Jun 18, 2020

A Briggs & Stratton employee who pushed for more coronavirus restrictions in the workplace died from the virus

(JSONLINE) In response to his death, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, executive director of the immigrant and workers rights advocacy group Voces de la Frontera, said the group sent a public letter to the company and filed a complaint with the regional Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The letter and complaint list specific requests, including greater access to testing for employees, a mandatory mask wearing policy and ensuring there is 6 feet of distance in all departments and production lines. 

Neumann-Ortiz is also asking the company to implement or strengthen the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards at the factory.

"His precious life and premature death are a reminder to all of us, that time is of the essence," Neumann-Ortiz said. 

Neumann-Ortiz said the communications staff at Briggs & Stratton reached out to her on the day of the news conference. However, since that time, Neumann-Ortiz said she has not heard back from the company after sending two emails about a follow-up phone call. 

"We are trying again because we are taking them at their word that they do want to respond to these issues," she said.

Rick Carpenter, the vice president of corporate marketing and communications at the Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton, said the company has been doing its best to fight the coronavirus. 

"Know that we are working hard to remain vigilant against this virus," Carpenter said in an email.


Read full at

https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/west/news/wauwatosa/2020/06/16/coronavirus-briggs-stratton-worker-dies-covid-19/3199127001/

Jun 15, 2020

America fails the Covid-19 pandemic marshmallow test for society.

( ) One way to think about the Covid-19 pandemic is that it poses a kind of marshmallow test for society.

At this point, there have been enough international success stories in dealing with the coronavirus to leave us with a clear sense of what beating the pandemic takes. First, you have to impose strict social distancing long enough to reduce the number of infected people to a small fraction of the population. Then you have to implement a regime of testing, tracing and isolating: quickly identifying any new outbreak, finding everyone exposed, and quarantining them until the danger is past.

This strategy is workable. South Korea has done it. New Zealand has done it.

But you have to be strict and you have to be patient, staying the course until the pandemic is over, not giving in to the temptation to return to normal life while the virus is still widespread. So it is, as I said, a kind of marshmallow test.

And America is failing that test.

Read full at:

Jun 14, 2020

Review of 16 cohorts found 40-45% of people who tested positive with RT-PCR using nasopharyngeal swabs are asymptomatic

Review published in Annals of Internal Medicine https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-3012 and covered by Time  https://time.com/5848949/covid-19-asymptomatic-spread/

This can profoundly impact the utility of COVID-19 screening for symptoms before clinical procedures such as pulmonary function testing since, even though the asymptomatic people appear to shed virus at the same rate as symptomatic people, they will pass the symptom screening.

EPA Adds More Indoor Air Quality Questions and Answers to our COVID-19 FAQ Webpage

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is on everyone's mind as we spend more time inside our homes. EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have guidance for states & territories, tribes, and local governments (including public health agencies), homeowners, business owners, schools, and others to address questions about risks, exposures and protection from COVID-19.

Examples of Frequent Questions about Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Answers to these questions and more about indoor air and COVID-19 can be found here. Each FAQ includes links to additional information for managing IAQ in your home and relevant CDC guidance to help protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. 

If you have additional questions about indoor air, disinfectants, drinking water or other topics, please visit EPA's Coronavirus (COVID-19) website and Frequent Questions Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information. For more multilingual web content on the Coronavirus, indoor air quality and other environmental health issues, visit: www.epa.gov/lep. EPA is continuing to add multilingual content and updating this FAQ list frequently, so please consider checking it routinely.

Free ACOEM Webinar on Prevention of COVID-19 in Construction Workers

The ACOEM Webinar "Prevention of COVID-19 in Construction Workers" is posted at the link below.  It will be next Wednesday, June 17 at 12 noon Eastern. It is free, but those interested must register here:

https://connect.acoem.org/s/lt-event?id=a1U3m00000L1UgQEAV&_ga=2.135510833.1093704035.1591976357-1419543086.1591729216

Jun 12, 2020

First Reported Cases of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Companion Animals

What are the implications for public health practice?

Human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally occur. Animals ar

The figure shows an image of a cat with text overlay describing that there is currently no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading COVID-19 to people.

e not known to play a substantial role in spreading COVID-19, but persons with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals. Companion animals that test positive for SARS-CoV-2 should be monitored and separated from persons and other animals until they recover.


 

On April 22, CDC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported cases of two domestic cats with confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). These are the first reported companion animals (including pets and service animals) with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United States, and among the first findings of SARS-CoV-2 symptomatic companion animals reported worldwide. These feline cases originated from separate households and were epidemiologically linked to suspected or confirmed human COVID-19 cases in their respective households. Notification of presumptive positive animal test results triggered a One Health* investigation by state and federal partners, who determined that no further transmission events to other animals or persons had occurred. Both cats fully recovered. Although there is currently no evidence that animals play a substantial role in spreading COVID-19, CDC advises persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to restrict contact with animals during their illness and to monitor any animals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and separate them from other persons and animals at home (1).


SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic coronavirus that likely originated in bats (2). A small number of animals worldwide, including dogs, cats, zoo tigers and lions, and farmed mink, have been infected naturally with SARS-CoV-2, mostly through suspected human-to-animal transmission (3). In addition, experimental studies in ferrets, golden Syrian hamsters, Egyptian fruit bats, and cats show that these species can transmit infection to cohoused animals of the same species (47).


Read full from CDC:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6923e3.htm


Trends in Pneumoconiosis Deaths — United States, 1999–2018

What is already known about this topic?

Pneumoconioses are a group of occupational lung diseases caused by inhaling organic dust and inorganic mineral dust particles. From 1968 to 2000, death rates for all pneumoconioses decreased with the exception of those for asbestosis. Although preventable, deaths continue to occur.

What is added by this report?

Pneumoconiosis deaths decreased from 2,738 deaths in 1999 to 1,632 in 2018, and age-adjusted death rates decreased from 12.8 to 5.3 per million population. All pneumoconioses decreased with the exception of pneumoconiosis attributed to other inorganic dusts.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Pneumoconiosis-associated deaths continue to occur, underscoring the importance of occupational dust exposure reduction, early case detection, and continued surveillance to monitor trends, with an increased focus on pneumoconiosis attributable to other inorganic dusts.

Pneumoconioses are preventable occupational lung diseases caused by inhaling dust particles such as coal dust or different types of mineral dusts (1). To assess recent trends in deaths associated with pneumoconiosis, CDC analyzed multiple cause-of-death data*,† for decedents aged ≥15 years for the years 1999–2018, and industry and occupation data collected from 26 states§ for the years 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2007–2013. During 1999–2018, pneumoconiosis deaths decreased by 40.4%, with the exception of pneumoconiosis attributed to other inorganic dusts (e.g., aluminum, bauxite, beryllium, iron, and tin oxide), which increased significantly (p-value for time trend <0.05). The largest observed decreases in pneumoconiosis deaths were for those associated with coal workers' pneumoconiosis (69.6%) and silicosis (53.0%). Asbestosis was the most frequently reported pneumoconiosis and was associated with working in the construction industry. The ongoing occurrence of deaths associated with pneumoconiosis underscores the importance of occupational dust exposure reduction, early case detection, and continued surveillance to monitor trends.

Read full from:
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6923a1.htm

Jun 8, 2020

Respiratory protection for health care workers: A 2020 COVID‐19 perspective

Abstract: As the US health care system began to respond to the coronavirus disease‐2019 pandemic, demand for respiratory personal protective equipment (PPE) increased precipitously, as did the number of users. This commentary discusses ensuing deviations from accepted respiratory PPE program practices, which potentially increased risk to health care workers. Such lapses included omitting user training and fit testing, provision of unapproved devices, and application of devices in settings and ways for which they were not intended. The temporary compromise of professionally accepted standards due to exigencies must not become the new normal. Rather, the current attention to PPE should be leveraged to enhance practice, motivate vital research, and strengthen professional, governmental, and institutional capabilities to control health care worker exposures to infectious hazards.

Read full here
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajim.23144

Jun 5, 2020

Subject: US EPA Announces Anaerobic Digestion Funding Opportunity

US EPA has announced a competitive grant funding opportunity with an estimated $3 million available to increase anaerobic digester (AD) capacity in the United States. US EPA anticipates awarding 10 to 40 projects, with each individual project eligible to receive between $50,000 - $300,000.
 
Applications must achieve one or more of the following objectives:
  •  Support State, Tribal, and/or local government programs that seek to use AD to increase their organic waste diversion rates;
  • Demonstrate solutions and/or approaches for increasing AD utilization that can be replicated by other communities, governments, or other entities; and/or Establish new or expand existing partnerships that result in the development of AD capacity.
The following entities are eligible to apply:
* State, local, Tribal, interstate, and intrastate government agencies and instrumentalities; and
* Non-profit organizations (as defined by 2 CFR Part 200) that are not 501(c)(4) organizations that lobby, including non-profit educational institutions and non-profit hospitals.
 
Individuals and for-profit organizations are not eligible.
 
Application must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov <http://www.grants.gov/> by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 14, 2020 to receive consideration for funding. More information is available at the EPA Anaerobic Digestion Funding Opportunity's website <http://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/sustainable-materials-management-2020-anaerobic-digestion-funding> and on Grants.gov <http://www.grants.gov/> under Funding Opportunity Announcement EPA-OLEM-ORCR-20-02.
 

Jun 1, 2020

OSHA Releases Summary List of Guidance Documents Taken to Protect Workers During COVID-19

On May 28, 2020 OSHA released a comprehensive list of guidance documents, statements, and actions they've taken to help protect workers during the coronavirus pandemic.  The list is categorized into the following primary topic areas.  

They are:
  • Respirator Guidance
  • Protecting Workers in High-Risk Industries
  • Enforcing Safety in the Workplace
  • Offering Clear Direction for Employers

The list is a great way to see if you've missed anything.

 Source:

CDC - Sobering statistics on COVID among Healthcare Personnels

CDC released new statistics yesterday.  
One of the more sobering for the health care community are the number of cases and the number of fatalities within the health care community. This is made even more significant by the fact that CDC only has the mortality status for only 56.4% of the cases among health care personnel.
 
Cases & Deaths among Healthcare Personnel
Data were collected from 1,417,310 people, but healthcare personnel status was only available for 304,479 (21.5%) people. For the 66,447 cases of COVID-19 among healthcare personnel, death status was only available for 37,485 (56.4%).

CASES AMONG HCP 66,447

DEATHS AMONG HCP 318

See full from CDC :

May 26, 2020

OSHA Will Examine if Employers Determined Whether Employee COVID-19 Cases are Work Related for Purposes of Recording Workplace Injury and Illnesses

On May 19, 2019, OSHA issued another enforcement guidance memorandum
regarding recording COVID-19 cases that rescinds the prior guidance and obligates employers to make at least some work-related determinations regarding employees who contract COVID-19. The new memorandum goes into effect May 26, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice.

By way of background, OSHA has explained that a COVID-19 case is a recordable illness if (1) an employee is positive or presumptively positive for COVID-19; (2) the case is work-related; and (3) the case results in medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work. For employers, the "million-dollar" question remains: How does an employer determine whether an employee's COVID-19 case is work-related such that it is recordable on the employer's Injury and Illness logs?

OSHA's May 19 memorandum seeks to help employers address this question.

To start, OSHA will exercise its enforcement discretion to assess employers' efforts in making work-related determinations. This means that employers, at a minimum, must undertake an investigation to determine whether the COVID-19 case is work-related.

To this end, when an employer learns of an employee's COVID-19 illness, the employer should, at a minimum:

Ask the employee how he believes he contracted the COVID-19 illness;
 
While respecting employee privacy, discuss with the employee his work and out-of-work activities that may have led to the COVID-19 illness; and
 
Review the employee's work environment for potential COVID-19 exposure.

The employer should base its work-related determination should be based on the information reasonably available it at the time; however, if the employer later learns more information related to an employee's COVID-19 illness, the employer should then take that information into account and revisit whether the illness is work-related.

The memorandum explains that after a reasonable and good faith inquiry, if 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 instructs Compliance Officers to consider the questions below when determining whether an employer has complied with its recording obligation. That is, evidence and information regarding answers to these questions may weigh in favor of or against work-relatedness.

Read memorandum at:

May 21, 2020

Department of Energy Announces $67 Million to Enhance Manufacturing Competitiveness Through Innovation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced a $67 million funding opportunity to stimulate technology innovation, improve the energy productivity of American manufacturing, and enable the manufacturing of cutting-edge products in the United States.

"As we move into the future, energy competitiveness is becoming increasingly critical to manufacturing competitiveness, and the Trump Administration is fully committed to securing U.S. leadership in manufacturing," said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. "To create and sustain American leadership in advanced manufacturing, DOE is investing in new industrial technologies, materials, and processes that will help bolster American manufacturing."

In its report, "Strategy for American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing," the White House identified advanced manufacturing as one of the vital industries of the future, stating, "Federal, State, and local governments must work together to support advanced manufacturing through collective actions that support research and development, develop the workforce, promote free and fair trade, and create a regulatory and tax system that unleashes the private sector."

Read on at

May 20, 2020

News Release from OSHA: Revised Enforcement Policies For Coronavirus

OSHA Department of Labor, United States of America  
News Release

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has adopted revised policies for enforcing OSHA's requirements with respect to coronavirus as economies reopen in states throughout the country.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, understanding about the transmission and prevention of infection has improved. The government and the private sector have taken rapid and evolving measures to slow the virus's spread, protect employees, and adapt to new ways of doing business.

Now, as states begin reopening their economies, OSHA has issued two revised enforcement policies to ensure employers are taking action to protect their employees.

First, OSHA is increasing in-person inspections at all types of workplaces. The new enforcement guidance reflects changing circumstances in which many non-critical businesses have begun to reopen in areas of lower community spread. The risk of transmission is lower in specific categories of workplaces, and personal protective equipment potentially needed for inspections is more widely available. OSHA staff will continue to prioritize COVID-19 inspections, and will utilize all enforcement tools as OSHA has historically done.

Second, OSHA is revising its previous enforcement policy for recording cases of coronavirus. Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, coronavirus is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of the coronavirus, if the case:

- Is confirmed as a coronavirus illness;
- Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
- Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.

Under the new policy issued today, OSHA will enforce the recordkeeping requirements of 29 CFR 1904 for employee coronavirus illnesses for all employers. Given the nature of the disease and community spread, however, in many instances it remains difficult to determine whether a coronavirus illness is work-related, especially when an employee has experienced potential exposure both in and out of the workplace. OSHA's guidance emphasizes that employers must make reasonable efforts, based on the evidence available to the employer, to ascertain whether a particular case of coronavirus is work-related.

Recording a coronavirus illness does not mean that the employer has violated any OSHA standard. Following existing regulations, employers with 10 or fewer employees and certain employers in low hazard industries have no recording obligations; they need only report work-related coronavirus illnesses that result in a fatality or an employee's in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.[1]

For further information and resources about the coronavirus disease, please visit OSHA's coronavirus webpage.

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.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

[1] See 29 C.F.R. §§ 1904.1(a)(1), 1904.2.

###

May 15, 2020

Wisconsin Washington/Ozaukee Public Health Department “Blueprint for Reopening Washington and Ozaukee Counties”

The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department (WOPHD) released the "Blueprint for Reopening Washington and Ozaukee Counties"

The Blueprint provides broad guidance for reopening the economy safely and incrementally after Governor Evers' Safer at Home order is lifted.

May 11, 2020

New Chemical Accident Reporting Requirements

This Operating Experience Level 3 (OE-3) document provides information on a new requirement imposed by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) to report certain accidental releases of chemicals. The CSB requires reporting of any accidental release into the ambient air that results in a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage. This new reporting requirement is distinct and separate from other release reporting requirements from other governmental agencies. This OE-3 document includes the applicability criteria for reporting an accidental release, steps to report the release, and a recommendation to update protocols and procedures.

New Chemical Accident Reporting Requirements here;

May 8, 2020

Complimentary Webinar Employer Workplace Prevention of COVID-19 Airborne Transmission

Employer Workplace Prevention of COVID-19 Airborne Transmission:
Applying OSHA's Hierarchy of Controls

Maintain a safe work environment by learning about personal protection for infectious diseases, COVID-19 airborne prevention and recommendations for engineering work-practice. Provide a safe and healthful work environment to your employees as required by OSHA's General Duty Clause law.

Complimentary Webinar presented by Waubonsee Community College

Presenter: Michael Serpe, CSP, BSEM
Tuesday, May 12,  9 - 11 a.m. CT

RSVP for Webinar
https://www.waubonsee.edu/education-and-workforce-development-webinar-sign

35 years later, Bhopal gas leak failures resurface in Vizag

In Vizag, the 11 deaths so far and hundreds of affected people in hospital indicate that styrene must have escaped in extremely high concentrations and affected the nearby population.


Thirty six years after the Bhopal disaster, it is distressing to see accidents from hazardous industries. The fields of occupational and environmental medicine, toxicology, and epidemiology which study and prevent industrial accidents have still not been developed adequately to cater for the amount of industrial development that has occurred in India. After the Bhopal disaster, I was frustrated that this field was not available in India and I had to go overseas to study these subjects. In 2020, I'm not sure very much has changed.

Please read on from source
https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/35-years-later-bhopal-gas-leak-failures-resurface-in-vizag/story-blOMncph2Az8RJO4yKTvUO.html

May 4, 2020

Solar and Wind Cheapest Sources of Power in Most of the World

(BloomBerg) A decade ago, solar was more than $300 a megawatt-hour and onshore wind exceeded $100 per megawatt-hour. Today, onshore wind is $37 in the U.S. and $30 in Brazil, while solar is $38 in China, the cheapest sources of new electricity in those countries.

Battery storage is also getting more competitive. The levelized cost of electricity for batteries has fallen to $150 a megawatt-hour, about half of what it was two years ago. That's made it the cheapest new peaking-power technology in places that import gas, including Europe, China and Japan.

Apr 29, 2020

Dr Michael Osterholm, head of CIDRAP, weekly podcasts on covid-19

In case you haven't heard these, Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of CIDRAP (Univ of MN Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), has spent his life working with epidemics and he's been giving weekly podcasts on covid-19 for 5 weeks. They are listed here:
  •         Episode 1: How We Got Here (March 24, 2020)
  •         Episode 2: The Global Coronavirus Response (March 31, 2020)
  •         Episode 3: Preparing For What's To Come (April 8, 2020)
  •         Episode 4: The Reality of Testing (April 14, 2020)
  •         Episode 5: Living with the Virus (April 22, 2020)

And you can find them here https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars They are very interesting and informative.

Apr 24, 2020

WEBINAR | COVID-19 and Your Workplace: Getting Back to Work Safely

COVID-19 and Your Workplace: Getting Back to Work Safely

Here are three simple questions:
  1. Does your organization have an updated infectious disease control program?
  2. Does your organization have training modules for supervisors and employees to understand COVID-19 exposures and best practices?
  3. Do you know the recordkeeping requirements for COVID-19?

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, join us next Wednesday April 29th at 1pm CST for a live webinar. Attendees will leave with:

  • Knowledge from a front-line occupational medicine doctor
  • Insights on supply chain constraints for PPE
  • Action steps for implementing an exposure control plan
  • Opportunity to purchase COVID-19 program documents and training modules

Register for the Webinar Today
https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1938373435447790351

Apr 22, 2020

EPA Publishes Scope Documents for 20 Risk Evaluation Chemicals

(PAINT.ORG) This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published 20 draft scope documents for high-priority chemicals undergoing Risk Evaluation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These are the 20 high priority chemicals that EPA designated for TSCA Risk Evaluation in December 2019.

EPA is accepting comments on the first 13 scoping documents, made available on April 6, through May 26. By statute, EPA must finalize scoping documents by June 20, 2020. Stakeholders must submit comment on the second batch of seven chemicals within 45 days of publication in the Federal Register. At this writing, EPA had not published in the Federal Register.

The scope documents include the proposed conditions of use, hazards, exposures, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulations that EPA expects to consider in the TSCA risk evaluations. The documents also include: a description of the reasonably available information and the science approaches that EPA plans to use, a conceptual model that outlines the potential hazards and exposures throughout the life cycle of the chemical, an analysis plan to identify the approaches and methods EPA plans to use to assess health and environmental factors, and a potential plan for peer review.

Notably, EPA has not proposed exclusions for de minimis amounts. EPA may consider exclusions for de minimis amounts on a case-by-case basis, with supporting data. Information related to amounts in products or used in processes, exposures or controls/personal protective equipment (PPE) may be useful in seeking such an exemption.

EPA also generally includes disposal as a condition of use where it did not in the first 10 chemicals it evaluated. This is likely due to the 9th Circuit's opinion in Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, et. al. v. EPA (No. 17-72260), where the 9th Circuit evaluated scope of EPA risk evaluations as required by EPA's risk evaluation framework rule.

The 20 Scoping Documents are as follows:

Apr 17, 2020

New class action launched over Pfas toxic firefighting chemicals used by defense

Lawyers have launched a new class action on behalf of tens of thousands of residents over the defense department's use of toxic firefighting chemicals.

The case will allege defence's use of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (Pfas) had "cataclysmic consequences" for residents in Wodonga, Darwin, Townsville, Wagga Wagga, Edinburgh and Bullsbrook.

The highly persistent and probable carcinogens were used for decades in firefighting foam on defence bases, leaching into nearby land and water supplies, contaminating food and accumulating in humans.

Residents near two other military bases – in Oakey, Queensland and Katherine, Northern Territory – reached a $212.5m settlement with the federal government over Pfas contamination in February.

Apr 14, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Announces OSHA Interim Enforcement Response Plan to Protect Workers during the Coronavirus Pandemic

OSHA – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced an interim enforcement response plan for the coronavirus pandemic. The response plan provides instructions and guidance to OSHA Area Offices and compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) for handling coronavirus-related complaints, referrals, and severe illness reports.

During the coronavirus outbreak, OSHA Area Offices will utilize their inspection resources to fulfill mission essential functions and protect workers exposed to the disease. The response plan contains interim procedures that allow flexibility and discretion for field offices to maximize OSHA's impact in securing safe workplaces in this evolving environment.

"OSHA is committed to protecting the health and safety of America's workers during this challenging time in our nation's history," Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt said. "Today's guidance outlines commonsense procedures for investigating complaints related to the coronavirus, while also ensuring the safety of workers, employers, and inspectors."

The response plan outlines procedures for addressing reports of workplace hazards related to the coronavirus. Fatalities and imminent danger exposures related to the coronavirus will be prioritized for on-site inspections. The response plan contains procedures and sample documentation for CSHOs to use during coronavirus-related inspections. Workers requesting inspections, complaining of coronavirus exposure, or reporting illnesses may be protected under one or more whistleblower statutes and will be informed of their protections from retaliation.

This memorandum will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. It is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Check OSHA's webpage at http://www.osha.gov/coronavirus frequently for updates.

Apr 9, 2020

Free CDC webinar on Elastomeric Respirators for U.S. Healthcare Delivery

Here is a link to details about reusable elastomeric respirator use in healthcare. This includes findings and recommendations from a compilation of ongoing studies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wd5Bx2fVDI

This webinar provides an overview of respiratory protection and guidance surrounding supply shortages. This webinar also provides information on infection prevention measures, strategies for optimizing the supply of N95 respirators, and a broad overview of the use of elastomeric respirators in healthcare. Guidance on Elastomeric Respirators is currently in development.

This video can also be viewed at
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/videos/low-res/coronavirus/Elastomeric_Respirators_Webinar.mp4

Apr 8, 2020

Risk based chart on when to use masks or respirators for Covid-19

When to use masks or respirators for Covid-19 is confusing.
Chart below suggests general concepts for selecting based on risk and protection effectiveness for worker using it. 

From University of Arizona Occupational Medicine.


OSHA Issues Guidance for Respirators Certified under Other Countries' Standards During COVID-19 Pandemic

On Friday 4/3/2020, OSHA issued guidance that allows for use of some alternative respirators – see news release here:

and Enforcement Guidance here: 

Several Free ASSP podcasts on Covid19

Listen to the latest podcast to learn how to assess your workers'
COVID19 risk level and discover steps you can take to protect them.

https://www.assp.org/standards/safety-standards-and-tech-pubs-podcast

Apr 7, 2020

Department of Energy Announces New Funding to Train Emergency Response and Building Professionals

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $4.5 million in funding for training programs for professionals who interact with distributed energy resources, including solar energy systems, storage systems, "smart" building technologies, and electric vehicles. These professionals include those that lead the nation's emergency response and resilience planning, including firefighters, first responders, and safety officials.

Read more

https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/department-energy-announces-new-funding-train-emergency-response-and-building

Chernobyl in Ukraine: Firefighters battling radioactive forest

Emergency units are trying to contain fires in radiation-contaminated forest near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear plant. The fires have caused a spike in radioactivity in the area.

The fires have raised fears that radiation from the area could be dispersed farther afield, but authorities said while radiation in the fire zone was far above normal levels, levels in the capital, Kyiv, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south, were within norms.

CPAPs can be repurposed into ventilators.

To my friends here in the health and medical fields
please share that CPAPs can be repurposed into ventilators.

A life line to many.

Thank you,
Christopher Haase

Apr 2, 2020

Toxnet Occupational Health relational database information moved to Haz-Map.

With the National Library of Medicine's decision to shutdown Toxnet much of its content moved to other NLM website, independent of NLM at
http://haz-map.com/

The content of the Haz-Map data tables is the same but the user interface has been improved. Improvements include adding chemical structures, adding popup tips to some agent fields, adding new agent and disease fields, alphabetizing chemical lists on base names of chemicals (without prefixes), and improvements in the user interface for both the computer and mobile devices.

On November 2019, Dr. Jay Brown completed the review of the first 1250 chemicals entered into the database. Review of the second 1250 chemicals added was started on March 5. He is busy checking spelling, hyperlinks, IARC classifications, TLVs, IDLHs, vapor pressures, and disease links.

If you have been a previous user of Haz-Map, I encourage you to view the new website and bookmark this new location in your Internet browser application.


Cancer risk among career firefighters are at increased risk for five cancers with typically stronger associations in those diagnosed younger than the age of 50

Conclusion
Male career firefighters in Florida are at increased risk for five cancers with typically stronger associations in those diagnosed younger than the age of 50, while there was evidence for increased thyroid and brain cancer, and possibly melanoma risk in female firefighters. Larger cohorts with adequate female representation, along with the collection of well‐characterized exposure histories, are needed to more precisely examine cancer risk in this occupational group.

Full study at:
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.23086

Good webinar from Duke about their massive program to decontaminate N95 filtering facepieces

Good webinar from Duke about their massive program to decontaminate N95 filtering facepieces viewed here;

https://vmw-oesoapps.duhs.duke.edu/N95Webinar/GMT20200331-190119_Duke-Healt_3840x2160.mp4