New OSHA record keeping requirements and relaxed CDC guidance for critical infrastructure workers was the main topic of the IECRM Member Forum along with the critical impact of the COVID-19 crisis on electrical inspectors and their ability to conduct building inspections.
Today’s subject matter experts included:
Brian Kelly, IECRM Instructor; Chair for IECRM/NECA Inspector Meetings; IAEi Board Member; and Building Inspection Supervisor for Commerce City
Kristin White, Attorney at Law and Partner, Fisher & Phillips; experts in workplace safety matters and employment law
The Forum also served the purpose of exploring questions to send to DORA about inspection and licensure challenges in the midst of COVID-19.
New OSHA Guidance
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of DOL, said in guidance released on Friday (April 13) that most employers will not be required to investigate COVID-19 cases to determine whether they are work-related, as they are obligated to do with other illnesses and injuries.
Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if: (1) the case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); (2) the case is work-related, and (3) the case involves one or more of the general recording criteria for injury or illness as well as days away from work.
To meet these criteria, evidence collected needs to be objective.
Create work logs
Know who is working with whom and what they are doing
Be prepared to provide OSHA inspectors with a record of the who, what, when, where and why.
Document the steps you are taking in the workplace to prevent COVID-19 exposure
Disinfect areas daily
Provide stations in the workplace to promote frequent and thorough hand washing; hand sanitizers
Maintain social distance
Encourage proper respiratory etiquette (covering mouth/nose when sneezing or coughing)
Limit the number of workers at a site
Encourage sick workers to stay home
If possible, provide options for working remotely (i.e. telecommuting, flexible work hours, staggered shifts)
New CDC Guidance
The CDC has issued new guidelines saying it is OK for essential employees to keep working after potential exposure to COVID-19 if certain conditions are met.
Essential workers who may have been exposed may continue to work, provided they are asymptomatic, wear a mask at all times for 14 days after their last exposure and have their temperature taken each time before entering the workplace.
The guidance on temperatures is if 100.4 or above, send the worker home.
Previously, those workers were told to quarantine at home for two weeks.
Also includes updated guidance on:
Cleaning and disinfection
Best practices for conducting social distancing
Strategies and recommendations for COVID-19 response