Construction and Landscapers OSHA/DOT Requirements To Meet By Spring 2021

Construction and Landscapers OSHA and DOT Requirements

As we slowly come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the construction and landscaping industries are poised to start the spring season with many new safety requirements.

Safety requirements are not new to these industries as they must manage OSHA rules and, for those hauling equipment and supplies that require a commercial driver’s license (CDL), they must deal with federal Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements.

Below we cover important safety requirement deadlines and many of the OSHA and DOT regulations that construction workers and landscapers are required to meet.

 

Deadline approaches for expired CDL and medical card renewals

After nearly a year of the COVID-19 health emergency, many states that reopened their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) have only resumed limited operations.

As a result, many commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learners permit (CLP) holders were often unable to renew their CDLs and CLPs or provide medical certificates to their state driver licensing agencies.

Similarly, many physical exam sites were dealing with limited operations or backlogs, preventing drivers from scheduling appointments for their federally required medical card physicals.

For this reason, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented and extended a waiver that now permits, but does not require, states to extend the validity of CDLs and CLPs due for renewal since March 1, 2020. It also waives the requirement that drivers have a medical exam and certification, provided they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance issued for a period of 90 days or longer and expired on or after Dec. 1, 2020.

This deadline is quickly approaching, and many state driver licensing offices and physician facilities are still experiencing backlogs or limiting in-person visits.

It is now time to make sure employees are renewing their CDLs and medical cards, which means getting a DOT physical, especially if the medical card has been expired before Dec 1, 2020.

 

DOT drug testing program requirements

Drug and alcohol use in the construction and landscaping industries is dangerous. Companies need to create an atmosphere where there is a desire to employ staff who will keep the workplace safe.

All staff who have a commercial driver license and drive a commercial motor vehicle are required by the Department of Transportation to be in a DOT drug and alcohol testing program for pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty testing.

This includes:

  • If you drive a single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 26,001 lbs. or more.
  • If you drive a vehicle, such as a truck (including a pick-up) or trailer (10,001 lbs. or more), and tow a unit with a gross weight of 26,001 lbs. or more.
  • If you drive a vehicle that hauls hazardous waste of any size, weight, or amount, which requires a hazard materials placard.

Some companies have only a DOT testing program and decide to internally manage it themselves, but there are high hidden costs in doing so.

Given the complexity of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing and record-keeping requirements, many companies hire a Drug & Alcohol Consortium Administration Services (C/TPA) to help manage their DOT and non-DOT drug testing programs.

This is where Compliance Navigation Specialists can help. Our experts ensure that all DOT rules and regulations are followed, including pre-employment testing and the implementation of random drug tests for you and your drivers. We take all the necessary steps and precautions to keep you and your drivers compliant with the DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements.

 

Managers must have reasonable suspicion training

Reasonable suspicion drug testing determinations are sometimes the most challenging aspects of a drug-free workplace program, yet can have a profound impact on safety, well-being and productivity.

With spring approaching, the rise of the opioid epidemic, ongoing issues with alcohol abuse, marijuana legalization across the nation, and changes to DOT testing regulations, managers need to refresh themselves on the requirements and the importance of documentation to keep the workplace safe.

Reasonable suspicion is described as a set of circumstances that give you reason to conduct a “fitness-for-duty” assessment of an employee based on objective observations.

Reasonable suspicion testing is used to determine that alcohol or drugs are not the cause of the observed behavior or appearance. Drug testing is a mechanism to determine if the employee has used a prohibited drug; regardless of when, or what amount.

The training includes one hour on signs and symptoms associated with drug use and one hour on signs and symptoms associated with alcohol misuse, covering the physical, behavioral, speech, and performance indicators of probable workplace misuse.

 

OSHA requirements may include audiogram, respiratory, and spirometry testing

When it comes to employment in the construction industry, there are many different types of exams and testing that may be required under OSHA rules. The most common physical exams include:

  • work fitness assessment
  • fitness-for-duty exam, and
  • pre-employment physicals

Beyond exams, there are important occupational health tests that may be required for employment under OSHA 29 CFR, which include:

  • audiometric testing, and
  • pulmonary function testing or respiratory testing

Audiometric testing is a test of a person’s ability to hear sounds and assists in monitoring an employee’s hearing over time and is OSHA required if the work environment provided by the employer meets certain guidelines.

An audiometric testing follow-up program should indicate whether the employer’s hearing conservation program is preventing hearing loss.

Annual audiograms must be provided within 1 year of the baseline test. It is important to test workers’ hearing annually to identify deterioration in their hearing ability as early as possible. This enables employers to initiate protective follow-up measures before hearing loss progresses.

A pulmonary function test or respiratory test is OSHA-mandated to determine if an employee can safely and effectively wear a respirator to protect them against breathing airborne contaminants.

For example, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 2.3 million U.S. workers are currently exposed to crystalline silica and high levels of silica exposure found in:

  • cement/brick manufacturing
  • repair/replacement brick furnace lining
  • drilling, molding, sawing
  • removing paint
  • demolition
  • abrasive blasting
  • jack hammering
  • and more

On June 23, 2020: “medical surveillance” or silica respiratory testing became twice as strict with workers exposed to the “action level” at or above 25 micrograms for 30 or more days a year (previously, medical surveillance was enforced at the “permissible exposure limit,” at or above 50 micrograms).

Coming June 23, 2021: Obligations for engineering controls goes into effect as employers will put into place work practices to reduce and maintain employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica to or below limits.

Before your employees use a respirator or are fit-tested, they must be medically evaluated and cleared by a licensed healthcare professional using a “Respirator Medical Evaluation Questionnaire.”

Beyond the respirator medical evaluation, a spirometry breathing test shows how well you can move air in and out of your lungs. Periodic spirometry testing can be used to detect such accelerated losses.

Under OSHA 29 CFR PFT, spirometry testing is required in conjunction with the respirator fit test under certain circumstances to measure respiratory function.

 

OSHA Required and Other Testing Services

CNS can assist with your Occupational Medicine needs, no matter the size of your company. Our goal is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

Currently, we also offer Mobile Occupational Medicine Services in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, and New York, and we are always expanding.

Any of our employee screening services can be administered individually or bundled together to be made more affordable.

Our knowledgeable Occupational Health Examiners are focused on providing the best patient care possible with an end goal of long-term health and wellness for workers and employers.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


CDC Recommends Truckers For Phase 1C of COVID-19 Vaccinations

COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are currently being given to Phase 1A, frontline health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities.

On December 20, 2020, the CDC recommended that people age 75 and older and “frontline essential workers,” such as emergency responders, teachers, manufacturing workers, and grocery store employees, be included in the next wave, Phase 1B.

Phase 1C will then include truck drivers, people 65-74 years old, those between 16 and 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and “other essential workers” such as transportation and logistics workers, food service workers, and more.

However, states have the final say on how vaccines are distributed.

For instance, Arkansas put truck drivers in Phase 1B ahead of adults 65 years and older and adults of any age with chronic health conditions while Alabama put long-distance truck drivers in the fourth phase, along with groups such as office workers who do not have frequent close contact with coworkers, customers, or the public.

 

When will truckers receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

As with any large scale manufacturing, distribution, and inoculation plans, this is a moving target and will depend on your state.

Currently, there is not enough vaccine available for people in Phase 1B and 1C.

According to U.S. projections, December should have had 20 million vaccines for people, 30 million in January, and 50 million in February.

It is estimated that Phases 1A and 1B will include around 73 million people and Phase 1C will add another 129 million people.

Additionally, even if there are vaccines available at clinics, the roll-out of actually getting people vaccinated has been much slower than predicted.

Health officials are emphasizing the need to continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing, including those who are receiving the vaccine, to reduce spread until enough people can receive the vaccine.

 

Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Our CNS Occupational Medicine Team will be offering the COVID-19 Vaccine soon in Pennsylvania.

  • We will only be offering CDC recommended and approved vaccines.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine will be offered in phases, starting with healthcare workers, then the elderly and first responders and many other essential workers, and lastly the general population.
  • The CDC is offering an app called V-Safe for check-ins and to record and report any side effects.

Vaccine Administration length: 15 minutes.


Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer more affordable options for frequent testing, including Rapid Antigen Testing and Antibody Testing.

Antigen tests are most effective when regular tests are administered, while Antibody Testing  provides insight into an employees’ COVID-19 exposure by determining whether they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks, antigen or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


Covid-19 Vaccine Should Protect Against New Variants As Vaccine Distribution Increases

Truckers and COVID-19 | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

As of Christmas Eve, over 9.5 million doses had been distributed and just over 1 million doses had been administered

According to Dr. Amesh Adalja, a fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Covid-19 vaccine will offer protection against new variants of the virus based on preliminary data.

“It’s important to remember that a vaccine doesn’t create one type of antibodies, it creates a whole host of antibodies and it’s very hard for a virus to escape all of those, especially when it’s happening so fast – meaning this mutation is rather new. It’s not something that’s been evolving for some time,” Adalja told CNN on Wednesday.

The new COVID-19 variant in the United Kingdom can likely spread faster than others and has been detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, according to the World Health Organization.

While virus mutation is not uncommon, the potential of this new strain to spread rapidly is cause for concern.

However, we can protect ourselves and others from any new strain through taking the same social distancing and masks methods we have all year.


Interested in COVID-19 Services?

We can provide an estimate or suggestions specific to your company depending on your type of business and employees.

Coronavirus vaccines will get GPS tracking and flight priority

As of Christmas Eve, over 9.5 million doses had been distributed and just over 1 million doses had been administered. This gives tribute to the amazing work the trucking industry has done so far in these efforts.

As more vaccines become FDA-approved, distribution will be more complex, and the industry is ready to handle it as vaccines get GPS tracking and flight priority.

“Just to point out how profound this is, you have two fierce rivals … in FedEx and UPS who are literally teaming up to get this delivered,” said FedEx Express Executive Vice President Richard Smith.

With tens of millions of vaccines being distributed and truckers looking at receiving the vaccine in Phase 3 of the nation’s plan, what can we do now?

As we stated during the Thanksgiving holiday update, the most important thing we can do is to help flatten the curve. We are in the worst period of the pandemic and many are facing “pandemic fatigue”.

But we must stay vigilant in wearing our masks, think about what your holiday plans will look like with masks and social distancing, and being kind to those who agree or disagree with each other.

Let us seek the joy the holiday season brings and share the love with those on the frontlines.


Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer antibody testing, which provides insight into employee exposure by determining whether or not they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.

DOT Virtual SAP Assessments and Delayed Collector Requalification through June 2021

DOT Virtual SAP Assessment

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

At the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents (collectors, MROs, SAPs). 

On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.  

As of December 09, 2020, this statement is now effective through June 30, 2021.

Virtual SAP Assessments and Evaluations Allowed During Pandemic

Under federal regulations, the SAP must conduct a face-to-face, or in-person, assessment and evaluation of an employee who has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations. 

ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the pandemic may not be possible for certain individuals.

SAPs are allowed, if they voluntarily choose to do so, to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect during the pandemic.

ODAPC recommends that, when a SAP conducts assessments and evaluations remotely, the format of the assessment be documented in the final report for reference.

ODAPC realizes that performing evaluations remotely may not provide as much information to the SAP as a face-to-face evaluation would, but believes remote evaluations are preferable to not performing the evaluations at all. 

SAPs who choose to conduct initial assessments and evaluations and follow up evaluations remotely should consider the following parameters:

  • The technology used should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
  • You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
  • You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.

Delayed Collector and Other Service Agents Requalification Is Allowed

Under federal regulations, collectors, MROs, STT/BATs, and SAPs are required to maintain their DOT required qualifications by completing refresher training courses to continue acting as service agents in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program. 

  • Collectors and STT/BATs must complete refresher training every five years
  • MROs must complete requalification training every five years, and
  • SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years

DOT realizes that during the pandemic, these service agents may find it difficult to find the necessary resources (e.g., exam location or personnel to conduct mock collections, etc.) to meet their re-qualification requirements.

If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, DOT will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent. 

DOT will consider these service agents qualified per Part 40 to continue providing the Part 40 required services while this policy is in effect.


DOT Training

All fleets need to conduct proper and thorough pre and post trip inspections, which consists of implementing quality:

  • driver training that is ongoing and consistent
  • driver education, and
  • driver awareness of current and changing traffic laws

All of this will help prevent being targeted by the DOT at roadside inspections and is a valuable resource to ensure a healthy fleet, and compliant safety practices.

Our DOT trainers offer a variety of in-person or online training courses tailored to the specific needs or weaknesses of your company.


Interested in Training?

The Trucking Industry’s Role in COVID Vaccine Distribution

Trucking's Role in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

There will be at least 6 vaccines that will likely meet acceptable effectiveness – we will dive into the first 2 announced.

This November has seen the highest jump in reported COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the U.S. and in states where a major outbreak had not previously appeared.

While wearing masks and increasing social distancing can reduce the spread of COVID, it does not kill the disease, just slows it down to acceptable levels to keep our healthcare at reasonable capacities.

The only way to truly get ahead of the pandemic and back to normal life is scientifically approved vaccines to be distributed across the globe.

Two Vaccines Show High Effective Rates In Human Trials

Vaccine researchers deserve to be praised for finding highly effective vaccines, with no major side effects, in only ten months with the capability to have millions of vaccines available by the end of the year.

Two major super-pharma companies have released human trial results in the past week. Pfizer’s vaccine trial showed an effective rate of 95% with hopes to distribute around 50 million vaccine by the end of the year. Moderna’s vaccine trial showed an effective rate of 94.5% and hopes to distribute around 20 million by the end of the year.

In perspective, the annual flu vaccine hopes to achieve over 60% effective rates as biologists must guess what various flu strains will look like for the next flu season.

To transport and deliver these vaccines, the Pfizer vaccine is required to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius and the Moderna vaccine to be kept at -20 degrees Celsius.

To note, there are 4 other vaccines that will likely meet acceptable effectiveness that will also be easier to produce and distribute.

So, what will the logistics look like for these two vaccines?


Interested in COVID-19 Services?

We can provide an estimate or suggestions specific to your company depending on your type of business and employees.

Massive Cold-Storage Supply Chain Will Be Tested

Not only does Pfizer and Moderna plan to produce a billion vaccines each to be distributed worldwide, but both vaccines require two doses for proper immunity.

These vaccines also require cold supply chains, or to be refrigerated from production to distribution, to extend the shelf-life of the vaccine.

This means everything must be kept chilled with a massive amount of special equipment, reefer trailers, containers, and more.

According to NBC News, “Pfizer is marshaling a massive new cold-storage supply chain to handle the delicate dance of transporting limited doses of its coronavirus vaccine from manufacturer to any point of use within two days.”

The company says the vaccines will be packed below dry ice inside thermal packaging containers developed by Pfizer, which should maintain the -70 degree Celsius requirement for enough time to transport the vaccine from manufacturer to distribution points through standard pharmaceutical reefer trailers at -30 Celsius.

The packages, containing 1,000 to 5,000 doses, will be shipped by air to major distribution hubs and then delivered by trucks to hospitals, outpatient clinics, community vaccination locations and pharmacies.

However, everyday pharmacies are not able to stockpile large quantities of vaccines that require subzero storage. Though, pharmacies may be able to keep Pfizer’s cooler-size boxes on hand, and other vaccines can be stored at less extreme temperatures.

According to the New York Times, UPS is creating a freezer farm in Louisville, KY where it can store millions of doses of vaccine at subzero temperatures. FedEx already has machines in warehouses that can produce dry ice, and UPS said it was considering adding them.

Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer for the government’s Operation Warp Speed, which is tasked with distributing the vaccine, said Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that tracking and tracing every dose will require the use of a program called Tiberius that links databases from shipping companies and the government, a capability that didn’t exist two months ago.

What Can We Do Now?

With tens of millions of vaccines going to the most populous states and our healthcare workers first, what can we do now?

The most important thing we can do is to help flatten the curve. We are in the worst period of the pandemic and many are facing “pandemic fatigue”. But we must stay vigilant in wearing our masks, think about what your holiday plans will look like with masks and social distancing, and being kind to those who agree or disagree with each other.

Our healthcare workers are dealing with 36-hour shifts, collapsing with emotional distress, and not feeling the hero status they rightly deserve like in the beginning of the pandemic.

Let us be thankful and share the love and kindness we celebrate during the holidays with those on the frontlines.


Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer antibody testing, which provides insight into employee exposure by determining whether or not they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.


COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Positive Drug Tests and On-Site Testing


Since the emergence of COVID-19, the importance of drug and alcohol testing and driver physicals have not changed, especially considering positive drug testing rates have increased in April and May since 2019.

According to Clinical Reference Laboratories (CRL), positive drug test rates are up by more than 16% in April and 24.1% in May year-over-year. The culprit during the pandemic is marijuana, which increased 21% in April and 37.8% in May compared to the previous year. 

Similarly, DISA’s random positive drug testing rates have more than doubled, up from 0.18% in April 2019 to 0.37% in May 2020.

Employers, more now than ever, are taking employee health more seriously and attempting to make the required drug tests and driver physicals more convenient as they do not want to put workers at risk if health clinics are being used to test people who have COVID-19 symptoms.

With the hyper-focus of clean and safe facilities, minimizing hospital sites, and navigating collection sites or medical offices closing, many fleets are turning to on-site mobile drug testing.

This allows fleets to manage when drivers can be drug tested or receive required physical exams, trust their COVID health protocols, and not worry about busy testing and physical exam sites.

Trusted mobile collection sites are maintaining effective drug-testing procedures during the pandemic while increasing their on-site safety guidelines, which includes:

  • Stopping any testing if an illness is evident and advising the customer
  • Staff wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment during test sessions
  • Cleaning instruments and testing area after every test
  • Maintaining a minimum safe distance wherever practical, and
  • Treating the Donor with courtesy and respect at all times

On-site testing not only  employee safety during the pandemic, recent studies have shown that on-site and mobile collection testing has a higher rate of positives than clinic based testing.

This is most likely due to the element of surprise, where drivers may normally be able to purchase products in hopes of cheating their drug test or less opportunities for subversion of the testing process.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Can drivers refuse a drug test claiming COVID-19 pandemic concerns?

If your employees express concern about reporting for a drug test, on-site testing can assure them that employer guidelines are in place to protect them during drug testing and physical procedures.

It is important to note, if an employee refuses a drug test for any reason (including COVID-19 concerns), it is reported as a refusal to test.

This means collectors document the refusal and follow the company’s guidelines as outlined in its refusal to test policy.

If the company is regulated by the DOT, refusals are reported to the MRO (Medical Review Officer), reviewed, and a decision is made on whether or not it is a refusal to test based on the circumstances.

No matter the outcome, the driver will not be allowed to perform safety-sensitive functions, such as driving, during this process.


Mobile Drug and Alcohol Services

Want to save time and money?

If your company is committed to creating and maintaining a drug-free workplace with little to no interruptions in your operations, on-site collection may be the right option for you.

Our medical professionals are available to go on-site and perform drug and alcohol tests.

On-site drug and alcohol testing can be scheduled at your place of business or any other location of your choosing.

We are extremely flexible and can accommodate the busiest of schedules and various types of operations.

Our Certified DOT Examiners, Certified Collectors and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT) are readily available to serve you.

How does Mobile Drug Testing work?

  1. Schedule an on-site testing appointment for your company.
  2. We send appointment confirmation and a letter to all of your employees letting them know what to bring to the exam (upon request).
  3. Our professional staff will arrive 10 minutes early to set up.
  4. Our certified staff will provide collection services in an efficient manner.
  5. CNS will send samples to the certified lab. (24-48 turnaround time for DOT 5 Panel)
  6. Results upload by the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to your portal.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Taking COVID-19 Precautions at Truck Stops

COVID-19 Precautions at Truck Stops

For six months now, COVID-19 has been affecting the personal health and wellness of truck drivers who are literally in the front seat of this crisis as they travel the country delivering goods.

Long-haul truck drivers have close contact with truck stop attendants, store workers, dock workers, other truck drivers, or may be coming in contact with surfaces touched or handled by a person with COVID-19.

There are many factors putting truck drivers at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, including:

  • nationwide travel
  • handling of overseas goods
  • exposure at truck stops for meals and showers
  • multiple facility stops

How can truck drivers limit COVID-19 exposure at truck stops?

Beyond wearing cloth facemasks when out of your truck, the most important step is to pre-qualify truck stops, rest areas, and hotels to ensure such facilities are open, supplied, and follow recommended COVID-19 safety practices, such as:

  • proper food handling and food service
  • cleanliness and disinfection
  • contactless payment

If you drive for a motor carrier, see what truck stops or rest areas they recommend or are pre-qualified for your route.


Interested in COVID-19 Services?

We can provide an estimate or suggestions specific to your company depending on your type of business and employees.

Proper food handling at truck stops

Drivers need to think about what food they are purchasing. If there are shared soups, salad bar, or buffet offerings, possibly consider grab-and-go options. Also, consider pre-packaged condiments versus condiment stations for your food.

When getting a drink or coffee,use a new disposable cup whether you plan to use the cup or refill your own personal cup or mug.

Increased cleanliness and disinfection at truck stops

Many truck stops, like Pilot Flying J, are keeping fuel islands, showers, and restrooms open. Pilot has continued cleaning protocols for showers, restrooms, dining areas, and driver lounges.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Beyond routine cleaning, make sure truck stops have available hand-sanitizing stations, or bring your own and prioritize truck stops with private showers.

Consider contactless payment options at truck stops

Where possible, drivers should use paperless, electronic invoicing for fueling, deliveries, and other routine tasks. Otherwise, clean and disinfect regulalrly after using frequently touched surfaces.

 

Are you concerned for your staff and/or drivers and their COVID-19 exposure?

We offer on-site pre-shift screenings, screening questionnaires and temperature screenings for your distribution site, terminal, construction site or office.

We also offer antibody testing, which  provides insight into employee exposure by determining whether or not they have developed COVID-19 antibodies.

If you think your business may be a candidate for prescreening temperature checks or antibody testing, you can contact us now or learn more about our COVID-19 services.


 

How Nurse Triage Phone Lines Keep Drivers Safe And Injury Claim Costs Down

nurse triage phone lines

Nurse triage phone lines are quickly becoming the best solution for fleets and drivers to be treated quickly and safely if feeling sick or after a workplace accident.

Each year, millions of truck drivers spend thousands of hours behind the wheel keeping the economy moving.

These drivers not only face the chance of being injured if involved in one of the 116,000 annual crashes, but also face the unrecorded number of workplace injuries that occur as they do their job. 

These fears are compounded with the prevalence of COVID-19 and the approaching flu season leading to increased concern about sending drivers to a hospital for an illness or workplace injury.

Too often, truck drivers are pushing on through illnesses concerning themselves with their work schedules and loads instead of their health.

How do drivers know if what they have is a seasonal allergy, a cold or COVID-19? How can they get treated or checked out?

Nurse triage phone lines are quickly becoming the best solution for fleets and drivers to be treated quickly and safely if feeling sick or after a workplace accident.

 

What is a nurse triage?

A triage nurse is the first point of clinical contact for patients visiting an ER and is a registered nurse positioned in an emergency room or other facility that is responsible for assessing patients calling in and determining their level of need for medical assistance.

The criteria used to evaluate a patient include:

  • the type of injury, illness or cause for concern
  • severity
  • symptoms
  • patient explanation of emergency, and
  • vital signs

Responsibilities of a triage nurse include:

  • performing patient assessment
  • reassessing patients who are waiting
  • initiating emergency treatment (if necessary)
  • sorting patients into priority groups according to guidelines
  • communicating status of patients to doctors and nurses

 

How Nurse Triage Can Lower Your Claim Cost

The cost of an injury claim directly impacts the cost of worker’s compensation insurance. The faster an injury claim can be completed, the lower the costs of the claim will be.

To reduce lost time of reporting the injury claim, encourage your drivers to get the injury claim process going immediately by utilizing a nurse triage.

When an injury occurs, your driver calls the nurse triage phone number to speak with a trained nurse. From there, the nurse can direct the driver to self-administer first aid or recommend a designated medical care facility. 

At the conclusion of the call, the claim is immediately reported to the motor carrier, insurance company, and treating medical facility. 

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Additionally, we recommend creating a strict guideline where injuries are required to be reported immediately as this can keep claim costs low.

Additional benefits of a nurse triage, include:

  • cutting down on reporting time to the insurer 
  • organizing evidence and documentation to prevent fraud
  • providing employers with a simple and affordable way to report injuries that occur from or during work
  • putting employees in insured networks and helping them avoid expensive ER visits
  • helping the carrier gather information and data regarding injuries and accidents

 

Have an illness and want to avoid busy Doctor’s offices or medical facilities?

Start your customized health plan to meet your business needs and keep your employees healthy and safe.

You can call the CNS’ Occupational Medicine team with questions about nurse triage phone lines and telemedicine or to schedule a CNS Telemedicine appointment at 888.260.9448.

Our goal is to get you or your employees well quickly and safely so you or they can return to work fully recovered.


Stricter OSHA Rule In Effect For Silica Exposure and Silica Respiratory Testing

silica respiratory testing

Worker’s exposed may not experience symptoms for 15-20 years but a chest x-ray can determine if there is lung damage.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), more than 2.3 million U.S. workers are currently exposed to crystalline silica.

High levels of silica exposure can be found in:

  • cement/brick manufacturing
  • repair/replacement brick furnace lining
  • drilling, molding, sawing
  • removing paint
  • demolition
  • abrasive blasting
  • jack hammering
  • and more

In hopes to prevent lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease, OSHA finalized a rule in 2017 to limit worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica in high risk construction and maritime industries.

Although crystalline silica dust particles are about 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, the safety risk is dangerous if exposed to high levels.

Worker’s exposed may not experience symptoms for 15-20 years but a chest x-ray can determine if there is lung damage.

Without assessing the severity of damage, the disease could eventually cause extreme shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, chest pain, or respiratory failure.

 

Regulatory timeline of OSHA’s silica respiratory testing requirements

Since 2016, OSHA has been creating new “respirable crystalline silica” standards, which is to be fully implemented by mid-2021 to protect workers.

  • Sept. 23, 2017: the construction industry saw OSHA’s crystalline silica rule go into effect with permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica at 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air over 8 hours.
  • June 23, 2018: maritime and general industries, including hydraulic fracturing, went into effect.
  • June 23, 2020: “medical surveillance” or silica respiratory testing became twice as strict with workers exposed to the “action level” at or above 25 micrograms for 30 or more days a year (previously, medical surveillance was enforced at the “permissible exposure limit,” at or above 50 micrograms).
  • June 23, 2021: Obligations for engineering controls goes into effect as employers will put into place work practices to reduce and maintain employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica to or below limits

This does not apply where the employer has objective data demonstrating that employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica will remain below 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air (25 μg/m3) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) under any foreseeable conditions.

Recordkeeping Requirements

There are three areas of recordkeeping required by companies with workers exposed to high levels of respirable crystalline silica.

Air Monitoring Data:

The employer is required to maintain records of all exposure measurements taken to assess employee exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

This record shall include at least the following information:

  • date of measurement for each sample taken
  • task monitored
  • sampling and analytical methods used
  • number, duration, and results of samples taken
  • identity of the laboratory that performed the analysis
  • type of personal protective equipment, such as respirators, worn by the employees monitored
  • name, social security number, and job classification of all employees represented by the monitoring, indicating which employees were monitored

Objective Data:

  • crystalline silica-containing material in question
  • source of the objective data
  • testing protocol and results of testing
  • description of the process, task, or activity on which the objective data were based
  • other data relevant to the process, task, activity, material, or exposures on which the objective data were based

Medical Surveillance:

The employer is required to maintain records for each employee covered by medical surveillance with the following information:

  • name and social security number
  • a copy of the PLHCPs’ and specialists’ written medical opinions
  • a copy of the information provided to the PLHCPs and specialists

 

Staying in compliance with silica testing OSHA rules

To ensure employers stay compliant with the stricter OSHA rules, CNS Occupational Medicine team provides comprehensive silica testing program that includes:

  • silica medical history and respirator questionnaire
  • physical exam with emphasis on the respiratory system
  • chest X-ray, with “B” reader TB skin test
  • respiratory fit test
  • Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) administered by a spirometry technician
  • testing for tuberculosis (TB)

Stop waiting at hospitals or urgent care clinics. Our knowledgeable examiners are focused on best-in-class customer service when it comes to treating workers and employers to create long term health and wellness.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.


FDA Authorizes Three COVID-19 and Flu Combination Tests

COVID-19 and Flu Combination Tests

With just one swab or sample, combination flu and COVID-19 tests can be used to get answers to Americans faster.

These combination tests work by testing a single sample from a patient for multiple respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, which can show similar symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Qiagen, and BioFire Diagnostics have received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority for multiplex respiratory panels that include 20 total viral and bacterial pathogens known to cause serious respiratory disease.

This efficiency can go a long way to providing timely information for those sick with an unknown respiratory ailment.

Why combination testing is important

There are several important advantages to this combination testing.

Taking just one sample from a patient may help alleviate the need for multiple samplings, which means less discomfort for the patient with faster and more comprehensive results.

In addition, combination tests require fewer supplies, such as swabs and personal protective equipment, and reduce pressure on the supply chain for reagents.

The FDA hopes to authorize more combination tests as the fall flu season approaches.

Learn why getting you flu shot for the 2020-2021 flu season is so important.

In filing for the EUA, CDC presented data on the use of the test to analyze 115 samples, most of which were infected with either SARS-CoV-2, influenza A or influenza B. The test correctly identified all the samples, resulting in an overall percent agreement of 100%.

CDC’s original SARS-CoV-2 test also had a 100% agreement in the agency’s own evaluation.

With BioFire and Qiagen generating similar performance data on their tests, the U.S. could go into the flu season with three combination diagnostics. That arsenal may prove valuable in what some observers fear could be a perfect storm for the spread of multiple viruses in the country. 


Interested in a flu shot?

We are able to schedule individual or group flu shots with our Mobile Clinic for you or your company's employees.

Can the flu shot cause you to inadvertently test positive for COVID-19?

No, the CDC and FDA say that flu vaccines contain no type of coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19. 

The CDC notes that flu shots are made in two ways, which include using:

  1. flu viruses (not SARS-CoV) that have been “inactivated” or killed and aren’t infectious, or
  2. only one gene from a flu virus, as opposed to the full virus, to create an immune response without causing infection.

The CDC also said flu vaccines cannot cause flu illness. 

SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, is a coronavirus, not an influenza virus, which means getting a flu vaccine will not cause you to test positive for coronavirus.

Who should get the flu vaccine and when?

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine and recommends getting the flu vaccine as early as September and October.

Staying ahead of the virus and getting your flu shot as soon as possible will help reduce the potential strain on hospital resources if people are getting sick. However, if flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.

Where can you get the flu shot?

There are a lot of options out there to get your flu shot, but if you are local to Lititz, Pennsylvania area, CNS can assist with your 2020-2021 flu shot.

We offer flu shots to individuals or companies with a large set of employees interested on obtaining the flu vaccine.

Occupational Medicine Services

Our Occupation Medicine Team is knowledgeable and focused on best-in-class customer service when it comes to treating workers and employers, creating long-term health and wellness.

The goal of our medical staff is to keep workers safe and healthy on the job, allowing you to continue the production that keeps your business running.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.