Saving A Life With CPR

NORTON — Town resident Chris Vittorini has been recognized for helping save a man’s life, but he doesn’t consider himself a hero.

“Everything happens for a reason and I was there for a reason to help this guy out,” Vittorini, 46, said Wednesday.

The fire department on Tuesday gave Vittorini the Citizen Lifesaving Award for performing CPR on the unconscious man, despite the emphasis that’s been placed on social distancing in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 50-year-old victim was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital by local firefighters, who cited Vittorini’s efforts with helping them to revive the man.

The victim, whose name and medical condition was not disclosed, was alert and talking by the time the crew got to the hospital, according to fire Capt. Jason Robbins.

Early intervention with CPR by the public plays an important role in a patient’s survival, fire officials said.

A person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest decrease by 10 percent every minute that CPR is not done.

Recalling his role, Vittorini said he had just driven out of his home on Strawstone Lane and onto Oak Street the night of April 19 when he saw three people standing on the side of the road with a man lying on his back.

“I turned around, parked on the side of the road and ran down to them,” Vittorini said.

One of the men had a cellphone in his hand so Vittorini assumed he called 911, but he remembers telling him to call 911 anyway as he looked at the victim.

“He was flat on his back. Lifeless,” Vittorini said, adding that the man’s face had turned blue and purple.

Vitorrini said he tilted the man’s head to help him breathe and started compressions on the man’s chest.

His adrenaline flowing, Vittorini said all he could think about was just concentrating on giving the man CPR.

“Honestly, I wanted to save his life. I wasn’t going to stop until the paramedics got there,” he said.

Robbins said Vittorini did CPR for seven minutes before the rescue crew arrived to take over.

“Seven minutes feels like a lifetime when you are doing CPR,” Robbins said.

At the same time firefighters got the call, they were called to go to Taunton for a fire and also a car fire on Interstate 495 in Norton, he said.

With all the concern most people have about being infected with the highly-contagious virus, Robbins said Vittorini “really stepped up.”

If he had not stopped and performed CPR on the victim, Robbins said, the man “could have passed away.”

Vittorini said he knew how to perform CPR from his days as a Boy Scout and from helping his 19-year-old daughter, a fire department intern, study to be an EMT.

He brushed off the notion of being a hero and focused on the man he helped.

“I’m just glad he made it. I was just in the right place at the right time,” Vittorini said.


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Fire Training In The Workplace – What You Need To Know

Fires destroy property, cause injuries, and take lives

One of the key strategies for maintaining a safe workplace and preventing fires is fire safety training.

With proper training, workers can eliminate fire hazards and respond quickly and efficiently if a fire breaks out. Without proper training, a small occurrence can quickly grow to become a major incident with devastating outcomes.

Everyone is at risk if there is a fire. However, there are some workers who may be at greater risk because of when or where they work, or because they’re not familiar with the premises or the equipment at the worksite.

Fire safety training can teach workers how to recognize fire hazards, conduct a fire safety risk assessment, prevent a workplace fire, and respond if a fire occurs.



Recognizing Fire Hazards

Fire safety training begins by identifying the basic properties of fire. All fires start when heat (a source of ignition) comes into contact with fuel (anything that burns) and oxygen is present. To prevent a fire the goal is to keep sources of ignition and fuel apart.



Conducting a Fire Safety Risk Assessment

The fire safety risk assessment helps identify what a workplace needs to do to prevent a fire and keep people safe. The assessment looks at:

1. Emergency routes and exits
2. Fire detection and warning systems
3. Fire fighting equipment
4. Removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
5. The emergency fire evacuation plan
6. The needs of vulnerable people
7. Communication with employees and others on the premises
8. Staff fire safety training

A fire safety risk assessment is the first step in identifying fire hazards. It also identifies the people at risk, state of emergency preparedness, and effectiveness of controls in the workplace. With the information from the risk assessment employers can make improvements in their fire safety plans and eliminate or reduce risks. Employers can also ensure appropriate training is provided to workers.



Preventing Workplace Fires

Fire safety training teaches workers how to prevent fires. If workers are aware of the best ways to prevent fires, they can contribute significantly to a safer workplace.


Tips to prevent fires in the workplace include:

1. Keep the workplace clean. Common litter and construction debris act as fuel for fire. Clutter may block access to exits and emergency equipment.
2. Smoke only in designated areas and extinguish smoking materials safely. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas.
3. Mark hazards and potential fire risks with clear, visible signage. Post emergency telephone numbers and the company address by the telephone in all work areas.
4. Keep machinery cleaned and properly lubricated to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
5. Place oily rags in a covered metal container. This waste must be properly disposed of on a regular basis.
6. Have faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment repaired promptly. Never attempt electrical repairs unless you are qualified and authorized.
7. Avoid running electrical cords or wires under rugs and carpets or near a heat source; keep them out of doorways where they can become worn.
8. Maintain open access to all electrical control panels. Material or equipment stored in front of the panels could delay power shutdowns in emergency situations.
9. Use and store chemicals safely. Read the labels and the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn about flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
10. Be aware of possible ignition sources when working in potentially explosive atmospheres, such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles (e.g. vehicle paint spraying or grain flour). Use non-sparking tools and control static electricity as required.
11. Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment, or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials.
12. Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Know where fire extinguishers are located and which extinguishers to use for the specific type of fire.


How to Respond if a Fire Starts

It’s important that everyone in the workplace is prepared for a fire. Workers need to know what to do in case a fire occurs and how to work together to effectively stop the advance of a fire.

Through fire safety training, workers learn:

The company’s emergency plan
The worker’s role in the emergency plan
How to activate the fire alarm so the building occupants can escape
To leave the area immediately, closing all doors behind them
Where designated muster areas are located outside the building
What to do if they encounter heat or smoke upon exiting
How to fight a small fire with a portable extinguisher

Workers and employers need to take fire drills seriously and learn from them to improve response. By practicing what to do in a fire, flaws in the emergency plan can be revealed and those faults can then be addressed. Practice also builds confidence and helps keep everyone calm in the event of a real fire.



The Use of Extinguishers

Most workplaces contain portable fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers can only put out small, contained fires, such as a fire in a wastebasket. Extinguishers in different workplaces may or may not be suitable for dealing with grease or electrical fires.

Workers that haven’t received training in the proper use of portable extinguishers should not attempt to fight a fire.
Through training workers learn to never fight a fire:

if the fire is large or spreading
if their escape route may be blocked by the spread of fire
if they are not trained in the correct use of the extinguisher or are unsure of the type of fire

If workers do fight a fire they should:

call 9-1-1 first
ensure everyone has evacuated or is leaving the area or building



Everyone is responsible for preventing fires in the workplace – employers and employees alike.
In addition to possible injury and loss of life, a serious fire can close down a workplace resulting in significant job losses. It is possible to reduce the threat of fire to people and property by teaching everyone to work together to prevent fires with comprehensive fire safety training.


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Why Workers Prefer Online Health and Safety Training

Why Safety Training is Important

EHS training is crucial for a good safety culture. In the US, 99 workers on average die each WEEK from workplace accidents.

Let’s take a quick look at the further benefits of EHS training:

  • Keeps health and safety at the forefront
  • Helps avoid the financial costs and lost production time of accidents
  • Builds a reputation as a safe employer
  • Happy workers

Despite its importance, health and safety training is regarded by some as dull and boring.

Workers with this mindset are hard to engage. Unfortunately, it is these workers who are likely to put themselves or their colleagues in danger.

So, how do you engage workers with workplace health and safety?

One way is to make health and safety fun by introducing gamification.

Another way is to introduce eLearning and blended learning to your safety training program. But first, what’s the difference between eLearning and traditional learning methods?

Traditional Learning vs eLearning and Blended Training

Traditional learning = teacher-led sessions with students sitting and listening to the lecture.
eLearning = learning completed online. In other words, electronic learning.
Blended learning = a mixture of traditional and eLearning approaches.


Traditional Learning

If you’re over a certain age, this type of learning will take you back to your school days. We all remember sitting looking at the clock and waiting for the bell to ring as the teacher droned on.

As a result, some of us associate traditional learning methods with our school days. In other words, we lose interest in the subject quickly.

However, that’s not to say there are no upsides to traditional learning methods:



Even though it’s a much newer form of education, eLearning has taken the training and education market by storm. So much so, a massive 98% of companies plan to use eLearning training methods by 2020.



Blended Learning

Arguably, blended learning is the best of both worlds. Sometimes referred to as hybrid learning, blended learning combines classroom instruction, apps, webinars, and eLearning for a well-rounded, progressive learning structure.


Online Safety Training for Workers

Do workers prefer traditional and online teaching methods?

There are many reasons learners enjoy eLearning. For example, short courses do not interfere with the working day. Courses are digestible, memorable and engaging. Best of all, online learning content is user-friendly.

Moreover, we live in a technologically advanced world. In the developed world, 81% of people have access to the internet. An estimated 5 billion people have mobile devices.

Looking at those numbers, it makes sense to place learning content on a platform the majority of us use every day.

Look at it this way: 50% of workers forget what they learned in an hour. We all know the importance of safety training, and what can happen when it’s forgotten.

It’s your job as an EHS professional to ensure the safety of workers. Is eLearning the answer?


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Police Officer Saves Infant’s Life With CPR

A veteran officer with the Vine Grove Police Department in Lousville, KY saves an infant’s life.

Brixten Muir is just 12 days old and has a lung condition. On Tuesday morning, he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest.

Officer Lamar Jones happened to be in the area when the call came in. The 40-year-old veteran officer performed CPR on the infant, with help from Officer Keith Ousley before paramedics arrived.

“The family’s watching, so I just go in and lay on my stomach and get down with the baby,” Jones said in a Skype interview. “I pulled his socks off. The legs were blue, the body was blue. I pulled his shirt up and then I just opened his mouth to see if it was clear, and then I gave him one big breath.”

Brixten was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital before being transferred to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville. His parents were not allowed to ride in an ambulance with him due to social distancing protocols implemented during the current COVID-19 pandemic. So, Jones drove them himself.

“They didn’t think about, ‘Is anybody infected? Is anybody sick?'” said Carolyn Muir, the child’s grandmother. “They just came in, and they took over, and they did what they needed to do to save this child’s life…and I’m so grateful. We’re all grateful.”


Brixten is expected to live a normal life.

A father himself, Jones has experienced what Brixten’s parents went through. He said his daughter, now 11 years old, stopped breathing when she was born and was revived by hospital staff.

The Vine Grove Police Department announced that Officer Jones has earned its Lifesaving Award. He will also be nominated for the Hardin County Fire Chief’s Lifesaving Award.

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Can You Find The Defibrillator At Work? Increase Your Survival Rates

About 10,000 cardiac arrests happen in workplaces each year, according to the American Heart Association. Using an automatic external defibrillator can increase the chance of survival.

Do you know where your workplace’s automated external defibrillator is located? About half of all U.S. employees don’t, according to the results of an American Heart Association survey.

The survey also found that workers in the hospitality and service industry, which includes hotels and restaurants, were less likely to know the location of their workplace’s AED. About 66 percent of them didn’t know where it was. Workers in schools and other education facilities were the most likely to be able to find it: About 61 percent said they knew the AED’s location.

However, the survey didn’t follow up and ask whether the workplace had an AED, and also didn’t try to distinguish between who didn’t know where the AED was and those who didn’t know if there was an AED on site. That makes the findings less clear.

For every minute that you’re in cardiac arrest, you’re pulseless, your [chance of ] survival drops by 10 percent

An AED checks the heart’s rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

More than 350,000 cardiac arrests take place in the U.S. in locations other than hospitals each year, according to the American Heart Association. In 2015, Nancy Holland, a resident of Leawood, Kan., became one of them.

She went into cardiac arrest in the restroom of a restaurant where she had been eating dinner with her husband. The restaurant’s manager performed CPR until paramedics arrived with an AED.

Holland says she’s lucky the restaurant’s manager knew CPR, because it kept her “salvageable” until the paramedics showed up. When he started working as a restaurant manager, she says, his mom had told him he owed it to the customers to learn CPR — just in case.

Now whenever she walks into a building, she scans the walls looking for an AED.

“I hope I never need it, but it’s always in the back of my mind,” Holland says.

She also gives talks about the importance of CPR and AED training, emphasizing that cardiac arrest can happen to anyone.

Holland was in her 40s and didn’t have any health problems when she went into cardiac arrest. She had been to her doctor for a checkup just three weeks earlier.

And she’s now a board member of her local chapter of the HeartSafe Foundation, which provides free training in hands-only CPR and works to improve public access to AEDs.

She also says businesses should take precautions before an emergency happens.

About 10,000 cardiac arrests happen in workplaces each year, the AHA says.

More than half of employees — about 55 percent — aren’t offered first aid or CPR/AED training through their employer, the American Heart Association survey found. And sometimes employees have access to only one form of training.

But most of the 2,000 employees surveyed say their employers should offer first aid and CPR/AED training. Ninety percent say they would participate in training if their employers provided them.

Cost and fear of liability are two reasons that businesses don’t install AEDs.

A typical AED costs about $1,200 to $1,500 and prices have gone down over time as the technology becomes more widespread. Machines that once cost $3,000 now run under $1,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks the passage of laws related to AEDs.

When it comes to legal liability if an AED is used improperly and someone is injured or killed, in most states you’re protected by law.

In addition, AEDs have a built-in mechanism for analyzing heart rhythms and evaluating whether a shock is needed.

But AEDs do need to be maintained in order to be effective. Batteries should be replaced every two to five years, depending on the model. And the sticky pads that adhere to a cardiac arrest victim’s skin also come with expiration dates and need to be replaced about every two to three years.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t require workplaces to have AEDs, but it does encourage employers to have them on-site.

Click here to learn more about choosing the right AED for your business


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Online Safety Training – A Great Solution For People Working From Home

Online Learning – Helping In More Ways

Due to the current Coronavirus situation, medical attention in a lot of areas is delayed or perhaps unsupported, so it is more important than ever to be trained and ready should a situation arise. While onsite CPR and Safety Training are being postponed, there are alternatives available right now such as Online Safety training or Blended learning which are excellent alternatives to keep your team trained and ready to respond.

If you or your team are working from home consider these training options.

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Hand Washing Recommendations from the CDC

Hand washing is critical in helping prevent the spread of germs


It may seem like an obvious and simple task, but many people don’t wash their hands correctly. In order to help prevent the spread of disease, we want to share this video put together by the CDC (Center for Disease Control).

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends frequently washing your hands throughout each day for at least 20 seconds to help protect yourself and others against the coronavirus (COVID-19). UniFirst is helping to spread CDC’s message by sharing the following important video demonstrating the proper way to wash hands.




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CPR saved this cyclist who went into sudden cardiac arrest

Dick Winters is an avid cyclist who rides his bike 4 to 5 times a week for an average of 20+ miles each day.

At 70 years old, he joined the COCAC 5:15 ride to find a group of like-minded cycling enthusiasts in Charlotte, who have been riding together for over 15 years.

But one morning, things didn’t go as planned when Winters suddenly fell off his bike and hit the ground. The five other people who were riding with him gathered on a median on Johnston Road, just north of Highway 51. One cyclist in the group called 911 and waited for help to arrive. But before the cavalry of paramedics, firefighters, and police officers arrived on the scene, one woman happened to drive by, and she knew what needed to be done.

A chance encounter with life-saving results

Julia Rouse is a recent graduate of the nursing program at Carolinas College of Health Sciences who previously served as a paramedic for many years. She was driving into Charlotte to teach an advanced cardiac life support class – she’d taken a different route than usual because the back roads were foggy – when she saw the group of cyclists on the side of the road.

“I’m pretty equipped to help with emergencies,” Rouse says. She thought maybe someone had been hit by a car, so she pulled over to see how she could help, explaining her background as a paramedic and training as a nurse.

When Rouse saw Winters, he was struggling to breathe and unconscious. She felt for his pulse and went to get her equipment that she happened to have on-hand from her car, putting one of the other bike riders in charge of monitoring Winter’s pulse. She came back with her equipment, checked his pulse, and felt it stop. She immediately started CPR, enlisting the help another rider, talking him through how to do CPR as they performed it.

Shortly after, the Charlotte fire department, police department, and MEDIC showed up and continued to administer CPR to Winter. The paramedics determined that Winter had experienced sudden cardiac arrest. They administered medicine to him, intubated him, and revived him with a defibrillator and took him to nearby Atrium Health Pineville.

The importance of CPR

“I was riding with five other people, but it appears I was the only one who knew CPR,” says Winter. “If Julia hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t be sharing this story.”

“If you ever see somebody who is unconscious, check for a pulse and start CPR,” says Dr. Ashleigh Maiers, a cardiologist with Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute – Pineville who cared for Winter in the ICU. “When in doubt, do chest compressions and call for help. It’s always better if people try, most of the time, even if the CPR is not perfect.”

“I was raised to be a helper, and one of the ways I do that is by performing CPR and teaching it to other people,” says Rouse. “Anyone can learn CPR.”

Cardiac arrest protocol helps prevent further damage

Once Winter arrived at the hospital, a “Code Cool,” or hypothermia protocol, was initiated.

“The hypothermia protocol is done on anyone who survives a cardiac arrest from outside of the hospital,” says Maiers.

The protocol, which involves sedating a patient and keeping him at a reduced temperature for 24 hours, can help improve chances of survival, prevent organ damage and help improve neurological function.

Although Winter was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital, his wife and family arrived soon after, and helped the team at Atrium Health Pineville piece together what had happened.

“As soon as I heard that he’d had someone there who called 911 immediately, and that Julia was on the scene to evaluate Dick and start CPR, I knew that his chances of survival were very good,” says Maiers. “The fact that Julia was there is really the reason he is alive today.”

Getting back in the saddle

About 12 hours after Winter was brought back up to normal body temperature and brought out of his medically induced coma, he was alert and talking – although he didn’t remember the ordeal he’d just been through.

“My cardiac arrest happened on a Monday, and I don’t remember anything until the following Saturday,” he says.

Maiers did a full evaluation and found that “structurally, everything was normal” and there were no blockages in Winter’s heart. He did have PVCs, or premature ventricular contractions, which are extra beats that originate in the heart’s lower chambers. As a precaution, Winter had a defibrillator implanted by the team at Atrium Health Pineville.

“The defibrillator will monitor Dick’s heart, and if he has another cardiac incident, the defibrillator will shock his heart and save his life,” says Maiers.

As for Rouse, she’s excited to start her new career as a nurse at the neuro ICU at Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center. She even gave Winter the honors of pinning her at her pinning ceremony when she graduated from Carolinas College of Health Sciences. Rouse also continues to teach CPR classes to the community and even taught two to the COAC group, which Winter and his wife attended.

Winter is back to riding his bike again – although, since he recently retired, he says “I’m not setting my alarm at 4:20 a.m. to get out there.”


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How do I work from home? Tips from the experienced

Most people spend months getting into the rhythm of remote work.

Many Americans are trying to get that rhythm down with day’s notice. COVID-19 has made it to nearly every state including Alabama. With at least 28 confirmed cases (as of midday March 16) in Sweet Home Alabama, some businesses are telling their employees to stay home and avoid contact with the outside world as much as possible.

“It’s a big adjustment to start working from home,” said Tyler Reeves, a financial planner based in Birmingham. Reeves runs a one-man-show and has been working from his home office for a little over three years. First things first, he said, “dampen your expectations.” Working from home isn’t something you master in a day, he said.

“It is going to take a lot to get used to this,” Reeves said. “Give yourself some slack, and realize that these aren’t normal times.”

There are steps one can take to feel a little more “normal,” he said.

Find a routine

If you don’t work past 5 p.m. normally, said Kevin DeLeon, a web developer working remotely in Mobile, don’t pass that point when you’re at home. If you don’t work earlier than 8 a.m., don’t start that early from your bed.

Using the time you’d spend commuting, DeLeon said, to accomplish a personal goal, make breakfast or take a walk with your dog will get your day started on a better mental note.

“Office life gives you a forced schedule that you have to follow,” he said. “Form good habits early on and develop a routine.”

And developing a routine is important when trying to avoid feelings of guilt, he said. It’s easy to get locked in because you want your company to know you are putting in the work, he said but discussing trust and making others aware of your schedule can prevent harsh thoughts like, “Am I doing enough?”

Tarah Keech, coach and founder of Burnout Survival, suggests blocking out time for lunch or breaks on a public and personal calendar.

Listen to your mind and body

Blocking time out for yourself is crucial, Keech said. “You’ll be amazed at all you can do from home.” Letting the “new normal” sink in, she said, and taking breaks when you need them will better your performance.

DeLeon likes to step out on his back deck for a breath of fresh air, take 15 minutes to jog in place, do stretches or pick up the guitar in between jobs to refresh.

During these times, Keech said, mute your devices and go offline if you need a moment away from work. Simply getting up and walking around will help pass the day. In addition to physical activities, make sure you are eating regularly and drinking water, Reeves said.

“I know people who started working from home and didn’t realize they were eating more or less or not drinking enough water or spending too much time sitting,” he said. “Anything you can do to get outside and not just sit in front of the computer for eight hours straight will make this a better experience.”

Stay connected

And your co-workers can help a good bit with that too.

And if you don’t have a built-in work network, create your own for the time being. Reeves, who owns and runs his business alone, is a part of a financial planning organization and the group hosts video chats to see how people are doing, what they are going through and more.

Switching from emails to calls and calls to video chats is a brilliant way to kill some of the isolation, Keech said. “Connect on platforms and chats that you already love,” she said.

And if DeLeon can make it work from Mobile, Alabama, with co-workers on both coasts in New York and California, he said, we can make it work for the time being as a community.

Create a dedicated workspace

But, making it work involves more than a connection. Finding a place to do your best work is important, Reeves said. Setting up wherever you feel comfortable and focused will better your at-home work experience.

Whether that be at the kitchen table, on a couch, at a desk or on the floor somewhere, find a place that you can make your own, Keech recommends.

Julie Kenney, owner and designer at Inspired Closets Mobile, suggests finding a place that is quiet for phone calls and when the work is done, “close the door.”

And finding that place might be difficult for parents who have their children at home, Kenney said, but letting them help you draft a schedule for them can give parents the time they need to get work done.

Stay positive, take advantage of being at home while you can

There are probably tons of projects that have been put off, and now you have nothing but time at home to complete them.

Kenney, whose business specializes in helping people get organized, recommends cleaning and sorting drawers with the kids, going through closets and sorting to donate, working in the yard, painting a bedroom or organizing family photos.

Planning during the weekend or after 5 p.m. for the next day can keep you busy, she said. “Review what’s in your freezer, pantry and fridge,” she said. “Toss out any old, expired food that may be taking up space, and create a shopping list that can be available for a couple of weeks.”

Clean out your medicine cabinet, and make sure you have the basics on-hand if anyone gets sick, she said.

In the end, “how we think about what we think about will change our view,” Keech said. “If you have been unhappy in your career or job, this is an opportunity to show up and be who you want to be,” she said. “Think of ways you can be 110% from home.”

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OSHA reminds employers COVID-19 is a recordable illness

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that any incidents of employees contracting the novel coronavirus at work are recordable illnesses, subject to the same rules and failure-to-record fines as other workplace injuries and illnesses.

While OSHA specifically exempts employers from recording incidents of employees contracting common colds and the flu in the workplace, COVID-19 is not exempt, the agency noted on a newly added website providing OSHA guidance for preventing occupational exposure to the rapidly spreading virus.



The guidance, while not a standard or regulation, outlines safety standards that employers whose workers are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 should implement to remain in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s general duty clause.

The report also advises employers to develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan, implement basic infection prevention measures, and develop policies for the identification and isolation of ill individuals.

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