National Work Zone Awareness Week

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National Work Zone Awareness Week 2020National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) 2020 is scheduled for April 20-24.  This year’s theme is Safe Work Zones for All: Protect workers. Protect road users. It features a poster reminiscent of the World War II poster with Rosie the Riveter. In her place are a male and female roadway worker proclaiming, “We Can Do It!”, which is the original language used in the WWII poster. Michigan chose that image as a reflection of its industrial heritage. Original “Rosies” worked as riveters in an aircraft factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan that built B24 bombers, which is now the site of the American Center for Mobility (ACM). Michigan officials have canceled the April 21 kickoff event in accord with CDC guidelines regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Individual NWZAW events in your area may need to be curtailed, postponed, or canceled due to public health precautions. However, NWZAW will continue as scheduled on April 20-24. We strongly encourage all participants to take part in NWZAW this year through social media to remind the public to drive safely in and around work zones.

For more information, check out the website below.

OSHA Guidance on Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) Pandemic

OSHA has issued guidance on the use and re-use of respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The guidance can be found here: https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-04-03/enforcement-guidance-respiratory-protection-and-n95-shortage-due-coronavirus.  The OSHA press release is also below.

Per the release, the guidance “outlines enforcement discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators, as well as the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life (sometimes referred to as “expired”).

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new Enforcement Guidance for Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) Pandemic. This memorandum provides interim guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing the Respiratory Protection standard, 29 CFR § 1910.134, and certain other health standards, with regard to supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators.  Specifically, it outlines enforcement discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators, as well as the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life (sometimes referred to as “expired”). This guidance applies in all industries and will also be highlighted on the OSHA COVID-19 webpage shortly.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 pandemic: CDC issues interim cleaning, disinfection recommendations after exposure

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Photo: sturti/iStockphoto

Washington — In light of emerging data on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released interim environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations for community facilities with suspected or confirmed cases of the potentially deadly respiratory illness.

The guidelines – aimed at limiting the spread of the disease – are focused on community, non-health care facilities such as schools, institutions of higher education, offices, day care facilities, businesses, and community centers that “do, and do not, house persons overnight.”

SARS-CoV-2 – the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 – can be stable for several hours to even days on various surfaces, results of a study that involved CDC researchers and was published online March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine show.

“Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces, followed by disinfection, is the best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings,” CDC states on its Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities webpage, which the agency intends to update as more data is made available.

Cleaning should entail using a detergent or soap and water before disinfecting. Diluted household bleach solutions, solutions with at least 70% alcohol or other Environmental Protection Agency-registered household disinfectants are recommended.

CDC also provides information on how to clean soft or porous surfaces. In addition, personal protective equipment, such as disposable gloves and gowns, should be worn by cleaning staff, who are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.

Employers should provide education on COVID-19 to workers performing duties such as cleaning, laundry and garbage pickup.

“These guidelines are not meant for cleaning staff in health care facilities or repatriation sites, households, or for others for whom specific guidance already exists,” CDC states.

COVID-19 pandemic: CVSA postpones annual ‘Roadcheck’

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Photo: WendellandCarolyn/iStockphoto

Greenbelt, MD — In response to industry concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has postponed its 33rd annual International Roadcheck – an enforcement and safety outreach event initially slated for May 5-7.

According to a March 25 press release, CVSA officials will monitor the pandemic and, “when it’s safe and reasonable to do so,” announce new dates for the event, during which inspectors throughout North America will examine braking systems, lights, tires and other commercial truck and bus components. In the meantime, enforcement personnel will continue to perform daily duties.

“As we urgently respond to this time-sensitive crisis, we must remain diligent and committed to ensuring that the commercial motor vehicles and drivers providing essential goods and services to our communities are following motor carrier safety regulations,” CVSA President John Samis said in the release. “Safety doesn’t take a break. It is always our top priority.

“International Roadcheck has run on schedule for the past 32 years, so its postponement was thoroughly and thoughtfully discussed before we made this decision, but it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. This experience is unprecedented in our modern society and we need to do all that we can to help stop the spread of this global pandemic.”

An expanded national emergency declaration issued March 18 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grants temporary exemption from federal hours-of-service regulations to CMV drivers transporting items intended to assist with pandemic relief efforts.

Last year’s International Roadcheck resulted in more than 67,000 inspections and placed 17.9% of vehicles and 4.2% of drivers inspected out of service.

CVSA states in the release that other public enforcement initiatives set for this summer, including Operation Safe Driver Week (July 12-18) and Brake Safety Week (Aug. 23-29), remain as scheduled.

DOT Guidance on Compliance with DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations

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DOT Guidance on Compliance with Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulations [1]

March 23, 2020

 

This guidance document provides clarity to DOT-regulated employers, employees, and service agents on conducting DOT drug-and-alcohol testing given concerns about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).  We, as a Nation, are facing an unprecedented public health emergency that is straining medical resources and altering aspects of American life, including the workplace. The Nation’s transportation industries, which are not immune to the impacts and disruptions resulting from the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, are playing a vital role in mitigating the effects of COVID-19.

DOT is committed to maintaining public safety while providing maximum flexibility to allow transportation industries to conduct their operations safely and efficiently during this period of national emergency. Read More»

FMCSA CDL Waiver

Waiver in Response to the COVID-19 Emergency –
For States, CDL Holders, CLP Holders, and Interstate Drivers Operating

Commercial Motor Vehicles

March 24, 2020

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Grant of waiver.

SUMMARY: FMCSA grants, until June 30, 2020, a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders and to other interstate drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Agency has initiated this action in response to the President’s declaration of a national emergency under 42 U.S.C. § 5191(b) related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

DATES: This waiver is effective March 20, 2020 and expires on June 30, 2020. Read More»

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Temporary Enforcement Guidance for Respirator Fit-Testing in Healthcare during COVID-19 Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC – Following President Donald J. Trump’s memorandum on the availability of respirators during the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued new temporary guidance regarding the enforcement of OSHA’s Respiratory Protection standard. This guidance is aimed at ensuring healthcare workers have full access to needed N95 respiratory protection in light of anticipated shortages.

“The safety and health of Americans are top priorities for the President. That’s why the Administration is taking this action to protect America’s healthcare workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia. “Today’s guidance ensures that healthcare workers have the resources they need to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“America’s healthcare workers need appropriate respiratory protection as they help combat the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “Today’s guidance outlines commonsense measures that will keep personal respiratory devices available for our country’s healthcare workers.”

OSHA recommends that employers supply healthcare personnel who provide direct care to patients with known or suspected coronavirus with other respirators that provide equal or higher protection, such as N99 or N100 filtering facepieces, reusable elastomeric respirators with appropriate filters or cartridges, or powered air purifying respirators.

This temporary enforcement guidance recommends that healthcare employers change from a quantitative fit testing method to a qualitative testing method to preserve integrity of N95 respirators. Additionally, OSHA field offices have the discretion to not cite an employer for violations of the annual fit testing requirement as long as employers:

  • Make a good faith effort to comply with the respiratory protection standard;
  • Use only NIOSH-certified respirators;
  • Implement strategies recommended by OSHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for optimizing and prioritizing N95 respirators;
  • Perform initial fit tests for each healthcare employee with the same model, style, and size respirator that the employee will be required to wear for protection from coronavirus;
  • Tell employees that the employer is temporarily suspending the annual fit testing of N95 respirators to preserve the supply for use in situations where they are required to be worn;
  • Explain to employees the importance of conducting a fit check after putting on the respirator to make sure they are getting an adequate seal;
  • Conduct a fit test if they observe visual changes in an employee’s physical condition that could affect respirator fit; and
  • Remind employees to notify management if the integrity or fit of their N95 respirator is compromised.

The temporary enforcement guidance is in effect beginning March 14, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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