New OSHA Requirements for COVID-19

William A. Levinson

William A. Levinson

William A. Levinson, P.E., FASQ, CQE is the principal of Levinson Productivity Systems, P.C. He is also the author of several books on quality, productivity, and management, of which the most recent is The Expanded and Annotated My Life and Work: Henry Ford's Universal Code for World-Class Success.
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90 Mins
William A. Levinson

The passage of the Families First and Cares Acts has caused massive changes to IRS Form 941 that affect the final three quarters in 2020! 16 new lines now appear on this form along with changes to two others! Are you ready to meet these changes and handle them correctly?

Here are just some of the new items you must now know and understand:

  • What has changed in Line 11?
  • Where do you enter your total non-refundable credits?
  • Where do you enter the deferred amount of the employer share of social security tax?
  • Where do you enter total deposits, deferrals, and refundable credits?
  • What is entered on Line 22?

Webinar Objectives

This webinar will equip attendees to anticipate, as best as possible, a forthcoming OSHA standard for the protection of workers from infectious diseases such as COVID-19. It draws heavily on the existing "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19," ASHRAE's material on the role of air handling systems in the suppression of contagion, and also actions that workplaces and businesses are already taking to address the problem. Attendees will gain an overview of basic principles, and also authoritative references to which they can look for guidance.

Webinar Agenda

  • Enactment of the HEROES Act (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act) will result in a new OSHA standard that will almost certainly require workplaces to develop plans and programs to suppress contagion from COVID-19 and similar diseases.
    • Even if the HEROES Act does not become law, we definitely want to protect our workers, customers, and other relevant interested parties from harm, and also protect the continuity of operations by avoiding the need to shut down operations as happened in the first part of 2020.
    • We cannot rely on a vaccine because none is likely to be ready for several months, and viruses can mutate into new forms against which vaccines will not work. This is why we need a new flu vaccine every year.
  • Planning principles
    • "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" is a good starting point.
    • Planners need to consider two contagion sources; contagion from a cough, and contagion from contaminated surfaces. Countermeasures against a cough will also work against ordinary speech and breathing, but not necessarily the other way around. Experiments performed in 1918 show that a cough can project aerosols to 10 or more feet as opposed to the currently cited 6 feet. 
    • Create a risk register of potential contagion sources by location (e.g. shop floor, cafeteria, restrooms, lobby) or by job activity. Ask what countermeasures or controls exist in each to prevent contagion. If there is no answer, one needs to be developed.
    • Identify the risk level (per OSHA) of each job. Most ordinary jobs are in the medium exposure risk category. This is good news because respiratory protection, including a respiratory protection program with medical evaluations, fitting, and training is unlikely to apply to medium risk jobs.
    • Involve the workforce and other stakeholders in the planning process. Front line workers are often in the best position to identify risks.
  • The best control or countermeasure is to eliminate the hazard by telecommuting, distance conferencing, or distance education. This also eliminates the costs of travel, lodging, and brick and mortar facilities. COVID-19 cannot travel over a telephone line or Internet connection.
    • If some in-person contact is desirable, the risk can be reduced, along with the cost of facilities, with rental conference space.
  • Engineering controls are those that do not rely on vigilance and compliance to protect people.
    • Distance (between respiratory tracts) is the best defense, and it can be added with, for example, partitions without the need for more actual floor space per employee or customer.
    • Air handling systems also play an important role, and ASHRAE has published extensive guidance.
  • Administrative controls rely on vigilance and compliance.
    • Staggered shifts and breaks can reduce the number of people present, and therefore opportunities for contagion, in any given place at a given time. This was actually used against the 1918 flu pandemic.
    • Attendance policies should discourage rather than encourage sick employees from coming to work.
    • Hand hygiene should be readily available throughout the workplace.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense, but it is extremely effective when N95 and similar respirators are involved.
    • If respirators are required for the job, then a respiratory protection program that meets OSHA requirements is mandatory. The good news is however that medium risk jobs are unlikely to require them.
    • Surgical face masks also offer good protection but are not adequate substitutes for respirators when the latter are required. Surgical masks that meet ASTM requirements for Level 1, 2, or 3 designations are known quantities in terms of bacterial filtration efficiency.
    • Beware of substandard or counterfeit PPE. Respirators must meet NIOSH requirements but unscrupulous sellers are mislabeling respirators that do not offer the required levels of protection.

Who Should Attend

  • C-level Executive
  • OSHA Professionals
  • EHS Personals.
  • All Managers
  • Safety/ Security Professionals
  • Office layout planner, and others with responsibility for mitigation of COVID-19 risks.
  • Human Resource Professionals
  • All people with responsibility for reopening businesses in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as people with responsibility for building layouts and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC)
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