation.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Governor Ducey Extends [non-CDL] Driver License Expiration Dates and Defers Medical Card Renewals

First published by ADOT.

Affects expiration dates through Feb. 28, 2021

PHOENIX – As part of a continued statewide effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Governor Doug Ducey has issued an Executive Order deferring renewals of standard driver licenses with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, by one year from their original expiration date.

Prior to this extension, the deferral had applied to renewals of standard driver licenses (Class D and Class M) through Dec. 31, 2020. This action will minimize in-person visits to Arizona Motor Vehicle Division offices for older adults and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We are working hard to ensure Arizona’s most vulnerable are kept safe during the pandemic,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “The standard Arizona driver license expires when an individual turns 65, and renewing a driver license currently requires an in-office visit. Many older adults have been making safe choices and limiting trips outside their home — and today’s order supports those responsible decisions.”

Under this Executive Order, all Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board-certified law enforcement officers as well as state government agencies, county and municipal governments, and election officials will accept Arizona driver license cards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, as valid identification for any purposes for which unexpired driver license cards would otherwise be accepted.

For example, a person whose standard driver license shows an expiration date of Feb. 10, 2021, will now expire Feb. 10, 2022.

Any driver may see their updated driver license expiration date at AZMVDNow.gov. Drivers have the option to order a duplicate license with the updated expiration date.

ADOT MVD will continue to defer requirements to renew Arizona driver licenses and driving permits, other than Class D and Class M licenses, that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020, by six months from the expiration date. Additionally, ADOT will defer requirements to submit a medical clearance card for the purposes of a commercial driver license through Feb. 28, 2021.

View the Executive Order HERE.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

COVID-19 pandemic: NSC urges employers to make vaccine plans

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council is calling on employers to support the adoption and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in response to the Food and Drug Administration’s recent approval of the first such vaccine for emergency use.

In a Dec. 14 press release, NSC states that widespread support of the vaccine is needed for the health of the U.S. populace and the country’s economic recovery. The council recommends that all employers start developing a vaccine plan.

Plans should include educating employees on vaccine benefits and how to get vaccinated when it’s available, along with setting up an internal task force to handle all vaccine-related concerns. NSC suggests that task forces include professionals from human resources, legal, communications, and health and safety departments.

Another recommendation: Answer employees’ questions about their legal rights. Employer-mandated vaccination may prove to be a thorny issue, according to the results of an Eagle Hill Consulting LLC survey of more than 1,000 employees conducted Dec. 4-8. Respondents were nearly evenly split on whether organizations should require COVID-19 vaccines, with about 49% in favor.

“The road ahead will be complicated for employers, as our research indicates,” Eagle Hill President and CEO Melissa Jezior said in a press release. “The workforce clearly is split on employer vaccine mandates, so it’s going to be contentious no matter where an employer lands on inoculation requirements.

“There has never been a more crucial time for meaningful employee engagement, which could make or break organizations already struggling. It won’t be enough to just announce vaccine plans to employees. Instead, leaders are prudent to engage in conversations to understand the views of their workforce now to develop a vaccine strategy that is aligned with business goals and employee preferences.”

In the meantime, NSC is calling on employers to continue COVID-19 safety precautions such as encouraging the use of face coverings, physical distancing, frequent handwashing, remote work for all employees who can do so, testing and contact tracing.

“It will take time for vaccines to be widely available,” NSC states in a Dec. 10 press release. “We cannot let our guard down.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

NSC estimates 724 people will die in roadway crashes over Christmas, New Year’s holidays

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

See the source imageItasca, IL — An estimated 340 people will be killed on the nation’s roads during the Christmas holiday weekend, and another 384 over New Year’s weekend. Many of those lives could be saved, however, if travelers buckled up, according to the National Safety Council.

All vehicle occupants should wear their seat belts – doing so could save as many as 287 lives over both holiday periods, the council estimates. Additionally, parents and guardians are advised to check child car seats to ensure they’re properly installed.

The Christmas holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27. The New Year’s holiday period begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 3.

Driving sober also will also play a critical role in saving lives, as alcohol typically is involved in 37% and 39% of traffic fatalities over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday periods, respectively, NSC says.

Other recommendations:

“A safe travel season could help instill much-needed hope as we start a new year and close an unrelenting one,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in a press release. “We can all do our part by buckling up, driving sober, slowing down, avoiding distractions and looking out for one another.”


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

First published by Get Smart About Drugs.

Drugged Driving—What You Should Know

Check out a few key frequently asked questions and answers about drug-impaired driving below.

Blurred nighttime road from perspective of a drugged driver

What is drug-impaired driving? Driving under the influence of over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, marijuana, or illegal drugs.

How common is drug-impaired driving?  In 2019, 13.7 million people (ages 16 and older) drove after using illicit drugs. Of that total,12.8

million people were under the influence of marijuana (2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables).

This is an increase from 2018 when 12.6 million people (aged 16 and older) admitted to driving after using drugs.

In 2016, 44 percent of drivers in fatal car crashes (with known results) tested positive for drugs, according to a report entitled “Drug-Impaired Driving: Marijuana and Opioids Raise Critical Issues for States” by the Governors Highway Safety Association. This is up from 28 percent in 2006.
man with pills behind the wheelWhy is drug-impaired driving dangerous? Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and drugs

affect the brain and can alter perception, mental processes, attention, balance, coordination, reaction time and other abilities required for safe driving. Even small amounts of some drugs can have a serious effect on driving ability.

A national survey showed 22.5% of nighttime weekend drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription, or OTC drugs that can impair driving. (Drug-Impaired Driving: A Guide for States, April 2017. NHTSA 2014 Drug-Impaired Driving Survey)
What substances are used the most when driving? After alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly used drug. (Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse)

What happens when you use drugs and drive? Marijuana can decrease a person’s ability to drive a car. It slows reaction time, impairs a driver’s concentration and attention, and reduces hand-eye coordination. It is dangerous to drive after mixing alcohol and marijuana. Driving after using prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicine, such as cough suppressants, antihistamines, sleeping aids, and anti-anxiety medications may impair driving ability.

Read More


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

 

job-related-stress.jpg

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

COVID-19 has changed the way we all work. Some of us never stopped physically going to work, while others have been working remotely since mid-March. No matter where we are, working during a pandemic has added stress to our daily lives. How you deal with this stress can positively or negatively affect your well-being.

Some of the symptoms of COVID-19-related stress, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include concern about being exposed to the disease at work, taking care of your loved ones while you’re working, managing a change in workload, and uncertainty about the future of your workplace or employment.

Manage job stress by following these tips from CDC:

  • Communicate with your co-workers about job stress while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Identify factors that cause you stress, and work together with your colleagues to develop solutions.
  • Increase your sense of control by creating a consistent daily routine when you can. If you work from home, set a regular time to stop working each day.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep a night for adults.
  • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise or check in with your co-workers, family and friends.
  • Get active: Spend time outdoors, either exercising or relaxing.
  • Ask your supervisor or human resources department about the mental health resources your organization offers.
  • During non-work hours, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you’re feeling or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
  • Take breaks from watching or reading news stories. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting.

For more information, go to sh-m.ag/3k6mGeR.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Parking lot safety

parking-lot.jpg
First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Parking lots can be a safety risk for workers, especially with the sun setting earlier during the winter months.

When you’re returning to your vehicle, always try to walk with a co-worker or security officer, the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety recommends. Then, give your escort a ride back to the building. Other tips:

  • Park in a highly visible and well-lit area near your building.
  • If you park in a garage, look for a spot near the parking attendant, if there is one, or near the stairs or a well-lit exit.
  • Use the main building entrance – avoid rear or secluded exits.
  • Have your keys out and ready as you approach your vehicle.
  • Don’t approach anyone loitering near your vehicle. Walk to a safe place or go back inside your workplace, and then call the police.
  • Lock the doors and keep the windows rolled up once you’re in the vehicle.

If you have to walk alone, follow these five tips:

  • Have a co-worker watch you from a window.
  • Wave to them on the way to your vehicle.
  • Wave even if no one is watching to give the illusion that someone is watching you return to your vehicle.
  • Always be alert to your surroundings. Keep your head up and look around.
  • Don’t wear headphones or talk on the phone. These devices can create distractions.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.