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Making Edits to Your Control Plan: 3 Updates

By Darcy Cook, CSHO, SHS, PTA, Safety Trainers

CDC Changes Quarantine Recommendations
As you all know, things are changing rapidly. Below is the new recommendation from the CDC. If your policy was written based on CDC's original guidelines, than your policy is stricter than the current recommendations. You can either keep your policy as written or adjust accordingly.

The CDC is making the following recommendations:

  • If employee is tested, starting that date, they need to quarantine and isolate for 10 days not 14. They need to be without fever reducing medications for 24 hrs. not 72. HOWEVER, they also state for some employees might need longer. Therefore, I would recommend you either keep your current policy or change your policy to include a negative test or doctor's note.
  • The 14-day quarantine is still in place for anyone who "might" have come in contact with a positive COVID-19 case and needs to quarantine and self-monitor. Only a positive test result would change your quarantine time from 14 to 10 days. Asymptomatic patients who do not get a test, would remain in quarantine for 14 days.

Here is the link to the new information. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/duration-isolation.html

Massachusetts Changes the Height of Partitions in Workplace
The first expectation is that a workplace would be redesigned workstations to create 6' of social distancing. When 6' of social distancing cannot be observed at a workstation(s), a partition must be used. The original industry specific documents released by the state were 7' tall. New published documents reveal that 6 feet is the new standard.  

"Physical partitions separating workstations must be installed for areas that cannot be spaced out. Physical partitions must be at least 6 feet in height." – Mandatory Specific Industry Standards for Workplace.

To read more, visit: https://www.mass.gov/doc/sector-specific-workplace-safety-standards-phase-iii-step-1-for-office-spaces-to-address-covid/download

Massachusetts Changes Travel Order, Effective August 1st
Effective August 1, all visitors and Massachusetts residents (employees) returning home, must fill out a "Massachusetts Travel Form" and quarantine for 14 days unless they are coming from a COVID-19 lower risk state or they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts, or they are included in one of the other, limited exemptions.

Travelers are exempt from this requirement if they are coming from a state that has been designated by the Department of Public Health as a lower risk COVID-19 state to include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Hawaii.
Businesses must also update travel order guidelines into their COVID-19 Control Plan. This included industry specific updates for lodging, offices, manufacturing, construction, labs, performance venues and indoor and outdoor events.

Employers are strongly discouraged from allowing business-related travel to destinations other than those appearing on the list of COVID-19 lower risk states. Employers that permit employer paid or reimbursed travel to those states should take measures to ensure employees comply with this order. Employers are also urged to strongly discourage their employees from taking leisure travel to destinations not included on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk states.

We recommend a poster, email, safety briefing or all to explain the travel order to your employees and the expectations of compliance. Create a training roster and have your employees sign it.

To read the updated guidance, click here.

For more information, please visit mass.gov/MATraveler

Darcy Cook is President of Safety Trainers, a division of Cook Professional Resources, Inc. (Worcester, MA). She can be reached at (508) 799-2857 or at darcy@safetytrainers.com or www.safetytrainers.com

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