Tag: safety

CAAS | Standards v4.0 First Draft Available for Public Comment

The Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) is pleased to announce the first public comment period on the first draft of the CAAS Accreditation Standards document version 4.0. All materially affected parties including members of the EMS community, EMS groups and associations, affiliated healthcare groups and associations, members of other public health and safety communities, and the general public are encouraged to review and comment on these proposed standards.

The revision of the CAAS Accreditation Standards was an extensive process conducted by the Standards Review Committee, a diverse and comprehensive team of EMS, Fire, and healthcare professionals that has dedicated over 250 work hours and engaged with subject matter experts and materially impacted stakeholders across EMS and healthcare to create this first draft of the v4.0 CAAS Accreditation Standards.

These standards were developed in accordance with the standard establishing policies set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI.) CAAS is an ANSI Standards Developing Organization (SDO) committed to the development of Ambulance Accreditation Standards in a fair, balanced, accessible, and responsive manner.

This is the first public comment period, and we encourage you to review and provide your feedback to the CAAS Standards Review Committee using this online form. This public comment period will be open from March 26, 2021 until May 25, 2021.

CAAS v4.0 Accreditation Standards – First Draft and Public Comment Form

We ask that you submit one form for each standard comment you have – please do not comment on multiple standards in one form. We want to be able to review the feedback in an organized manner.

If you have any questions on the proposed standards or the standard-setting process, please contact us at caas-staff@tcag.com. We look forward to your feedback.

EMS.gov | Response to Incidents w Electric / Hybrid Vehicles

From NHTSA’s EMS.gov on February 11

New Report Highlights Potential Risks While Responding to Incidents Involving Electric or Hybrid Vehicles

Responders urged to review NHTSA guidance for vehicles equipped with high-voltage batteries

A new National Transportation Safety Board report offers safety recommendations for emergency response involving electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) equipped with high-voltage batteries.

NTSB investigations into four electric vehicle fires identified two major safety issues:

  • The inadequacy of vehicle manufacturers’ emergency response guides.
  • The gaps in safety standards and research related to high-voltage lithium-ion batteries involved in high-speed, high-severity crashes.

EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel are encouraged to review the report to stay up to date on the latest safety advisories for responding to vehicle crashes of this nature. In addition, NHTSA’s guidance for responding to emergency incidents involving these types of vehicles provides important information for all first responders and can be accessed on NHTSA.gov.

To access the full report, read the official NTSB announcement.

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus

U.S. Department of Labor | January 29, 2021

US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus
New OSHA guidance seeks to mitigate, prevent viral spread in the workplace

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor announced today that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued stronger worker safety guidance to help employers and workers implement a coronavirus protection program and better identify risks which could lead to exposure and contraction. Last week, President Biden directed OSHA to release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

“Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus protection program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

“OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

OSHA will update today’s guidance as developments in science, best practices and standards warrant.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.

USFA | Fire & EMS Civil Unrest Response

Read best practices on the FEMA US Fire Administration Website

Civil unrest may occur as a period of social upheaval during heightened community tension or at mass gatherings such as sporting events, concerts and political conventions. The safety risk for fire and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel responding to these fluid incidents may be elevated.

The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Emergency Medical Services worked together to compile these best practices to assist you with your response to civil unrest incidents in your community. Fire and EMS personnel should follow the general guidance in this section to prepare personnel, the station, apparatus and the community for emergency response in a challenging environment.

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OSHA | Submit Data to the Injury Tracking Application

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that it has opened the electronic Injury Tracking Application (ITA), where all employers are required to submit 2020 Injury and Illness Data.  All EMS employers are required to report their yearly Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries & Illnesses.  The Form 300A Summary of Work-Related Injuries & Illnesses is the document that must also be posted in all employer work locations from February 1st through April 30th each year.  For those who have not electronically reported your injury and illness data to OSHA through the Injury Tracking Application (ITA) previously, you will need to establish a user name for your organization in order to electronically report your data.  The deadline for electronically reporting your injury and illness data is March 2, 2021.

We know that this has been an unusually busy work-related illness year for many EMS agencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you have questions or require assistance to ensure that you accurately report your work-related injury and illness data to OSHA, be sure to contact the AAA and its consultants for assistance.

GAO | Safety: States and DOT Are Implementing Actions to Reduce Roadside Crashes

From the US General Accountability Office on December 17

First responders stopped on the side of the road risk being struck by passing vehicles. To protect these workers, all states and D.C. enacted “Move Over” laws that require motorists to move over to another lane or slow down when they pass a roadside incident.

The Department of Transportation helps state officials educate the public about Move Over laws and administers funding that state officials can use for enforcement efforts. It also trains first responders in protecting themselves on the roadside.

The Department is planning to study motorist behaviors that contribute to roadside incidents and technologies that protect first responders.

Distance CME | Deer Accidents: What EMS Should Keep in Mind

Sponsored content from affiliate member Distance CME

Deer Accidents: What EMS and Ambulance Providers Should Keep in Mind

Wondering which state has the highest incidence of deer accidents in the U.S.?
West Virginia, followed by Montana and Pennsylvania, according to a State Farm Insurance report. Deer collisions increase from October through December, which includes elk and moose.

Car crashes caused by deer accidents account for up to about 200 fatalities per year and 10,000 injuries, according to West Bend Insurance Divisions.

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COVID-19 fatalities among EMS clinicians

From EMS1
by
By Brian J. Maguire, Dr.PH, MSA, EMT-P
Barbara J. O’Neill, PhD, RN
Scot Phelps, JD, MPH, Paramedic
Paul M. Maniscalco, PhD(c), MPA, MS, EMT/P, LP
Daniel R. Gerard, MS, RN, NRP
Kathleen A. Handal, MD

The devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic resonate around the world. Escalating infection and death rates are reported daily. While emergency medical services clinicians have been operating at the far forward front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic from the start, their infections, lost work time, long-term clinical manifestations and deaths have not been adequately reported or recorded [1]. In this article, we examine currently available EMS COVID-19 mortality data in order to describe the extent of EMS losses and to compare the risks for EMS clinicians to the risks for other related professions.

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COVID-19 Contact Tracing Card Template

The American Ambulance Association recommends that you begin closely tracking all visitors to your facilities in order to facilitate COVID-19 contact tracing in the future, if needed. In addition to a sign-in log, you may wish to present all visitors with a business card listing contact information for your infection control officer. These cards make it easy for visitors to get in touch if they develop symptoms soon after entering your building. Moore EMS Consulting kindly developed these templates for your use:

 

US DOL Issues Guidance Impacting EMS Offices

U.S. Department of Labor Issues OSHA Guidance As Non-Essential Businesses Reopen and Employees Return to Work

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidance  to assist employers reopening non-essential businesses and their employees returning to work during the evolving coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance supplements the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ previously developed  Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the White House’s  Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The guidelines provide general principles for updating restrictions originally put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. During each phase of the reopening process, employers should continue to focus on strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities, and employee training.

Non-essential businesses should reopen as state and local governments lift stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders and follow public health recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal requirements or guidelines. Employers should continue to consider ways to use workplace flexibilities, such as remote work and alternative business operations, to provide goods and services to customers.

OSHA recommends that employers continually monitor federal, state, and local government guidelines for updated information about ongoing community transmission and mitigation measures, as well as for evolving guidance on disinfection and other best practices for worker protection.

Visit OSHA’s  coronavirus webpage  frequently for updates. For further information about the coronavirus, please visit the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit  www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

OSHA | Revised Enforcement Guidance for COVID-19

OSHA Issues Revised Enforcement Guidance for Recording Cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

This week, OSHA published revised guidance for employers on when they need to record the illness, of an employee who has contracted the Coronavirus, as a work-related illness for the purposes of OSHA’s work illness and injury recordkeeping requirements. Under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness if:

  1. The case is a confirmed case of COVID-19, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  2.  The case is work-related as defined by 29 CFR § 1904.5; and
  3.  The case involves one or more of the general recording criteria set forth in 29 CFR § 1904.7.

Given the rate of infection and the ease with which the virus is transmitted, employers have found it particularly challenging to determine if an employee, who is diagnosed with COVID-19, contracted the virus at work. In making that determination, employers must make a “reasonable determination” of work-relatedness. In this guidance, OSHA outlines the criteria that Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) will utilize to evaluate if the employer met the “reasonable determination”, as required by the Regulations. Those criteria include:

  1. The reasonableness of the employer’s investigation into work-relatedness
  2. The evidence available to the employer at the time of the work-relatedness determination
  3. The evidence that the illness was contracted at work

The guidance highlights that employers can make limited inquires to employees about their exposure provided they respect the employee’s privacy and keep the medical inquiries limited to the COVID-19 transmission factors. Additionally, the guidance provides some examples of the types of evidence an employer may consider in making a work-relatedness determination. These include if the employee has come in contact or worked in close proximity with an individual who has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 or employees who have frequent contact with the public. However, employers can also consider if an employee has or had close contact outside of work with a family member or close friend who has a confirmed cased. In that instance, it may suggest that the illness is not work-related.

After conducting a reasonable investigation about work-relatedness, if the employer cannot make the determination that the employee’s illness is work-related, then they are not required to record the illness under OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements.

If you require assistance with this guidance or any other human resources or compliance matters, be sure to contact the AAA for assistance.

CDC: PPE Guidance and Burn Rate Calculator

U.S. Centers for Disease Control |  April 7, 2020

U.S. Strategies to Optimize the Supply of PPE and Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used every day by healthcare personnel (HCP) to protect themselves, patients, and others when providing care. PPE helps protect HCP from potentially infectious patients and materials, toxic medications, and other potentially dangerous substances used in healthcare delivery.

PPE shortages are currently posing a tremendous challenge to the US healthcare system because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare facilities are having difficulty accessing the needed PPE and are having to identify alternative ways to provide patient care.

CDC’s optimization strategies for PPE offer options for use when PPE supplies are stressed, running low, or absent. Contingency strategies can help stretch PPE supplies when shortages are anticipated, for example, if facilities have sufficient supplies now but are likely to run out soon. Crisis strategies can be considered during severe PPE shortages and should be used with the contingency options to help stretch available supplies for the most critical needs. As PPE availability returns to normal, healthcare facilities should promptly resume standard practices.

PPE Burn Rate Calculator

The Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Burn Rate Calculator is a spreadsheet-based model that will help healthcare facilities plan and optimize the use of PPE for response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Non-healthcare facilities such as correctional facilities may also find this tool useful.

To use the calculator, enter the number of full boxes of each type of PPE in stock (gowns, gloves, surgical masks, respirators, and face shields, for example) and the total number of patients at your facility. The tool will calculate the average consumption rate, also referred to as a “burn rate,” for each type of PPE entered in the spreadsheet. This information can then be used to estimate how long the remaining supply of PPE will last, based on the average consumption rate. Using the calculator can help facilities make order projections for future needs.

 

 

DOL: Guidance for Respiratory Protection During N95 Shortage

U.S. Department of Labor  |  April 3, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Respiratory Protection During N95 Shortage Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim enforcement guidance to help combat supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs). The action marks the department’s latest step to ensure the availability of respirators and follows President Donald J. Trump’s Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available.

Due to the impact on workplace conditions caused by limited supplies of N95 FFRs, employers should reassess their engineering controls, work practices and administrative controls to identify any changes they can make to decrease the need for N95 respirators.

If respiratory protection must be used, employers may consider use of alternative classes of respirators that provide equal or greater protection compared to an N95 FFR, such as National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved, non-disposable, elastomeric respirators or powered, air-purifying respirators. 

When these alternatives are not available, or where their use creates additional safety or health hazards, employers may consider the extended use or reuse of N95 FFRs, or use of N95 FFRs that were approved but have since passed the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life, under specified conditions.

This interim guidance will take effect immediately and remain in effect until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the current public health crisis. Visit OSHA’s Coronavirus webpage regularly for updates.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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Media Contacts:

Emily Weeks, 202-693-4676, weeks.emily.c@dol.gov

Release Number:  20-572-NAT

NIEHS Worker Training Program COVID-19 Resources

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) has been tracking information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as it pertains to protecting workers involved in emergency response and cleanup activities performed in the United States. This page contains health and safety resources for workers who may be at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Training Resources

The National Clearinghouse creates training tools to aid in the development of awareness-level courses or other awareness-level materials. These tools provide health and safety guidance to workers who work in industries with the potential for exposure to COVID-19.

WTP Resources

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning much about it, including how it spreads. This Training Tool will be updated with new information as the situation evolves.

WTP Awardee Resources

WTP Technical Workshops

Federal Links and Documents

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NIH National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID)

NIH National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

State/Local Links and Documents

Please refer to your local and state Department of Health for additional state-specific guidance on COVID-19.

Other Links and Documents

Weekly EMS PPE Shortage Survey & Map

Help AAA and IAFC track shortages of Personal Protective Equipment! Please complete this survey WEEKLY BY NOON ET ON FRIDAYS throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey results will be used to gauge the inventory of PPE for Fire & EMS Departments and the supply chain needs.

Complete Weekly PPE Survey

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