Webinar 7/7 | Lights & Sirens Responses


Flipping OFF the Switch on HOT Emergency Medical Vehicle Responses!

Free Webinar July 7 | 14:00–15:15 ET

HOT (red light and siren) responses put EMS providers and the public at significant risk. Studies have demonstrated that the time saved during this mode of vehicle operation and that reducing HOT responses enhances safety of personnel, with little to no impact on patient outcomes. Some agencies have ‘dabbled’ with responding COLD (without lights and sirens) to some calls, but perhaps none as dramatic as Niagara Region EMS in Ontario, Canada – who successfully flipped their HOT responses to a mere 10% of their 911 calls! Why did they do it? How did they do it? What has been the community response? What has been the response from their workforce? Has there been any difference in patient outcomes? Join Niagara Region EMS to learn the answers to these questions and more. Panelists from co-hosting associations will participate to share their perspectives on this important EMS safety issue!

Speakers

Kevin Smith, BAppB:ES, CMM III, ACP, CEMC
Chief
Niagara Emergency Medical Services

Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS
Team Lead, COVID-19 EMS/Prehospital Team
Director, Office of EMS
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Douglas F. Kupas, MD, EMT-P, FAEMS, FACEP
Medical Director, NAEMT
Medical Director, Geisinger EMS

Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT
Chief Strategic Integration Officer
MedStar Mobile Integrated Healthcare

Bryan R. Wilson, MD, NRP, FAAEM
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine
St. Luke’s University Health Network
Medical Director, City of Bethlehem EMS

Robert McClintock
Director of Fire & EMS Operations
Technical Assistance and Information Resources
International Association of Fire Fighters

Mike McEvoy, PhD, NRP, RN, CCRN
Chair – EMS Section Board – International Association of Fire Chiefs
EMS Coordinator – Saratoga County, New York
Chief Medical Officer – West Crescent Fire Department
Professional Development Coordinator – Clifton Park & Halfmoon EMS
Cardiovascular ICU Nurse Clinician – Albany Medical Center

Register Now (Free)

EMS1 Survey | How is fatigue impacting EMS providers?

Complete Fatigue Survey

To better understand EMS provider and leadership perceptions on the impact of fatigue on the EMS workforce, EMS1 and the American Ambulance Association are surveying EMS providers, supervisors and senior leadership about fatigue symptoms, sleep disorders and mitigation strategies. Please take a few moments to complete the survey below and pass it along to your colleagues. We will share the results and discuss in a future webinar. Thank you for your participation.

Employee Turnover Survey Due 5/6 | iPad Raffle!

AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study

The American Ambulance Association is partnering with Newton 360, an ambulance industry partner and Human Resource support firm, to conduct our third annual industry turnover study. Our intent is to comprehensively collect and analyze ambulance industry employee turnover data so as to produce a report that provides useful and actionable data. We are inviting EMS organizations to participate in the study. The study will be conducted and managed by Dennis Doverspike, PhD, and the Center for Organizational Research at The University of Akron. Each individual or organizational response will be strictly confidential.

The purpose of the study is to better quantify and understand the reasons for turnover at nearly every organizational level within the EMS Industry. Thank you very much for your time and support.

Laying the Groundwork for Reducing Employee Turnover

Why participate in the survey?

  1. Educate elected officials, municipalities, and healthcare clients. The insight gained from this survey can help influence the actions, practices, or decisions of officials regarding regulatory and funding policies at the federal, regional, or local level. Specifically, this important data can help validate the critical staffing challenges faced by the EMS industry. This year, we added queries to the survey related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to better understand impacts of the PHE on EMS turnover and its related costs.
  2. This study is critical to gaining insight into combating staff shortages. The AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study aims to yield the information that organizations need to identify and benchmark their turnover challenges. Over the years this survey has been conducted, it has generated the largest response to a turnover survey ever published for the private EMS industry.
  3. Participating organizations will have full access to the final report at no charge. The comprehensive results of the study will be shared exclusively with each participating organization. Shorter write-ups and summaries of the results may be shared at conferences or published in relevant periodicals or journals.

Before You Start

It is recommended you gather information about your employees and about turnover before completing the questionnaire.

In this survey, we will be asking about headcount (filled and open positions), number of employees leaving the organization, and reasons for employees leaving. We will be asking these questions for each of the following job categories: supervisor, dispatch, EMT, part-time EMT, paramedic, and part-time paramedic. Headcount refers to the number of filled and open positions for each job category at the end of 2020. Filled positions refer to the number of employees in each job category that were on payroll at the end of 2020. For each job category, the number of filled positions should be added to the number of open positions at the end of 2020 to determine the total headcount.

Take Survey by May 6

Share your data by MAY 6 and you will be entered to win an iPad! No purchase necessary.

Exec Order to Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 for Federal Contractors

From the White House Briefing Room on April 27

Biden-Harris Administration Issues an Executive Order to Raise the Minimum Wage to $15 for Federal Contractors

Today, President Biden is issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage to hundreds of thousands of workers who are working on federal contracts. These workers are critical to the functioning of the federal government: from cleaning professionals and maintenance workers who ensure federal employees have safe and clean places to work, to nursing assistants who care for the nation’s veterans, to cafeteria and other food service workers who ensure military members have healthy and nutritious food to eat, to laborers who build and repair federal infrastructure.

This executive order will:

Increase the hourly minimum wage for federal contractors to $15. Starting January 30, 2022 all agencies will need to incorporate a $15 minimum wage in new contract solicitations, and by March 30, 2022, all agencies will need to implement the minimum wage into new contracts. Agencies must also implement the higher wage into existing contracts when the parties exercise their option to extend such contracts, which often occurs annually.
Continue to index the minimum wage to an inflation measure so that every year after 2022 it will be automatically adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living.

Eliminate the tipped minimum wage for federal contractors by 2024. Federal statute allows employers of tipped workers to pay a sub-minimum wage as long as their tips bring their wage up to the level of the minimum wage. The Obama-Biden executive order raised the wages for tipped workers, but didn’t completely phaseout the subminimum wage for these workers. This executive order finishes that work and ensures tipped employees working on federal contracts will earn the same minimum wage as other employees on federal contracts.

Ensure a $15 minimum wage for federal contract workers with disabilities. To ensure equity, similar to the Obama-Biden minimum wage executive order for federal contractors, this executive order extends the required $15 minimum wage to federal contract workers with disabilities.

Restore minimum wage protections to outfitters and guides operating on federal lands by revoking President Trump’s executive order 13838 “Exemption From Executive Order 13658 for Recreational Services on Federal Lands.”
This order will build on the Obama-Biden Executive Order 13658, issued in February 2014, requiring federal contractors to pay employees working on with federal contracts $10.10 per hour, subsequently indexed to inflation. The minimum wage for workers performing work on covered federal contracts is currently $10.95 per hour and tipped minimum wage is $7.65 per hour.

This executive order will promote economy and efficiency in federal contracting, providing value for taxpayers by enhancing worker productivity and generating higher-quality work by boosting workers’ health, morale, and effort. It will reduce turnover, allowing employers to retain top talent and lower the costs associated with recruitment and training. It will reduce absenteeism, a change that has been linked to higher productivity, not just by the employees who are more present, but by their co-workers, too. And, it will reduce supervisory costs. One recent study focusing on warehouse workers and customer service representatives at an online retailer found that raising hourly wages by $1 yields a return of approximately $1.50 through increased productivity and reduced costs. As a result of raising the minimum wage, the federal government’s work will be done better and faster.

At the same time, the executive order ensures that hundreds of thousands of workers no longer have to work full time and still live in poverty. It will improve the economic security of families and make progress toward reversing decades of income inequality. Extensive, high-quality research shows that higher minimum wages have the intended effect of raising wages without significantly reducing employment outcomes. Higher minimum wages increase earnings growth for workers at the bottom of the income distribution, and those gains persist for years. A higher minimum wage, and an elimination of the tipped minimum wage, will benefit many women and people of color who likely have children and are the breadwinners in their households. It will help improve the economic security of their families and narrow racial and gender disparities in income. In addition to directly lifting the wages of hundreds of thousands of contract workers, the executive order will have impacts beyond federal contracting, as competitors in the same labor markets as federal contractors may increase wages, too, as they seek to compete for workers. Employers may seek to raise wages for workers earning above $15 as they try to recruit and retain talent. And, research shows that when the minimum wage is increased, the workers who benefit spend more, a dynamic that can help boost local economies.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division and the Federal Acquisition and Regulatory Council will engage in rulemaking to implement and enforce this Executive Order.

###

Press Release | First Responders Are Human

Press Release
Norm Robillard
Paramedic and Public Information Officer
613-884-4544

www.firstresponderarehuman.com | Facebook Page | Twitter Hashtag

Five years ago in May 2016 a group of intrepid cyclists and support crews decided to take their message on the road “No One Should Suffer In Silence”. On May 7, 2016 they rode bicycles from Ottawa, ON to Washington, DC (“The Capital-to-Capital Mental Health Campaign and Ride”). It took 14 days for riders to cover 1,000 miles\ 1,600 kms. At many steps along that two-week journey First Responders of all stripes met these riders at their stations, firehouses, headquarters. They had conversations in an effort to break down the stigma associated with mental health, PTSD and suicide.

Five years later and after rebranding to the new First Responders Are Human these First Responders from Canada and USA are setting out on a new adventure. Between May 3-16, 2021 (and considering pandemic restrictions) they are hosting another sort of mental health campaign dubbed #MovementIsMedicine. They endeavour to be more inclusive.

First Responders, friends, coworkers and family are encouraged to register (at no cost) and be active in their own locale and to be interactive virtually with fellow participants in Canada and USA. Participants can hike, walk their dog, run, paddleboard, kayak, do yoga, stretch, they can even ride a bike.

This campaign is promoting a different resiliency skill each day. Psychotherapist, Parul Shah currently doing her PhD is leading the education piece about self-care. Participants are encouraged to try each resiliency skill and post and blog about it.

This campaign begins May 3, 2021. It coincides with the Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health week and American Hospital Association Mental Health month.

For more information on how to register and be involved go to www.firstrespondersarehuman.com

The goal is to continue to engage First Responders all over (there are no borders) to promote #mentalhealthmatters and to support each other. Being a First Response professional is honourable. These Responders give unconditionally to strangers in need; along the way they too have to find ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

#FirstRespondersAreHuman hopes through its new website, various platforms, and shared goals (camaraderie) it will assist First Responders discover ways and means to lead their own self-care and a healthy lifestyle.

Extended COBRA Coverage Under the American Rescue Plan Act

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which was passed in March, included a provision that provided certain individuals free COBRA coverage between April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  The coverage cost is subsidized through a tax credit to employers to offset the cost of COBRA premiums.  Last week, the United States Department of Labor (US DOL), released updated guidance, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and model notices for employers to use to ensure compliance with the ARPA.

Traditionally, COBRA provides covered individuals to continue coverage under an employer sponsored health plan for a period of eighteen (18) months following a qualifying event that causes them to lose coverage, such as termination of employment.  Under COBRA, the employee must pay the full health insurance premium cost, which can include a 2% administrative fee.  The ARPA picks up 100% of the cost of the premium for “assistance eligible individuals” (AEI) by providing employers with an offsetting tax credit. Assistance eligible individuals are those who were COBRA eligible individuals who are enrolled in group coverage under COBRA or for those who become COBRA eligible between April 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021.  However, it is important to note that individuals who voluntarily terminate their employment or are eligible under another group health plan, such as a spouse’s group health plan, are not eligible for the subsidized premium coverage or the special enrollment period.

Under the ARPA, the COBRA premium subsidy provides that the federal government will pay 100% of COBRA insurance premiums for eligible employees who lost their coverage and for their covered relatives through September 2021. Employers will pay the COBRA premium on behalf of the assistance eligible individuals and will get a corresponding payroll tax credit against employers’ quarterly tax obligations. All employer sponsored health plans subject to federal COBRA are eligible for the credit against their Medicare FICA payroll taxes.  Additionally, employers must provide the COBRA premium subsidy to assistance eligible individuals who have elected COBRA coverage, starting April 1st. If assistance eligible individuals have already paid, or inadvertently pay premiums during the period from April 1 through Sept. 30, 2021, they must be issued a refund within 60 days.

The ARPA does not require employers to provide a longer period of coverage than is currently required under COBRA.  When an individual reaches the end of their COBRA eligibility period, they right to coverage ends, whether subsidized or not.

What must employers do now?

If your organization outsources your COBRA administration, it is likely that the vendor is taking the appropriate steps to ensure your organization is compliant.  Employers are encouraged to contact their COBRA Administration vendor to ensure that they are taking the necessary actions.  If your organization handles COBRA administration internally, be sure that you take the following steps:

  1. Employers must provide a Model ARP General Notice & COBRA Continuation Coverage Election Notice to all assistance eligible individuals no later than May 30, 2021.
  2. Employers must provide assistance eligible individuals with a Model COBRA Continuation Coverage Notice in Connection with Extended Election Periods Notice which provides assistance eligible individuals with another opportunity, or a “special enrollment period”, to elect coverage. This includes those who previously were offered, and declined COBRA coverage, as well as those who had elected coverage but dropped coverage prior to the expiration of the appropriate COBRA coverage period. This includes any individual who lost coverage due to a COBRA qualifying event on or after October 1, 2019.
  3. The notice must be furnished to all employees who are currently continuing their health insurance coverage under COBRA with an updated COBRA Notice.
  4. The ARP also provides that plans must provide individuals with a Notice of Expiration of Periods of Premium Assistance explaining when premium assistance will expire. This notice must be furnished to individuals 15-45 days prior to expiration of premium assistance.
  5. Employers may not charge assistance eligible individuals the 2% administrative fee during the subsidized premium coverage period as they typically could prior to the ARPA.

It is important that employers furnish the required notices no later than May 30, 2021.  If you have questions about the subsidized premiums coverage under the ARPA or have other human resources or employment law compliance questions, be sure to contact the AAA for assistance.

Employee Turnover Survey | iPad Raffle!

AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study

The American Ambulance Association is partnering with Newton 360, an ambulance industry partner and Human Resource support firm, to conduct our third annual industry turnover study. Our intent is to comprehensively collect and analyze ambulance industry employee turnover data so as to produce a report that provides useful and actionable data. We are inviting EMS organizations to participate in the study. The study will be conducted and managed by Dennis Doverspike, PhD, and the Center for Organizational Research at The University of Akron. Each individual or organizational response will be strictly confidential.

The purpose of the study is to better quantify and understand the reasons for turnover at nearly every organizational level within the EMS Industry. Thank you very much for your time and support.

Laying the Groundwork for Reducing Employee Turnover

Why participate in the survey?

  1. Educate elected officials, municipalities, and healthcare clients. The insight gained from this survey can help influence the actions, practices, or decisions of officials regarding regulatory and funding policies at the federal, regional, or local level. Specifically, this important data can help validate the critical staffing challenges faced by the EMS industry. This year, we added queries to the survey related to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) to better understand impacts of the PHE on EMS turnover and its related costs.
  2. This study is critical to gaining insight into combating staff shortages. The AAA / Newton 360 2021 Ambulance Industry Employee Turnover Study aims to yield the information that organizations need to identify and benchmark their turnover challenges. Over the years this survey has been conducted, it has generated the largest response to a turnover survey ever published for the private EMS industry.
  3. Participating organizations will have full access to the final report at no charge. The comprehensive results of the study will be shared exclusively with each participating organization. Shorter write-ups and summaries of the results may be shared at conferences or published in relevant periodicals or journals.

Before You Start

It is recommended you gather information about your employees and about turnover before completing the questionnaire.

In this survey, we will be asking about headcount (filled and open positions), number of employees leaving the organization, and reasons for employees leaving. We will be asking these questions for each of the following job categories: supervisor, dispatch, EMT, part-time EMT, paramedic, and part-time paramedic. Headcount refers to the number of filled and open positions for each job category at the end of 2020. Filled positions refer to the number of employees in each job category that were on payroll at the end of 2020. For each job category, the number of filled positions should be added to the number of open positions at the end of 2020 to determine the total headcount.

Take Survey by April 30

Share your data by April 30 and you will be entered to win an iPad! No purchase necessary.

Webinar 5/13 | Challenges for EMS Employers in a Time of Legalized Marijuana

Canna-Business Decisions: Challenges for EMS Employers in a Time of Legalized Marijuana

Regular Price: $250.00 | Member Price: $0.00
May 13, 2021 | 14:00 | Free to Members

Speakers: Scott Moore, Esq. & Margaret Keavney, Esq.

There has been a wave across the U.S. of legislation that has legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana. This wave has caused considerable challenges for EMS employers given the nature of the work performed by the EMS workforce. In many instances, the state law prohibits an employer from discriminating or taking other disciplinary action against workers for their off-duty marijuana use. Many EMS employers are federal contractors or grantees and must abide by the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988. However, due to the newness of legalized marijuana, the application of the state and federal law has not played out in the courts allowing employers to understand how to ensure compliance with laws that appear to contradict each other. EMS attorneys, Margaret Keavney of Keavney & Streger, LLC and Scott Moore, AAA HR and Operations Consultant will host a point-counterpoint town meeting where they will discuss the intersection of current law and will provide recommendations for EMS leaders to ensure that they are providing a safe working environment for both employees and patients.

Register Now

4/15 | End Annual Reviews: Stop Ignoring Your Staff 364 Days a Year

 

End Annual Reviews: Stop Ignoring Your Staff 364 Days a Year
Speaker: Scott Moore, Esq.
April 15, 2021 | 15:00 ET | Free to AAA members!

Have you ever received a performance review that truly drove you to work harder? It is time for employers to rethink the manner and method of providing employee performance feedback. In fact, the concept of performance feedback needs to evolve from a formal annual process to a more fluid ongoing dialogue about the nature and quality of the workplace relationship. EMS organizations continue to struggle with retaining employees, both field personnel and frontline supervisors. This program will discuss why traditional employee performance feedback models often hurt performance. We will cover the latest research on what truly drives employee performance and the innovative ways that high-performance teams are utilizing meaningful performance feedback tools in today’s workplace. Lastly, this session will discuss the important role that organizational culture plays in driving employee performance regardless of the performance feedback model your organization adopts. No matter the model, if your organizational culture does not support a transparent, trusting, and accountable relationship between leadership and your workforce, you will continue to struggle.

Register Now

EMS Mental Health Study

“Dynamic psychosocial risk and protective factors associated with mental health in Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel”

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders

Highlighted Findings

  • Emergency medical service personnel have a heightened risk for PTSD and depression relative to other occupational populations.
  • Dynamic psychosocial factors contribute to this elevated risk.
  • Daily occupational stressors predicted elevated PTSD symptom severity.
  • Daily social conflicts predicted elevated depression symptom severity.
  • The meaning made from the day’s challenges and recovery activities predicted lower depression symptom severity.

Full Study

4/15 | End Annual Reviews: Stop Ignoring Your Staff 364 Days a Year

 

End Annual Reviews: Stop Ignoring Your Staff 364 Days a Year
Speaker: Scott Moore, Esq.
April 15, 2021 | 15:00 ET | Free to AAA members!

Have you ever received a performance review that truly drove you to work harder? It is time for employers to rethink the manner and method of providing employee performance feedback. In fact, the concept of performance feedback needs to evolve from a formal annual process to a more fluid ongoing dialogue about the nature and quality of the workplace relationship. EMS organizations continue to struggle with retaining employees, both field personnel and frontline supervisors. This program will discuss why traditional employee performance feedback models often hurt performance. We will cover the latest research on what truly drives employee performance and the innovative ways that high-performance teams are utilizing meaningful performance feedback tools in today’s workplace. Lastly, this session will discuss the important role that organizational culture plays in driving employee performance regardless of the performance feedback model your organization adopts. No matter the model, if your organizational culture does not support a transparent, trusting, and accountable relationship between leadership and your workforce, you will continue to struggle.

Register Now

EMS Industry Targeted in Program Implemented by OSHA to Protect Employees from COVID

One of the first actions taken by the Biden Administration the day after the Inauguration was to issue an Executive Order directing OSHA to focus their efforts on protecting the American workforce. Following that Executive Order, OSHA has implemented a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to ensure that employees in high-hazard industries, including EMS providers, are protected from contracting COVID-19. The NEP is intended to augment OSHA’s educational and enforcement efforts with unprogrammed, COVID-19 related activities, including complaints, referrals, and severe incident reports. The March 12, 2021 announcement also states that it is updating the Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize on-site workplace inspections. The NEP also includes plans to ensure that workers are protected from retaliation. Lastly, states that have an OSHA-approved state-level plan, have 60 days to notify OSHA if they already have the equivalent to an NEP plan or will adopt the federal plan.

What does this mean for EMS providers? 

This should serve as an alert to EMS agencies that they should revisit their safety and risk programs, including their Respiratory Protection Programs, to ensure that they are prepared for a visit from OSHA.

Respiratory Protection Programs

At many EMS agencies, this is part of the bloodborne and airborne protection policies that have been in place for decades.  I caution agencies to review their existing plan against OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Regulations.  Under the regulations, all individuals who are mandated to wear an N95 or other respirator must complete a medical questionnaire that is reviewed by a physician or other healthcare provider prior to the employee having to donning the mask while working.

The regulation provides elements of a Respiratory Protection Program that includes identifying a Respiratory Program Administrator (RPA) that is designated by a Medical Director who will be responsible for developing, maintaining, and ensuring compliance with policies, procedures, and practices relative to the selection, storage, use, and maintenance of respirators.  Additionally, the RPA is responsible for conducting or coordinating all training, fit testing, and recordkeeping required by the regulations.

OSHA has published a Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard.  This is a 124-page document that outlines the Respiratory Protection Standards and provides sample templates and checklists that can be utilized by employers to assist with compliance.  Like with patient care documentation, be sure that your Respiratory Protection Program documentation is sufficiently detailed and includes:

  • A written copy of all current, and past Respiratory Protection Program documentation (P&Ps, etc.)
  • The name of all current and past RPAs
  • All medical determinations (Fit Testing Medical Questionnaire reviewed by MD)
  • All Fit Testing records
  • All Respiratory Protection Program training records
  • Personal Protection Equipment Hazard Assessments
  • All Risk Assessments post employee exposure (Unprotected Exposure Investigation Forms)
  • All exposure control records
  • Documentation demonstrating the method utilized to communicate safety related information to employees.

What do I do if I receive a call from OSHA?

It is unnerving to receive a phone call from a local, state, or federal oversight agency.  However, contact from an oversight agency does not always mean that they have received a complaint.  All U.S. Department of Labor agencies perform outreach in the various regions to educate and engage employers and different industry groups.

That being said, the U.S. DOL is a busy agency, especially during the pandemic.  Most likely, if your organization is being contacted by OSHA, it is due to a complaint, referral, or data targeting run.  The first two are self-explanatory.  A data targeting run is the identification of a specific employer through analysis of data submitted to the agency.  This is typically information such as electronically submitted workplace injury and illness data.

If you receive a call from OSHA, my recommendation is to listen more than you speak. Take copious notes and document the conversation immediately following the call.  The OSHA representative will tell you why they are calling and will likely request various documents or other evidence be sent to their office. Do not expect that they will tell you who complained, and I would not ask.  My suggestion, request that the representative email or fax over a letter identifying the representative, the documents or other information they are seeking, the date that you must furnish the information, and the method upon which they want the information sent.

You may not have firsthand knowledge of the issue or incident that led to the complaint to OSHA. That is okay. You can tell the representative that you and your team will investigate and/or compile the requested information following the call and respond. The investigator does not expect that you will necessarily have all the answers at the time of the call. You should be courteous and responsive but remember that a response that is carefully considered and crafted is likely to lead to the best result.  Do not wing it!  Lastly, no matter whether you know who complained or not, do not take any action that can be viewed as retaliatory against employees.

What do I do if an OSHA Investigator appears at my workplace?

Generally speaking, an OSHA Investigator will not just appear in your workplace.  Not to say that they cannot.  They certainly can.  If an OSHA Investigator comes to your workplace you do have certain rights, but so does OSHA.  OSHA has the right to arrive unannounced, gain access to the workplace without significant delay, and question employees privately.  They will show you their OSHA credentials and you should ask for a business card.

An employer has the right to demand to see an inspection warrant.  This is the document that is the basis for OSHA’s probable cause for the inspection.  However, I do not recommend demanding the inspection warrant.  This will most certainly put you and the OSHA investigator in an adversarial position.  As they say, this can go one of two ways, hard or less hard.

An employer has the right to an opening conference. Many important things can happen during the opening conference. First, you can learn the nature of the complaint and related investigation and attempt keep the scope of the investigation as narrow as possible. Next, you can establish the probable cause for the visit and learn their plans for the investigation.  This will likely include a worksite “walking around” inspection, interviews, document review, etc.  You can better prepare once you know what to expect.

An employer has the right to accompany the OSHA Investigator during their site inspection.  I recommend taking photos of anything that the investigator documents or inspects and documenting physical evidence or documents that they take during the inspection.  You may also ask the investigator for a log of any evidence taken.  Lastly, you should know that the investigator has the right to interview your employees privately.  However, you have the right to be present during any management interview.

Bottom line, you should cooperate with the investigator. They are people too and generally want to help employers be complaint with the law.  They are not looking to find violations. They are looking to ensure compliance and protect workers. From my time working at the U.S. DOL, I can attest that we appreciated cooperative and friendly employers who know the law and can quickly provide the information or documents we are seeking.  The quicker and more responsive I found an employer to be, the greater likelihood my index of suspicion reduced, and that the employer was following the law.

Conclusion

OHSA has identified that the NEP will be in place for the next twelve (12) months.  NEP plans are intended to be temporary but can be extended if the pandemic continues past the anniversary of the plan.   While there were numerous industries listed in the OSHA notice, ambulance service providers were specifically identified as one of the high-risk industries that would be the focus of this new program.

If your service has questions or needs assistance with ensuring that your organization is compliant, be sure to contact hello@ambulance.org for assistance.

Webinar 5/13 | Challenges for EMS Employers in a Time of Legalized Marijuana

Canna-Business Decisions: Challenges for EMS Employers in a Time of Legalized Marijuana

Regular Price: $250.00 | Member Price: $0.00
May 13, 2021 | 14:00 | Free to Members

Speakers: Scott Moore, Esq. & Margaret Keavney, Esq.

There has been a wave across the U.S. of legislation that has legalized medicinal and recreational marijuana. This wave has caused considerable challenges for EMS employers given the nature of the work performed by the EMS workforce. In many instances, the state law prohibits an employer from discriminating or taking other disciplinary action against workers for their off-duty marijuana use. Many EMS employers are federal contractors or grantees and must abide by the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988. However, due to the newness of legalized marijuana, the application of the state and federal law has not played out in the courts allowing employers to understand how to ensure compliance with laws that appear to contradict each other. EMS attorneys, Margaret Keavney of Keavney & Streger, LLC and Scott Moore, AAA HR and Operations Consultant will host a point-counterpoint town meeting where they will discuss the intersection of current law and will provide recommendations for EMS leaders to ensure that they are providing a safe working environment for both employees and patients.

Register Now

ResponderStrong | Personalized Wellness for Emergency Responders

Grit Digital Health Introduces World’s First Personalized Wellness Platform for Emergency Responders

Access YOU | ResponderStrong

At a time when emergency responders are under immense stress, innovative health tech organization develops YOU | ResponderStrong wellness tool to support comprehensive well-being for at-risk group

DENVERAug. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Grit Digital Health LLC, a tech startup at the intersection of behavioral health, well-being and technology, has partnered with The Anschutz Foundation, Global Medical Response (GMR) and All Clear Foundation to create YOU | ResponderStrong — the world’s first personalized wellness platform for emergency responders. Emergency responders face well-being challenges (e.g. shift work, consistent exposure to trauma, and working in high risk environments) that put them at higher risk for mental health issues and suicide, yet barriers make it difficult to seek out available resources and discuss concerns, leaving many to struggle with these challenges alone.

For emergency responders, rescuing others is second nature, but the mental and physical impacts can be debilitating if left unaddressed. Studies show that first responders are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty, 20 to 25 percent of all first responders experience post-traumatic stress and the life expectancy of a first responder is 20 years less than average.

“Responders shouldn’t pay for their service with their lives, either in longevity or quality,” said Rhonda Kelly, founder of ResponderStrong and director of health, wellness and resilience for GMR. “Especially now when the stressors are so extreme and prolonged, burnout is on a meteoric rise. The result of our failing to meet our basic human needs, burnout is one of our biggest enemies. This tool is a tremendous aid in supporting our self-care, building our resiliency, and improving our quality of life.”

Using a human-centered research and design process, the founding partners of you.responderstrong.org brought together national leaders across various emergency responder verticals (law enforcement, EMS, fire service, dispatch and healthcare workers, etc.) to uncover the needs, motivations and challenges of these populations with respect to their mental health and well-being. The insights gathered during this process highlighted the increased pressure and new risks currently facing emergency responders across the country.

“One challenge that has been clear for first responders is figuring out the balance between being able to perform their jobs and also act in the other roles they fill as parents and spouses,” said Caleb Demers, LCSW, who works directly with emergency responders as a clinical social worker and member of the LEADER program at McLean Hospital. “Many patients we work with use a lot of energy attempting to not ‘bring the work home,’ but now that is a tangible fear with more immediate consequences. We see first responders work very hard to maintain confidence and competence in their roles, but when their supports are not as accessible, it affects their mental health.”

The solution is a digital platform, available 24/7, with hundreds of evidence-based resources and tools to support emergency responders with their personal and professional well-being. The first platform of its kind, YOU | ResponderStrong uses a tailored profile and proprietary health assessments to personalize the experience for each emergency responder that creates an account. The platform delivers customized online resources and tools across three areas of well-being: Succeed (financial and career success), Thrive (mental and physical health) and Matter (purpose and connections). The foundations of this comprehensive approach lie in Grit Digital Health’s proprietary well-being model.

“High stress work environments invariably lead to stress that carries into one’s personal life,” said Nathaan Demers, Psy.D., VP and director of clinical programs at Grit Digital Health. “It’s essential that we support the comprehensive well-being of emergency responders by decreasing the stigma and providing educational resources regarding how to support peers, as well as oneself. This is especially important in times of heightened stress, as we see now in light of COVID-19.”

The platform is built on a research-backed tool called YOU, a personalized well-being software created for college campuses and later expanded to serve rural veterans, community mental health centers, workplace wellness and now emergency responders. The platform provides an experience aligned with key research insights gathered from emergency responders: maintaining confidentiality, keeping data secure, including crisis information and providing 24/7 access to support any need any time. Data provided to tap into the platform’s personalization algorithm is completely anonymous, an essential aspect in building trust with emergency responders using the platform.

“Emergency Responders sacrifice more than most and shoulder unfathomable burdens to keep us all safe,” said Janell Farr, president of All Clear Foundation. “They are so focused on helping others that they often don’t take time to help themselves. And if they would like to, options have previously been limited. With YOU | ResponderStrong, responders can now easily assess their overall well-being and immediately access content to enhance their health, well-being and everything in-between.”

The platform is currently undergoing further testing and iteration efforts. Grit Digital Health will collaborate with the founding partner organizations to roll out a second version of the ResponderStrong wellness tool in fall 2020. The release will include learnings from testing with emergency responders and analysis of impact/engagement data. See the tool in action by visiting you.responderstrong.org.

About Grit Digital Health

Grit Digital Health develops behavioral health and well-being solutions through design and technology that envision a new way to approach mental health and well-being. The company solves complex health problems through innovation and creativity, including products that address veteran transitions to civilian life, student loneliness and well-being, employee satisfaction and the mental health of working-age men. For more information, visit www.gritdigitalhealth.com.

About All Clear Foundation

All Clear Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 supporting First Responders by creating, convening, amplifying and funding innovative programs to improve their life expectancy and wellbeing – as well as the wellbeing of their families. In addition to YOU | ResponderStrong, the foundation has curated a First Responder Resource Database with thousands of resources for responders and their families, and recently launched  ResponderRel8, a peer-to-peer chat app that enables First Responders to connect, celebrate and commiserate with peers without fear or stigma getting in the way, and anonymously if they choose. To learn more about All Clear Foundation’s programs or to join the cause, visit AllClearFoundation.org.

About The Anschutz Foundation

Founded in 1984, The Anschutz Foundation was created by Philip F. Anschutz as a private charitable foundation. Over three decades, the foundation has given substantially to hundreds of nonprofit organizations primarily concentrated in Colorado. The Anschutz Foundation currently makes more than 500 grants annually. In 2016, The Anschutz Foundation received the Outstanding Foundation award from National Philanthropy Day in Colorado. This annual event celebrates exceptional philanthropic and volunteer contributions in Colorado. For more information, visit theanschutzfoundation.org.

About Global Medical Response (GMR)

With more than 38,000 employees, Global Medical Response teams deliver compassionate, quality medical care, primarily in the areas of emergency and patient relocation services in the United States, the District of Columbia and around the world. GMR was formed by combining the industry leaders in air, ground, managed medical transportation, and community, industrial/specialty and wildland fire services. Each of our companies have long histories of proudly serving the communities where we live: American Medical Response (AMR), Rural Metro Fire, Air Evac Lifeteam, REACH Air Medical Services, Med-Trans Corporation, AirMed International and Guardian Flight. Combined, we completed 4.9 million patient transports last year utilizing 7,000 ground vehicles, 111 fire vehicles, 306 rotor-wing aircraft and 106 fixed-wing aircraft. We are the largest medical transport company in the world, focusing on intimate and high-service solutions at a local level. For more information, visit globalmedicalresponse.com.

SOURCE Grit Digital Health LLC

EEOC Releases Fiscal Year 2020 Enforcement and Litigation Data

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) release the 2020 Summary of Enforcement and Litigation Data.  As we all recognize, last year was an unbelievably difficult time for both employers and employees nationwide.  Despite this, the agency saw a reduction in the total number of charges handled by the agency from 2019.

The report, which was released on February 26, 2021, showed that the agency received 67,448 charges of workplace discrimination over the course of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 which ended on September 30, 2020. The agency secured $439.2 million for victims of discrimination in the private sector, state, and local government workplaces through voluntary resolutions and litigation.

The agency responded to over 470,000 calls to its toll-free number and more than 187,000 inquiries in field offices, including 122,775 inquiries through the online intake and appointment scheduling system. The FY 2020 data show that retaliation remained the most frequently cited claim in charges filed with the agency, accounting for the majority of all charges filed.  This is typically because retaliation is a secondary claim to a claim of discrimination handled by the agency.

Other charge statistics showed that disability, race, and sex-based discrimination were topping the list of most frequently filed claims. Below is a summary of all charge data:

  • Retaliation: 37,632 (55.8 percent of all charges filed)
  • Disability: 24,324 (36.1 percent)
  • Race: 22,064 (32.7 percent)
  • Sex: 21,398 (31.7 percent)
  • Age: 14,183 (21.0 percent)
  • National Origin: 6,377 (9.5 percent)
  • Color: 3,562 (5.3 percent)
  • Religion: 2,404 (3.6 percent)
  • Equal Pay Act: 980 (1.5 percent)
  • Genetic Information: 440 (0.7 percent)

This report shows that employer need to continue to regularly communicate company policies which foster a civil and inclusive work environment and that prohibit discrimination or harassment of any form in the workplace.  Additionally, it is important that all harassment policies clearly state how employees subject to, or witnesses to, harassment or discrimination can report complaints.  An important update to the American Ambulance Association’s Human Resources Manual is the addition of language encouraging bystander intervention and reporting.  The bottom line, when unacceptable behavior is not given the oxygen to survive in a workplace, there will be less of it.

If your organization needs assistance or has questions about the best practices regarding promoting a civil and inclusive work environment, please contact the AAA at hello@ambulance.org for assistance.