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Guidance to Help Prevent Worker Exposure to the COVID-19 Coronavirus

03/26/2020




Measures for protecting workers from exposure to, and infection with, the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 depend on the type of work being performed and exposure risk, including potential for interaction with infectious people and contamination of the work environment.

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Food Safety and the COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease

03/26/2020

Food Safety and the COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease


Industry Guidance: Questions and Answers 

Sourced from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration


How do I maintain social distancing in my food production/processing facility and food retail establishment where employees typically work within close distances?

To prevent spread of COVID-19, CDC is recommending individuals employ social distancing or maintaining approximately 6 feet from others, when possible. In food production/processing facilities and retail food establishments, an evaluation should be made to identify and implement operational changes that increase employee separation. However, social distancing to the full 6 feet will not be possible in some food facilities.


Workers in the food and agriculture sector fill critical and essential roles within communities. Promoting the ability of our workers within the food and agriculture industry to continue to work during periods of community restrictions, social distances, and closure orders, among others, is crucial to community continuity and community resilience. This was reinforced by DHS in its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19.


The risk of an employee transmitting COVID-19 to another is dependent on distance between employees, the duration of the exposure, and the effectiveness of employee hygiene practices and sanitation. When it’s impractical for employees in these settings to maintain social distancing, effective hygiene practices should be maintained to reduce the chance of spreading the virus. 


IMPORTANT:  Maintaining social distancing in the absence of effective hygiene practices may not prevent the spread of this virus. Food facilities should be vigilant in their hygiene practices, including frequent and proper hand-washing and routine cleaning of all surfaces.  


Because the intensity of the COVID-19 outbreak may differ according to geographic location, coordination with state and local officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside.  



Will FDA/EPA approve off-label use of quaternary ammonium sanitizer at 200 ppm as a hand sanitizer for checkers and customers?  It is currently on the EPA approved list for use in retail to sanitize food prep areas, dishes etc., and we would like to use it instead of gel hand sanitizer due to the lack of availability. 

We are aware of temporary out-of-stock conditions of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Several manufacturers of these products have indicated that they are working to replenish supplies. In addition, the FDA has issued guidance for the temporary compounding of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizers by pharmacists in state-licensed pharmacies or federal facilities and registered outsourcing facilities.  See  Immediately in Effect Guidance for Industry: Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency


FDA has also issued guidance for the temporary preparation of certain alcohol-based hand sanitizer products by firms during the public health emergency (COVID-19). See  Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-191) .


Hand sanitizers are not intended to replace  handwashing in food production and retail  settings. Instead, hand sanitizers may be used in addition to or in combination with proper handwashing. CDC recommends that everyone wash their hands with plain soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used if plain soap and water are not available.


As an interim measure, we understand some food establishments have set up quaternary ammonium hand-dip stations and sprays at 200 ppm concentration. These products are intended for use on surfaces, and as such, may not be formulated for use on skin. FDA is aware of adverse event reports from consumers using such products as a replacement for hand sanitizers and advises against using these products as replacements for hand sanitizers.


Should employees, such as cashiers, baggers, and cleaning personnel in food retail settings wear face masks to prevent exposure to COVID-19?

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. You should only wear a mask if a healthcare professional recommends it. A facemask should be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


CDC recommends  everyday preventive actions for everyone, including service industry workers and customers:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.



A worker in my food production/processing facility/farm has tested positive for COVID-19. What do I need to do to continue operations while protecting my other employees?

All components of the food industry are considered critical infrastructure and it is therefore vital that they continue to operate.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Guidance on  Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19  that includes information on how a COVID-19 outbreak could affect workplaces and  steps all employers can take to reduce workers’ risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) .


Food production/processing facilities/farms need to follow protocols, including cleaning protocols, set by local and state health departments, which may vary depending on the amount of community spread of COVID-19 in a given area. These decisions will be based on public health risk of person-to-person transmission – not based on food safety.   


If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality about individual employees’ identities. Sick employees should follow the CDC’s What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


CDC’s Interim US Guidance for Risk Assessment and Public Health Managements of Persons with Potential Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Exposures: Geographic Risk and Contacts of Laboratory-confirmed Cases, provides a framework for assessing and managing risks of potential exposures to SARS-CoV-2. 



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Tips for Employers Regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus

03/26/2020


Tips For Employers Regarding The COVID-19  Coronavirus

Employers and workers can take important steps in keeping the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus at bay.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is closely following data about COVID-19 coronavirus, or 2019 nCoV., and it is clear that employers need to recognize their responsibility in up-keeping a healthy workforce.


The NSC says that all employers can take important measures to keep workers healthy; however, those in the healthcare sector, with employees who travel internationally and those in the international travel industry, are at particular risk of contracting the virus.


Workplace Prevention

Workplace illness prevention training is imperative for all employees, and employers should ensure their workplaces offer appropriate training.

NSC echoes recommendations from OSHA and the CDC on preventing possible transmission of the virus, including the following:
• Practice proper infection control and sterilization measures.
• Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick, and see a doctor immediately to be evaluated for 2019-nCoV.
• If a worker becomes infected, insist that he or she fully recovers before returning to work.
• Employees who have traveled with heightened levels of exposure should inform their employers immediately.
• Avoid sending staff on business trips to China, where the virus has originated and has not yet been detained.


Here are a few helpful pieces of information on the virus’ transmission, symptoms, prevention, and treatments. The CDC also offers tips on what the public should do, what to do if you are sick, and other FAQs on the coronavirus:


Transmission
The coronavirus is likely a respiratory virus spread from person to person in close contact through sneezing and coughs. However, much is still unknown about the transmission of 2019-nCoV, and it’s unclear if a person can get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.


Symptoms and Complications
Reported cases of the virus have varied symptoms, and some infected individuals have little to no symptoms. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes that the incubation period of the virus could be anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been previously seen with the MERS viruses. The latest situation summary updates are available on CDC’s web page 2019 Novel Coronavirus , Wuhan, China: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/summary.html


Prevention and Treatment
There is no current vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV. The best way to prevent possible transmission is by using proper disinfectant practices including washing your hands often with soap and water (after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing); avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when you are sick; covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or a sleeve; and cleaning and disinfecting touched objects and surfaces regularly.


Employers should stay up to date about the situation of the coronavirus and ensure that employers are not traveling to areas of high exposure and are using disinfectant practices. Employers can also refer to OSHA’s Guidance for Preparing Workplaces for an Influenza Pandemic—which provides helpful tips on monitoring public health crises in general. OSHA also has resources directly related to the coronavirus.


Remember to educate your employees on the signs and symptoms of the virus, provide hand sanitizer and easy access to hand-washing areas, minimize unnecessary meetings and visitors, identify workers who may have traveled to China, implement travel guidelines, and allow sick employees to work from home or take leave as appropriate.


Source : OHS https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2020/02/05/NSC-Provides-Tips-for-Employers-Regarding-the-Coronavirus-or-2019nCoV.aspx?oly_enc_id=&Page=3#


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What to do if You Are Sick With COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease

03/26/2020

What To Do If You Are Sick With COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease


If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community.


Stay home except to get medical care

You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.


Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home

People: As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.

Animals: Do not handle pets or other animals while sick. See COVID-19 and Animals for more information.


Call ahead before visiting your doctor

If you have a medical appointment, call the healthcare provider and tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the healthcare provider’s office take steps to keep other people from getting infected or exposed.


Wear a facemask

You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) or pets and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enteryour room.


Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can; immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.


Avoid sharing personal household items

You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.


Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.


Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day

High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.


Monitor your symptoms

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.

 

Ask your healthcare provider to call the local or state health department. Persons who are placed under active monitoring or facilitated self-monitoring should follow instructions provided by their local health department or occupational health professionals, as appropriate.

 

If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.


Discontinuing home isolation

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low. The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.




Source and for more information: www.cdc.gov/COVID19

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PPE's Role in Reducing Worker Heat Stress

03/25/2020




Employers owe it to their workers to make sure they are properly and adequately equipped to handle the heat that can make an otherwise normal work day, a complete beatdown.

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Thermal Imaging for Detecting Elevated Body Temperature

03/25/2020


Thermal Imaging for Detecting Elevated Body Temperature


Can Thermal Cameras be used to detect a virus or infection?


The quick answer to this question is no, but thermal imaging cameras can be used to detect Elevated Body Temperature.


However, FLIR thermal cameras have been used in public spaces—such as airports, train terminals, businesses, factories, and concerts—as an effective tool to measure skin surface temperature and identify individuals with Elevated Body Temperature (EBT).


In light of the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which is now officially a pandemic, society is deeply concerned about the spread of infection and seeking tools to help slow and ultimately stop the spread of the virus.  Although no thermal cameras can detect or diagnose the coronavirus, FLIR cameras have a long history of detecting EBT in high-traffic public places through quick individual screening.


If the temperature of the skin in key areas (especially the corner of the eye and forehead) is above average temperature, then the individual may be selected for additional screening. Identifying individuals with EBT, who then can be further screened with virus-specific diagnostic tests, can help reduce or dramatically slow the spread of viruses and infections.  





The thermal camera must be able to image the inner corner (tearduct) of the eye when screening for EBT. Have subjects remove glasses or any other eye obstructions before screening. 

Using thermal cameras, officials can be more discrete, efficient, and effective in identifying individuals that need further screening with virus-specific tests. A variety of institutions, including transportation agencies, businesses, factories, and first responders are using thermal screening as an EBT detection method and as part of employee health and screening (EH&S).


NOTE: When screening for EBT with a FLIR thermal camera, it's important to screen one person at a time, standing no more than 1-2 meters away from the camera. 


Airports in particular are actively employing FLIR thermal cameras as part of their screening measures for passengers and flight crews. The screening procedures implemented at airports and in other public places are just the first step when it comes to detecting a possible infection: it’s a quick way to screen for anyone who  might  be sick, and must always be followed up with further screening before authorities decide to quarantine a person.



What FLIR cameras are used for thermal screening?

While governments outside the United States may choose from many different cameras, FLIR has a 510(k) filing (K033967) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for select camera models for use as non-contact screening tools to detect differences in skin surface temperatures. These cameras include the  FLIR Exx-Series FLIR T-Series FLIR A310 , and  Extech IR200


For more information about ordering FLIR cameras for temperature screening purposes in the United States, please contact your Mallory Safety Representative, or call Toll-Free: 1-800-MALLORY (1-800-625-5679).




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Duties of a Confined Space Attendant

01/15/2020



Have you ever had to do a confined space entry at your job?  Even if you haven’t, odds are that some of your employees have.

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5-Fall Protection Equipment Items to Regularly Check

01/07/2020



Growth of the construction industry means three things: more buildings, more jobs, and more fall protection equipment. In turn, an increased use of fall protection equipment will inevitably create more wear-and-tear. Component fractures, stressed cables, and deformities can all occur during typical day-to-day operations of any fall protection system or equipment.

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Wireless Gas Detection & Data Analysis

12/31/2019



An explosion at a natural gas processing plant near Plymouth, Washington, injured five workers and caused the evacuation of 400 more workers. In the first half of 2012, two refinery fires occurred in California, two separate fires happened at the same refinery plant in Indiana, along with fires reported at refineries in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington.

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Winter Driving Safety Tips

12/23/2019



Winter presents drivers – and travelers – with many hazards. Snow, ice, black ice, fog, and heavy rain can wreak havoc on the roads and on driver’s ability to carefully navigate. However, when drivers are better-prepared, they can be better on the road to handle various driving conditions. Here are specific tips on winter driving preparation and safety.

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5 Winter Weather Tips That Will Help Keep You Safe

12/20/2019



Do you remember that scene in A Christmas Story where Flick gets his tongue stuck to a frozen pole because of a dare? When considering safe work practices in winter weather, there are plenty of examples of things to avoid and methods to increase safety. Here are five that we recommend.

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How to Solve The Safety Challenge at Rendering Plants

12/19/2019



For large operations, safety product pricing remains important. It’s assumed that a price reduction will produce immediate savings. However, as this study shows, the price discount doesn’t always translate into the best solution for cost reduction.

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Selecting the Best Hard Hats

12/18/2019



To many people selecting the best hard hat should be pretty simple.

Construction, industrial, at-height, utility, rescue, food production, and other workers electricians, welders, firefighters, and loggers – among others – need helmets as their first line of safety protection against possible head injuries on the job.

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How to Reduce Rendering Safety Incidents

12/16/2019



In 2013,Tyson Foods was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $3.95 million, create a new risk-management program and provide $300,000 for emergency response equipment in communities where it operates.

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Avoid Falls in Construction

12/05/2019



Falls are the number one cause of fatal injuries in construction . Although overall fatalities declined, in 2010, falls still caused 267 deaths in construction, accounting for about one-third of construction fatalities that year.

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