When news was initially released that Wuhan, China was impacted by the coronavirus, EI immediately launched a series of weekly educational blogs in mid-January highlighting pragmatic occupational health and industrial hygiene practices which minimize the possibility of coronavirus transmission in the workplace.
The blog series has since covered the following topics:
1. Business Contingency Plans (January 27, 2020 and February 6, 2020) – Includes coronavirus pandemic planning
2. Respiratory Protection (February 13, 2020) – N95’s vs. Surgical Masks
3. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) (March 23, 2020) – Monitoring/corrective measures to minimize airborne COVID-19
4. Cleaning & Disinfection (March 25, 2020) – Cleaning, Disinfection & Verification Protocol as well as optimal EPA List N disinfectants & importance of proper application
5. Navigating COVID-19 (April 7, 2020) – Employer Guidance for Voluntary Respirator Use
6. Employee Medical Screening (April 8, 2020) – Detailed Guidance for identifying potential carriers of COVID-19
7. OSHA Recordkeeping (April 15, 2020) – Is COVID-19 Recordable on the OSHA 300 Log?
8. Reopening Business (April 29, 2020) – Guidelines for Minimizing Occupational COVID-19 Transmission
9. Training Students (May 7, 2020) – In the Era of COVID-19
10. Industry Sector-Specific Guidelines (May 12, 2020) – For Re-Opening Our Nation’s Businesses
11. COVID-19 Recovery Guidance (May 19, 2020) – Water System Restart from No- or Low-Occupancy Operation
12. Going Back to Work (May 21, 2020) – Considerations for Owners and Managers to Protect Employees, Tenants and Contractors
13. The Emergency Action Plan and COVID-19 (June 3, 2020) – Is it Time for a Revision?
14. The Re-Emergence of the Occupational Health Nurse (June 17, 2020) – As Employers Return to Work
15. OSHA COVID-19 Recordkeeping (June 23, 2020) – OSHA Revises Earlier Requirements for Cases
16. Airborne COVID-19 Transmission in the Workplace (July 23, 2020)
17. Are You Neglecting Safety Programs During the Pandemic? (August 18, 2020)
18. Part I: Lessons Learned from Occupational COVID-19 Screening (August 27, 2020)
19. Environmental Surveillance: COVID-19 Testing of Wastewater (September 3, 2020)
20. Part II: Lessons Learned from Occupational COVID-19 Screening – 140,000 Employees Screened Over 6 Months (September 10, 2020)
21. Part III: Tips for an Effective Occupational COVID-19 Screening Process (September 17, 2020)
22. Is Virtual Learning the Best Option? EHS Training in the Time of COVID-19 (October 5, 2020)
23. Five Lessons from the Pandemic that Perfectly Demonstrate the Challenges of Establishing a Safety Culture (November 11, 2020)
24. Onsite Occupational COVID Testing Methodologies – Breaking the Chain in 2021 During Vaccination and Post Vaccination (January 6, 2021)
25. The Next Step in Occupational COVID Screening – Rapid Antigen Testing of the Workforce (February 4, 2021)
26. Is Your Building Prepared for Post COVID Re-Occupancy? (March 3, 2021)
27. Back to School! Are You Ready? How Rapid Antigen Testing Can Provide Peace of Mind (March 16, 2021)
28. How to Combat the Highly Contagious Delta Variant in the Workplace: Rapid Antigen Testing – A Game Changer (July 29, 2021)
29. What Does Swiss Cheese Have to Do with Preventing COVID-19? (August 19, 2021)
The background information in EI’s blog series builds an excellent foundation for a comprehensive plan to minimize occupational transmission of COVID-19 when reopening businesses.
This week, America’s businesses are grappling with the idea of re-opening and returning to some form of normalcy, whatever that is, following the many impacts of COVID-19 on our nation’s health and economy. This return is particularly difficult for the nation’s smaller businesses, especially those that deal with customers and members of the public.
The “new normal,” as social distancing guidelines are relaxed, will be focused on practical methods to prevent pathogen transmission and aimed at protecting public health. As the demand for our hands-on classroom certification and educational training in occupational health, safety, industrial hygiene and environmental compliance rapidly “returns to normal,” EI has developed a plan, aimed at providing a safe classroom environment to our students.
Reopening Business: “Guidelines for Minimizing Occupational COVID-19 Transmission as Social Distancing is Relaxed”
Once your community is no longer requiring significant mitigation policies in response to COVID-19, social distancing will be gradually relaxed. This prudent “step by step” approach should also be followed when re-staffing business operations.
Under normal circumstances, OSHA would require employers to determine work-relatedness in order to decide if an injury or illness should be recorded on the OSHA 300 (the Log). Making that determination was not, in most cases, very difficult.
Is your operation classified as an “essential business” during “Stay at Home” social distancing policies which have been implemented by over 40 states nationwide? Have you identified key employees necessary at the workplace to keep your business viable during the pandemic? If so, your operation is faced with the tremendous responsibility of minimizing the potential for employee-to-employee transmission of the coronavirus. Identification of workers with COVID-19 symptoms or employees who may have been exposed to known carriers is paramount in minimizing viral transmission within your workforce.
There has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation lately regarding the use of respirators as a safeguard from COVID-19. The most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that wearing some type of face mask may prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, but offers little protection from contracting the disease.
The pathogen occupying all of our thoughts at present is transmitted from person-to-person primarily via virus-impacted droplets that are generated when infected persons cough, sneeze or speak. Studies have found that the COVID-19 virus can remain viable on surfaces for several hours up to days, including up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.
EI has been closely monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and documenting its progress and impact in a series of blogs beginning late January. Early in this series we addressed the importance of updating corporate business contingency plans to include key strategies which address the impact of COVID-19 on employees/business operations. EI’s third blog addressed proper personal protective equipment to minimize exposure to the pathogen, including a comparison of the effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks.
As the virus (newly dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization) accelerates and spreads beyond Chinese borders, businesses are deploying increasingly rigorous measures to limit the spread of the potential pandemic. Most news articles covering the spread of the virus include photos of travelers or government officials wearing surgical masks. But how effective will surgical masks for respiratory protection from the pathogen turn out to be? Is a surgical mask enough or is an N95 respirator needed?
Part II: Business Contingency Planning For the Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic – Is Your Corporation Prepared?
Just one week ago, The EI Group updated our blog recipients on the state of the emerging coronavirus. In just one week, mortality has vastly exceeded the SARS virus (349 versus 560 coronavirus fatalities). Reported cases of the coronavirus have eclipsed 28,000, nearly a seven-fold increase in only one week! In contrast, the entire SARS outbreak resulted in only 5,327 infected.
Part I: Business Contingency Planning For the Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic – Is Your Corporation Prepared?
News about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), commonly known as the “Wuhan Coronavirus,” has dominated the headlines for days now. Over 4,500 cases have now been confirmed in Mainland China and 106 people are dead as the death toll continues to rise. The virus has some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients have reportedly not had exposure to the animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring.
Deep Breath: Respiratory Protection in the Growing COVID-19 Epidemic
February 13, 2020
Minimizing Airborne Exposure to COVID-19 in Buildings
March 23, 2020
Is COVID-19 Recordable on the OSHA 300 Log?
April 15, 2020
Training Students in the Era of COVID-19
May 7, 2020
Aiborne COVID-19 Transmission in the Workplace
July 23, 2020
Are You Neglecting Safety Programs During the Pandemic?
August 18, 2020
Part I: Lessons Learned from Occupational COVID-19 Screening
August 27, 2020
Environmental Surveillance: COVID-19 Testing of Wastewater
September 3, 2020
Part III: Tips for an Effective Occupational COVID-19 Screening Process
September 17, 2020
What Does Swiss Cheese Have to Do with Preventing COVID-19?
August 19, 2021