My Experience with Covid-19

by Sylvia Villarreal
Administrator, Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils

I have been that person who did not take Covid-19 as seriously as I should. Because I took every precaution required to keep myself and my family safe from contracting the virus, I thought that I wouldn’t get it. Boy was I wrong! I unfortunately still fell victim to it. Like most everyone else, I had no clue where I could have contracted the virus. This is my story, and how the virus personally affected me.

In mid-December, I started feeling my allergy symptoms again. I am prone to seasonal allergies and can quickly recognize it if it is just simple allergies. These allergies require me to take over the counter medicine. That evening, I began to feel very tired, more so than usual. I brushed it off as just having a long day, and I was simply mentally drained. The next morning, still dealing with the sniffles, sneezing, and coughing, I got up and went to work. I figured my allergy medication should have or would be kicking in at any moment.                                                  

Safety Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implementing a Digital Site Audit/Inspection plan.

by James Hinton
Director, EHS&Q

The COVID-19 pandemic has given way to a multitude of problems and resolutions for the safety professional. One large problem is how to complete safety inspections/audits when we need to reduce travel and limit exposure to the virus at facilities and construction sites?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced safety professionals to take a very holistic and integrated approach toward site inspections and audits. The safety professional must be able to maintain facility site safety through regular inspections and audits to keep the sites in safe a condition for the employees and the public. Safety professionals have been able to quickly adapt to the pandemic’s resulting issues in many inventive ways.  They have the ability to complete required and needed site safety audits and inspections while still complying with COVID-19 safety recommendations.

Think About This: How can we write a safety program that someone can use?

By Trish Ennis CSP, ARM, CRIS

Executive Director, Colorado Safety Association

Organizations and Safety Professionals spend lots of time and resources developing safety and health documentation, for good reasons. These documents are created for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to:

  • Meeting legal requirements
  • Defining and documenting compliance requirements
  • Providing details about safety rules and procedures

Despite the amount of time and effort put in to these documents, they are relatively dense, filled with technical language (jargon), and frequently hard to navigate. What if we focused on the psychology of how people access and read information based on the intent of that information? What if our safety documentation was designed to accommodate how people look for cues and read information?

Revised Guidance from OSHA When Work-related Infections Must Be Reported

By David Womack, Ph.D.
Safety and Health Manager, HSEQ & ARSC Owners Advisory Committee Chair

On September 30, 2020, OSHA released revised guidance redefining the triggering event determining when employers must report that a worker has been hospitalized or died because of COVID-19.

These changes are contained in three Frequently Asked Questions added to OSHA’s COVID-19 webpage that outline the need to report employees’ in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities resulting from work-related exposures to the coronavirus. The new FAQs offer guidance on how to apply OSHA’s existing injury and illness recording and reporting requirements to the coronavirus, how to calculate reporting deadlines for in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities, and define “incident” as it relates to work-related coronavirus in-patient hospitalizations and fatalities.

Safety and Meditation

By Jennifer Williams
EHS Program Manager

Take a moment to think about how many times you have completed an injury investigation that leaves you scratching your head and wondering if you should just bubble wrap everything or everyone.  You have put controls in place from every corrective action decision tree, yet you still find yourself thinking that there is nothing left to do. Is this simple “common sense” or is it?

Consider the most intelligent person you know - who always makes the correct judgement calls - gets injured in a “common sense” accident. You should take “common sense” out of your mind and replace it with their state of mind. “Common sense” has nothing to do with safety on the job; however, the employee state of mind has EVERYTHING to do with safety on the job.

Effectively Working Safety Incentives!

By James Hinton
Director, EHS&Q

We all know how Safety incentive programs are utilized to increases our employee’s participation in Safety in the workplace and to help promote safety, but does this strategy work? Some recent studies have shown what all safety professionals know, which is that they DO work! The issue is that the studies show excellent results in short term, but, as the programs linger in time, the benefits of the programs do not last long.

OSHA Recordability of Coronavirus 2019 Cases

By David Womack, Ph.D.
Safety and Health Manager, HSEQ & ARSC Owners Advisory Committee Chair

COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in all parts of the U.S.  Workers in all industries are susceptible to the virus.  Employers have the duty to determine if any confirmed positive cases should be recorded according to 29 CFR 1904.  Under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 exposure is a recordable illness and an employer’s responsibility to record the case if:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5
  3. The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria described in 29 CFR 1904.7

 Because the virus spreads so easily and employees can be exposed to it at and away from work, work relatedness can be difficult to determine.  To assist their Certified Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) OSHA published enforcement discretion guidelines for them on April 10, 2020.  On May 26 OSHA updated those guidelines that are still in effect

How COVID-19 has Affected Our Safety Councils

By Katie Cerar
Co-Administrator, Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils

The Coronavirus has touched all of us in one way or another. It has called on us to stay home and socially distance ourselves from the ones we love the most. It has affected businesses both big and small and cost others their jobs. The members of the Association of Reciprocal Safety Councils have also been affected. Eighteen of our members had to close their doors at one point during this pandemic, as of May 20th, only seven remain closed. Others have had to alter their hours of operation and use extreme precaution when handling any task. All of the safety councils that are still offering courses are using the best practices to limit the spread of COVID-19. Not only are they utilizing the CDC’s recommendations of washing hands and avoiding close contact, they are also limiting their class sizes and avoiding contact with student’s personal possessions like IDs and paperwork.