Mar 31, 2020

Free Resources for Pandemic Support form CCOHS

To support workplaces in protecting the health and well-being of their employees during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, CCOHS has made helpful resources, courses and PDF versions of guides available free of charge.  

Online Courses

Publications (PDF versions)

View the complete list of available resources, including fact sheets, podcasts and posters.

The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supply Equivalents (from ECRI)

Of possible interest is the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supply Equivalents (xlsx): "Best matches for the three most popular exam gloves, disinfecting wipes, face shields, isolation gowns, IV solutions, N95 air purifying respirators, shoe covers, surgical masks, and universal transport medium based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and functional equivalence"


I am but the messenger; I do not have the knowledge to critically evaluate this resource. But I hope it is of utility, thanks.

Also see:

Mar 29, 2020

EPA suspends enforcement of environmental laws amid coronavirus

(The Hill) "This EPA statement is essentially a nationwide waiver of environmental rules for the indefinite future. It tells companies across the country that they will not face enforcement even if they emit unlawful air and water pollution in violation of environmental laws, so long as they claim that those failures are in some way 'caused' by the virus pandemic. And it allows them an out on monitoring too, so we may never know how bad the violating pollution was," she wrote in a statement to The Hill.

The EPA has been under pressure from a number of industries, including the oil industry, to suspend enforcement of a number of environmental regulations due to the pandemic.

"EPA is committed to protecting human health and the environment, but recognizes challenges resulting from efforts to protect workers and the public from COVID-19 may directly impact the ability of regulated facilities to meet all federal regulatory requirements," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

Read on at:

Mar 27, 2020

Webinar COVID-19: Transportation Workers--Impact of Emergency Declarations and Other Occupational Health Issues

COVID-19: Transportation Workers--Impact of Emergency Declarations and Other Occupational Health Issues

COVID-19 has affected many industries including transportation. Truck drivers and many other transportation workers have been identified as essential critical infrastructure workers during this pandemic. Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and others face unique challenges during normal operations, but during this crisis, many of their routine regulatory, health and safety, and lifestyle challenges have become more complicated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have issued several emergency declarations and guidance documents including those affecting CMV medical examinations and drug and alcohol testing.

During this webinar, Dr. Natalie Hartenbaum, co-chair of ACOEM's Transportation Section, will discuss the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic by those in the transportation industry with a focus on truck drivers. She will review pertinent regulatory relief and other guidance provided by DOT or the transportation agencies which relate to the occupational health professional. This webinar is brought to you with support from the ACOEM Transportation Section.

Natalie P. Hartenbaum, MD, MPH, FACOEM
President and Chief Medical Officer of OccuMedix
Dresher, PA

Mar 30, 2020 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Full info:

Mar 25, 2020

Webinar COVID-19: Protecting Health Care Workers --Decontamination & Reuse of Respirators

Friday, March 27, 2020, at 12:00 PM EDT

1.5 hour webinar with live Q&A

Occupational health care providers in the United States (U.S.) are currently addressing emergency protocols for protecting health care workers (HCWs) from COVID-19. However, there are many unanswered questions related to protecting HCWs especially with the limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 respirators.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) should release guidance documents this week on decontamination of FFRs, elastomeric respirators, PAPRs, and covering a respirator with a surgical mask.

In this webinar, the speakers will review the NIOSH/CDC guidance followed by a discussion of studies on and systems for the decontamination of N95s. The presentations will be followed by live, moderated Q&A.

David Rempel, MD, FACOEM, Professor Emeritus, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

CDC/NIOSH Guidance on Decontamination of FFR and Elastomeric Respirators:
TBD, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), CDC/NIOSH

Review of Studies on the Decontamination of N95 Respirators:
Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH, Professor Emeritus, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Illinois, Chicago

Update on University of Nebraska Medical Center Decontamination System Using UV-C:
Shawn G. Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH, Professor of Environmental Health, Indiana University School of Public Health

Reusable Elastomeric Respirators: University of Maryland Experience and Scientific Update:
Stella Hines, MD, MSPH, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, University of Maryland

The Webinar will be recorded. The recording and slides will be emailed to all registrants following the presentation.

Register here

Mar 24, 2020

Health care workers need protection during pandemic: NUPGE and HSABC release new research showing higher precautions recommended

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and Health Sciences Association of BC (HSA) released today a research paper focused on respiratory protection for health workers caring for COVID-19 patients.

"Health care workers around the world are reporting that personal protective equipment guidelines are inconsistent and in short supply. As this pandemic hits our health care system in Canada, the priority must be to keep our health care workers healthy so they can provide the care patients need," said NUPGE President Larry Brown.

"HSA contacted Dr. John Murphy, an expert on occupational hygiene and adjunct professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, for science-based guidance on the best measures for infection control among health care workers. His research confirms that the best practice is to use N95 respiratory protection. This supports the position of other national health care unions in Canada, and the joint advice to members from unions across Canada," Brown said. See March 13, 2020 Joint Statement

"HSA represents more than 15,000 health science professionals working in our hospitals, including the respiratory therapists responsible for keeping patients in respiratory distress alive and the diagnostic technologists conducting the scans, x-rays, and other critical tests needed to diagnose hospitalized patients. When working with COVID-19 patients, a surgical mask is simply not the best practice for infection control. It is important our members know that and make sound decisions about how to best protect themselves while providing care," said HSA President Val Avery.

Recognizing the world-wide shortage of personal protective equipment, Dr. Murphy recommends that properly fit-tested N95 masks be prioritized for allocation based on assessment of the extent of potential exposure and risk, and that surgical masks be used as a back up. In all cases, eye protection must accompany respiratory protection.

Link:  Respiratory Protection for Health Workers Caring for COVID-19 Patients (Murphy 2020)
Link:  Advisory Report for the Health Sciences Associat ion of Br i t ish Columbia and the Nat ional Union of Public and General Employees on Respiratory Protection Dur ing Care of Influenza Patients (Murphy 2009)

NIEHS ALL-HANDS MESSAGE**: PRESS RELEASE: COVID-19 Workers Get Training to Protect Their Own

COVID-19 Workers get training to protect their own health


Today, the National Institutes of Health will launch a new website with important educational resources for Coronavirus workers dealing with the spread of COVID-19. The initiative got underway after Congress passed a supplemental appropriation of $10 million on March 6 "for worker-based training to prevent and reduce exposure of hospital employees, emergency first responders, and other workers who are at risk of exposure to coronavirus through their work duties." The law provided a total of $8.3 billion in emergency funding for certain Federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.


The worker-based training initiative is being led by NIH's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which has a long-established Worker Training Program (WTP). The program awards grants for training and development of educational resources for employees in high risk occupations who serve the public during emergencies and who need skills to protect their own health as they are potentially exposed to dangerous pathogens, contaminated materials, or infected people. As a part of this effort the Worker Training Program also acts as a clearinghouse among grant recipients to broadly share the training and educational resources developed with the grant money.


Joseph "Chip" Hughes, who has led the NIEHS Worker Training Program for 31 years, said, "These men and women are so dedicated and as they work so hard to serve and protect the public during this COVID-19 pandemic, I want to make sure they know how to protect their own health too. We don't need them getting sick or taking the virus back to their families or their communities."


With this new supplemental funding from Congress, the NIEHS Worker Training Program is creating a COVID-19 virtual safety training initiative for frontline responders including emergency medical personnel, firefighters, law enforcement officers, environmental cleanup workers, high-risk custodial service workers, food processing and delivery workers, water and sewage treatment workers, sanitation workers, and health care facility employees.


The initial focus is to build a virtual safety training delivery platform in partnership with private sector e-learning companies with the capability to deliver synchronized just-in-time web-based training across the country in targeted high-risk industrial sectors. Additionally, a cadre of COVID-19 safety trainers and virtual safety advisors is being created to leverage the delivery of advanced training technology to frontline responders.


After learning of the special appropriation, NIEHS moved quickly to convene a national workshop in partnership with Emory Health Sciences Center on March 17. The workshop titled, "Protecting Infectious Disease Responders During the COVID-19 Outbreak," used virtual meeting technology to bring together hundreds of the country's infectious disease experts, nurses and health care providers, emergency response organizations and academic training centers to map out a web-based, technology-assisted training strategy to respond to the escalating need to ensure protections for COVID-19 responders, particularly in health care and emergency response services.


During a recent Congressional hearing on COVID-19 response, NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., testified that "NIEHS has played a very critical role in training people who can deal with outbreaks."  He noted the NIEHS Worker Training Program previously helped with the Ebola response.


NIEHS Worker Training Program grant recipients provided occupational safety training to workers during the anthrax attacks in 2001, the H5N1 outbreak in 2007, and the H1N1 avian influenza outbreak in 2009; mold remediation training following Hurricanes Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012; and Ebola virus disease preparedness training 2013-2015. A list of program grantees is available at


This COVID-19 virtual safety training program will be administered by NIEHS and was developed in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Mar 20, 2020

Coronavirus Resources Center from Institute of Hazardous Materials Management

The foremost concern of IHMM and HMS is with the safety and health of all of us; our staff, colleagues, certificants and members and those in our communities. As we have been doing the past three weeks, we continue to share credible, authoritative information for you in meeting the threat posed by the COVID-19 virus.

Today, we are opening the Coronavirus Resources Center, where all of the most significant information for you is gathered in one place.

See More from IHMM

National Toxic Substances Incidents Program — Nine States, 2010–2014

Description of System: In 2010, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) initiated the National Toxic Substance Incidents Program (NTSIP), and it was retired in 2014. Nine state health departments participated in NTSIP surveillance: California, Louisiana, North Carolina, New York, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. The states conducted surveillance on acute toxic substance incidents, defined as an uncontrolled or illegal acute (lasting <72 hours) release of any toxic substance including chemical, biologic, radiologic, and medical materials. Surveillance focused on associated morbidity and mortality and public health actions. This report presents an overview of NTSIP and summarizes incidents and injuries from the nine participating states during 2010–2014.

Results: During 2010–2014, participating state health departments reported 22,342 incidents, of which 13,529 (60.6%) met the case definition for acute toxic substance incidents, and included 6,635 injuries among 5,134 injured persons, of whom 190 died. A trend analysis of the three states participating the entire time showed a decrease in the number of incidents with injuries. NTSIP incidents were 1.8 times more likely and injured persons were 10 times more likely to be associated with fixed facilities than transportation. Natural gas, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and chemicals used in illegal methamphetamine production were the most frequent substances in fixed-facility incidents. Sodium and potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, natural gas, and sulfuric acid were the most frequent substances in transportation-related incidents. Carbon monoxide was the most frequent substance in incidents with a large number of injured persons, and chemicals used in illegal methamphetamine production were the most frequent substance in incidents involving decontamination.

Read on at CDC Source:

Mar 17, 2020

American Chemistry Council Free Workplace Posters for COVID-19 Cleaning Procedures

The American Chemistry Council's outside group of public health advisors, the Water Quality & Health Council, has worked with several other public health partners to develop a user-friendly "pictogram" poster for disinfecting frequently touched surfaces against the COVID-19 virus.

Also includes Pictograms for:

The poster is freely downloadable at

Waiver or Modification of Requirements under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act as the Result of the Consequences of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Waiver or Modification of Requirements under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act as the Result of the Consequences of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

What: HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar declared a public health emergency, effective March 15, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. due to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak.

Where:  Nationwide.

Why:  President Donald J. Trump's declaration that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency.


DISCLAIMER: These guidance documents are not a final agency action, do not legally bind persons or entities outside the Federal government, and may be rescinded or modified in the Department's discretion. Noncompliance with any voluntary standards (e.g., recommended practices) contained in these documents will not, in itself, result in any enforcement action.

Mar 16, 2020

OSHA's Temporary Enforcement Guidance - Healthcare Respiratory Protection Annual Fit-Testing for N95 Filtering Facepieces During the COVID-19 Outbreak,

OSHA's Temporary Enforcement Guidance - Healthcare Respiratory Protection Annual Fit-Testing for N95 Filtering Facepieces During the COVID-19 Outbreak, is very important - among other things, OSHA says to perform an initial fit test using a qualitative method, to suspend annual fit-testing requirements during the pandemic, but to perform user seal checks when the respirator is donned.

Mar 13, 2020

Latest workplace Covid-19 regulatory guidance

Notes below from a WHO webinar 11th March on "EPI-WIN COVID-19 Employers and employees" s (recording and slides will be available at a later date).


1st presentation – Guidance for employers

  • Keep workplaces clean and hygienic (surfaces, keyboards etc.)

  • Encourage employees to regularly wash hands with soap and water (correct method, wash for enough time etc.)

  • Provide travel advice to employees

  • Anyone sick should stay at home

  • Hand sanitisers should be available 

  • Masks and paper tissue should be available in case anyone exhibits symptoms (visitors)

  • All objects like mobile phones and desks should be wiped with disinfectant at least one a day

  • Promote teleworking where possible

  • Brief employers, contractors etc.

  • Advise contractors to consult travel advice before going on business trips

  • It is the responsibility of employees to comply with travel guidance 


2nd presentation

  • Important to think about precarious workers. And health workers, who are at the frontier

  • Promote teleworking as much as possible. Not all workers can do this, e.g. workers facing the public, in social care/education etc.

  • Need to have income protection for those who are self-isolating or asked to take time off

  • Important to have a coming together of companies

  • If factories are open the one meter distance should be kept between workers, hand sanitizers should be readily available (suggested this should be provided by govt. agencies?)

  • Think about access to canteens

  • Use of personal safety equipment

  • Need to support family and workers who go through this change

  • Slowing productive activities if they're not essential, health has to come first

  • Adequate measures need to be followed


3rd presentation

3 areas of focus:

  1. Communication to companies and business associations on how to make workplaces safe and prevent spread

  2. Business impact, value change

  3. Working with govt. to offer preferential policies for businesses


A few examples of what employers and organizations are doing:

In the UK CBI is working closely with Govt, and providing advice to members on how to prevent spread, what to do if someone is showing symptoms. CBI has a special webpage with all the relevant info about the virus. Internal policy for events etc.

Singapore – dedicated webpage with guidance based on latest advice from Ministry of Health and Ministry of Manpower. Different federations coming together.  Advice given to frontline employees.

Cambodia – not too many confirmed cases but ILO already has a huge project and presence through a program set up to ensure workplace compliance. ILO has provided guidance to the main garment association. Garment association sent letter to their members with info, i.e. asking people to isolate if they have been to high risk countries, importance of personal hygiene etc.

Employers globally are taking health and safety as high priority and are taking necessary steps and working with federations and ministries.


4th presentation:

  • Occupational safety and health. Preventing infection in workplace

  • ILO's target is all workers, not just high-risk (health workers)

  • Most important part is to develop and implement policy

  • Need commitment and support

  • Hoping to produce a guideline asap


Other comments/Q&A

  • Informal workers, gig economy, countries with weak health systems and countries with weak protections – they are a concern.

  • Workplaces have a role in stopping the spread. Slowing down the pace.  This protects individuals.  Importance of simple measures like staying home if you're ill, not coughing on other people, social distancing, washing your hands every hour, using hand gel, not touching surfaces that could be infected, not touching your face, coughing in your sleeve.

  • Breathalyzer test – infection prevention control.  Working on developing flexible and appropriate guidance.  Concern about people using same breathalyzer.  Single use items.  If not single use need to be sterilized.  They can be disinfected.  

  • Schools have a responsibility towards staff and students.  Boarding schools, where students come from abroad.  Hosting sports events.  UNICEF guidance for schools is available.  It will also depend on local risk assessment.

  • Can mine workers be considered high risk?  Don't have specific data.  They are working in conditions that may already have affected their respiratory health.  Preexisting conditions could lead to higher vulnerability.

  • Always try to maintain a distance of one meter between yourself and others


Mar 2, 2020

U.S. EPA Webinar Strategies to Engage Food and Beverage Manufacturers in Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance

Getting Your "Food" in the Door: Strategies to Engage Food and Beverage Manufacturers in Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance

Date & Time:  March 24, 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET

Details & Free Registration:

Food and beverage manufacturers have real opportunities to save money and reduce pollution through pollution prevention (P2). But many Pollution Prevention technical assistance providers (TAPs) struggle to effectively engage and recruit companies to accept assistance. This webinar will provide effective strategies and lessons learned to help TAPs market technical assistance to manufacturers and get 'in the door' with companies. It will feature two seasoned P2 assistance programs sharing their experiences, and one food manufacturer providing their perspective on what makes for successful assistance.

-  Bruce Dvorak, University of Nebraska – Partners for Pollution Prevention
-  Derek Boer, CO Department of Public Health and Environment
-  Brian Morgan, Engineering Manager, Kerry Inc.