NATS COVID-19 Updates and Information
We believe in empowering individuals with the resources needed to safely perform their jobs so that at the end of the day, everyone returns home safely to their friends and family. Whether it be through online learning, our webinar series, or in-person training once we are able to reinstate them, we continue to be here to help you meet your personal needs and the needs of your business.
Assessing The Risk of Covid-19
Understanding how to assess risks is critical in all lines of work, especially now as we’re faced with COVID-19 and its impact on our professional and personal lives. As a national training organization focused on environmental health and safety, our number-one priority has always been to provide the resources needed to ensure people return home safely to their families and friends after a day of work. For some time, we’ve been using the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) Hierarchy of Controls developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provides guidance on how to effectively deal with an identified hazard. Typically, we work with physical hazards but in the case of COVID-19, we’re dealing with a biological hazard.
RISK ASSESSMENT is about identifying potential hazards or threats, and putting appropriate control measures in place. During this COVID-19 global pandemic, we would like to share with you some highly-effective models you can use to keep you, your loved ones, your employees, and anyone who may be at risk, safe.
NIOSH has developed a highly-effective model for controlling xposure to occupational hazards. NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls was designed for mitigating hazards “on the job” however, this hierarchy can also be effectively applied off the jobsite and at home.
NATS’ MODEL: Applying the NIOSH Hierarchy of Controls When Dealing With COVID-19
Eliminate the Hazard
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, practicing ISOLATION to prevent the spread of the virus is the MOST effective control measure when combating COVID-19. Isolation for public health purposes may be voluntary, compelled, or even mandated by federal, state, or local public health orders.
To effectively substitute the hazards associated with COVID-19, practice SOCIAL DISTANCING. According to the CDC, social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.
According to the CDC and OSHA, engineering controls such as PHYSICAL BARRIERS to separate people and / or AIR HANDLING SYSTEMS that are properly installed and maintained in areas with high exposure can move or displace contaminated air away from people who may be susceptible to COVID-19.
The WHO and the CDC recommend proper training for individuals or workers exposed to harmful pathogens is crucial for responding to COVID-19. Training individuals to PROPERLY WASH THEIR HANDS is an effective administrative control in dealing with the virus.
The World Health Organization has produced a great video for training individuals on proper hand washing.
The US Center for Disease Control (CDC), in conjunction with OSHA, has put out OSHA 3990, a guide to prepare individuals and employers for dealing with COVID-19 (available in English and Spanish)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is the last line of defense in dealing with any hazard, and is often used in conjunction with other controls to minimize individual or worker exposure. According to OSHA and the CDC, PPE is used, it is important that individuals are properly trained in its use. The most commonly used for protection of individuals exposed to COVID-19 include RESPIRATORY PROTECTION (FACE MASK), GLOVES, AND EYE PROTECTION.
To maximize its effectiveness, OSHA requires individuals to be trained in these five areas when issued PPE as part of their job:
- When is PPE needed?
- What PPE is needed?
- Proper donning and doffing (proper fit and function)
- Limitations of PPE
- Inspection, maintenance, and removal from service
Understanding how to effectively and efficiently mitigate a hazard is essential to ensuring the safety of your employees, colleagues, family, and friends.
The above information is based on the recommendations and guidelines of OSHA, the CDC, and the WHO.