Thursday, September 2, 2021

Happy Labor Labor!


 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

NYS HERO Act - Update

Dear Group Member,

Attached please find an update on the requirements of the NYS HERO Act as well as a Fillable PDF of the recently issued NYS template of an airborne infectious disease plan.

 

If you have any questions, please contact the Lovell Safety Department or your local LSM Safety Representative.

 

Thank you,

Safety Department of Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC

lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com

212-709-8899        













Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Working in the Summer Heat

Dear Group Members,

With the summer heat wave we are now experiencing we thought it would be helpful to remind you of the precautions that need to be taken to work safely in hot weather.

 

Attached are safety alerts that can help your employees stay safe (English and Spanish).

 

Thank you,

 

Safety Department of Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC

lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com

212-709-8899        






Tuesday, June 22, 2021

NYS HERO Act Compliance Dates Postponed

Dear Group Member,

Last week we sent out a summary of recent Covid-19 legislative updates (See attached Safety Alert).  An update from NYS has just been issued postponing the compliance dates for the NY Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act).
 
The HERO Act amends the New York Labor Law (NYLL) in relation to preventing occupational exposure to an airborne infectious disease.

NYS now has until July 5, 2021 to publish their model “Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standards.” Once these industry-specific standards are issued, employers will have 30 days to implement their own infectious disease exposure prevention plan.

If you have any questions please contact the LSM safety department, or your local safety representative.
 
Thank you,
 
Safety Department of Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC
lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com
212-709-8899        



Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Covid-19 Legislative Updates - June 15, 2021

Dear Group Member, 

Please find attached a summary of the recent updates from New York State and OSHA regarding Covid-19.  Also find attached an OSHA Fact Sheet detailing its new Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare workers.  

 

Thank you,

 

Safety Department of Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC

lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com

212-709-8899        








Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Covid-19 Compliance Updates

Dear Group Member:

Recently there have been a number of new guidance documents issued and legislation enacted regarding Covid-19 and the prevention of airborne infections.


Please review the attached for additional information.

 

 

Thank you,

Safety Department

Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC

212-709-8899

lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com




 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Working from Home During – and After – COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to work from home and it appears that working from home will continue for many organizations even post-pandemic.  Whether your employees are new to the work-from-home lifestyle, or have been doing it for years, here are some tips to keep them safe and healthy and help avoid unnecessary workers’ compensation claims. 

With the exception of patient handling in healthcare, only California has a regulation that addresses ergonomics. It is OSHA’s policy not to inspect home offices, and it does not expect employers to do so, nor will it hold the employer liable for home office conditions. However, the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act still applies, and employers must provide a place of employment free of recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious harm. Although the employer does not control the work environment for home-based employees, employers may be responsible for hazards caused by materials, equipment, or work processes which the employer provides or requires to be used in an employee’s home. Therefore, employers should ensure that any materials or equipment they provide to home-based employees is in safe working condition and that employees are instructed in its safe installation and use.

With regards to workers’ compensation, injuries sustained in accidents outside the workplace are generally not compensable, at-home work however may qualify when it is “either a specific work assignment for the employer's benefit … or so regular a pattern of work at home that the home achieves the status of a place of employment.”

As companies continue to navigate and overcome their own individual obstacles, it is important that safety is not brushed aside. Although staff may no longer make the commute into the office, safety hazards can and do still exist in the home. OSHA has excellent information on how to set up a workstation.  It can be found at   https://www.osha.gov/etools/computer-workstations

Some basic steps that should be taken to keep a home office safe include:

Housekeeping:
Keep your workplace tidy and clear of hazards. Be sure to clean up daily just as you would at the office. Tie up or secure cords to avoid tripping hazards.  Electrical hazards can result from broken or frayed cords or overloaded circuits. Be mindful of the condition of your cords, as well as the number of cords plugged into an outlet to avoid circuit overload.

Lighting: 
Bright lights shining on the display screen "wash out" images and can create contrast issues, making it difficult to clearly see your work. Straining to view objects on the screen can lead to eye fatigue. 
Indirect or diffused lighting is best.

Workstation Set Up:

Basic ergonomic principles can help create a safe and comfortable computer workstation. There is no single "correct" posture or arrangement of components that will fit everyone. Adjustability is really the key.  However, there are basic design goals to consider when setting up a computer workstation or performing computer-related tasks.

  • The top of the monitor should be at or just below eye level.
  • Head and neck should be straight, balanced and in-line with torso.
  • Shoulders down and relaxed.
  • Elbows close to the body and supported.
  • Lower back supported. 
  • Wrists and hands in-line with forearms.
  • Feet flat on the floor or use a foot stool to ensure that hips and knees are aligned.
  • Ensure adequate room for keyboard and mouse.
  • The keyboard platform must be able to be adjusted so that hands can be positioned over the keyboard while shoulders remain relaxed.  Elbows should be near the torso at an angle of 90 to 100 degrees to the body.
  • If laptops are used as a primary computer, they must be set up using the same ergonomic principles as desktop computers. A separate keyboard and input device are recommended.

Prolonged periods of inactivity:

Sitting all day puts home office workers at risk for numerous health problems. Taking regular breaks is essential.  Ensure that there is time during the day to stand, stretch, and move around. This provides rest and allows the muscles enough time to recover. Alternate tasks whenever possible, mixing non-computer-related tasks into the workday. This encourages body movement and the use of different muscle groups.

Implement a Check-In Procedure
Even though your employees may not be working in a physical office, maintaining contact with your staff is still extremely important. Open lines of communication are an effective way of ensuring the safety and wellness of your staff. By implementing a worker check-in procedure, you can automatically confirm the safety of your team periodically throughout the day. Remote staff members can check in at predetermined time intervals throughout their shift and you will know that something is wrong if a check-in is missed. 

Stay in touch. Utilize web conferences, social media, phones, etc. to stay in touch with co-workers, as well as family. This helps get work done more efficiently as well as allowing socialization and reduces the feeling of being isolated. All employees need to maintain the sense that they still have co-workers, managers, and a sense of workplace community. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

OSHA 10 HR Construction Course - Mohawk Valley Builders Exchange

June 17th & June 18th , 2021  7:30AM-1:30PM

To aid in your compliance with the various Federal, State and City regulations requiring this training, the LSM safety department is once again offering the OSHA 10 Hour Course.  The course is provided by our OSHA certified instructors. Each employee who successfully completes the program will receive a certification card from OSHA.


Masks are required and social distancing will be obtained.





Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nominated: A New Assistant Secretary of Labor - OSHA

Dear Group Member:

A new Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA has been nominated by the Biden Administration.  If approved by the Senate, he will be the first assistant secretary for OSHA since 2017.  Please see the attached for more details.  
 
Thank you,
 
Safety Department of Lovell Safety Management Co., LLC
lsmsafetydepartment@lovellsafety.com
212-709-8899        



Thursday, April 1, 2021

COVID-19, One Year Out

A recent headline in the Wall Street Journal proclaimed, “COVID-19 Workers’ Claims Face a High Bar.” Acknowledging that there is no comprehensive data on COVID-19 claims, the author, utilizing some anecdotal stories along with some scattered data, implies that legitimate claims are being denied. COVID-19 may be a novel virus, but state workers’ compensation systems have decades of experience with contagions in the workplace. By their nature, infectious disease claims are complicated. It is not unusual for insurance carriers to deny a claim pending the determination of the factual circumstances that gave rise to the claim. 

In New York, as anticipated, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) has readily accepted COVID-19 claims from health care workers. A recent decision by the WCB provided guidance for other types of employers. The Board reversed the establishment of a COVID-19 claim, but then directed further development of the record. The decision provided a road map for claimants: 

“…the claimant may show that an accident occurred in the course of employment by demonstrating prevalence. Prevalence is evidence of significantly elevated hazards of environmental exposure that are endemic to or in a workplace which demonstrates that the level of exposure is extraordinary. A claimant may demonstrate prevalence through evidence of the nature and extent of work activities, which must include significant contact with the public and/or co-workers in an area where COVID-19 is prevalent. Public-facing workers and workers in a highly prevalent COVID-19 environment are the workers who can show that the exposure was at such a level of elevated risk as to constitute an extraordinary event. Moreover, it is not necessary that the medical opinion of causally related COVID-19 be 100% certain …. Rather, it is sufficient for the claimant to provide testimony regarding the work environment along with a medical opinion that indicates that because COVID-19 is prevalent in the community and in the workplace, it is reasonably probable that it is causally related....” 

A carrier does have the opportunity to present contrary evidence in opposition to the claim. 

To date, we have not seen a large number of COVID-19 related claims from our 3,200 contractor and industrial clients. Fortunately, the anecdotal evidence suggests that workplace safety protocols were effective in reducing transmission of COVID-19.

The impact of the pandemic, however, has not been limited to the small number of COVID-19 related claims. The health emergency has deleteriously affected the management and outcomes of many non-COVID-19 claims. Claimants who are partially disabled are required to demonstrate “labor market attachment.” In other words, claimants must produce evidence of a genuine attempt to obtain employment within their physical limitations as determined by their medical providers. This requirement greatly inhibits abuse. Due to the disruption of economic activity caused by the pandemic, the WCB has suspended this requirement. This suspension is reasonable, but it does serve to delay claim resolutions, which result in increased claim costs. 

Due to the disruptions in the medical community, needed treatment, diagnostic tests, and surgeries were delayed. The WCB necessarily loosened the requirements for claimants to periodically provide medical evidence of their disability. Carriers have also experienced delays in scheduling independent medical examinations (IMEs) with qualified consultants. These delays negatively impact the outcome of the claims. The WCB has issued an emergency authorization allowing telemedicine visits, which has somewhat alleviated these problems, but a virtual visit is not the same as an in-person physical examination.

Despite these disruptions and problems, the system, under the guidance of the WCB, promptly responded to the emergent crisis and has adapted to the situation. Through the use of virtual hearings and the implementation of several procedural adjustments, the WCB continued to meet the needs of injured workers. Benefits continued with minimal interruption. Most disputes were resolved promptly with due consideration for the rights of all parties.