L&I issues COVID-19 Hazard Alert on hospital worker safety
Sept. 17, 2020
TUMWATER – Concern over COVID-19 cases in hospital workers has prompted the Washington State Departments of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Health (DOH) to clarify and update hospital guidance to prevent the spread of the virus to staff and patients.
The state Hazard Alert issued today highlights key worker safety and health requirements and guidance on employee training, proper use of respirators and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), social distancing, disinfecting procedures, and the importance of a comprehensive infection control program. The alert aligns hospital requirements with the most current information about transmitting the virus.
“Health care workers are on the front lines of the pandemic caring for others. This Hazard Alert spells out what hospitals must do to take care of all of their workers to prevent them from getting infected on the job,” said Anne Soiza, L&I assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH)
“Employee safety and patient safety are equally important,” Soiza added.
The alert covers several key areas including training on COVID-19 procedures and infection control
Among the requirements, hospitals must:
- Replace disposable respirators and procedural masks daily at the beginning of each shift and immediately upon employee request when soiled or damaged during the shift. Multiple shift use of disposable respirators/masks is not allowed.
- Train and ensure sick employees do not report to work and immediately leave work when they become symptomatic.
- Ensure facilities are adequately staffed with qualified infection prevention staff and resources.
- Provide adequate space and procedures for employees to physically distance at a minimum of six feet in break rooms, nurse stations, cafeteria and other spaces where they congregate.
- Maintain hospital-wide policies and procedures consistent with state and national guidelines as they evolve for COVID-19.
L&I is working closely with the state Department of Health (DOH) on this issue. DOH supports local health agencies as they respond to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks, including those at hospitals, and conducts oversight of hospitals under state licensing laws.
DOH is coordinating with local health agencies and the Washington State Hospital Association on opportunities to provide hospitals with the education and support necessary to keep health care employees and patients safe from COVID-19 and other infections.
Guidance for specific industries
Along with the guidance for health care and long-term care workers, guidance for other industries is available on the L&I DOSH coronavirus webpage.
The state coronavirus webpage has links to important information and guidance related to the pandemic from numerous state agencies.
For media information: Tim Church (Tim.Church@lni.wa.gov), L&I Public Affairs, 360-972-4876.
Occupational Work Letter Template
“Is it safe for me to go back to work?”
This article from the New England Journal of Medicine details risk stratification for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edward Fry, MD, FACC, from Indianapolis, IN; Abhinav Goyal, MD, MHS, FACC, from Atlanta, GA; Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, from Phoenix, AZ; Samuel Jones, MD, MPH, FACC, from Chattanooga, TN; and Athena Poppas, MD, FACC, from Providence, RI, discuss the challenges and approaches to safely resuming the full range of cardiovascular services. Watch the videos to hear how they are preparing for addressing the needs of patients and health care workers, delivering care in novel ways that incorporate social distancing and masking as well as good communication and shared decision-making, being resilient to adjust as circumstances change, and partnering with local public health officials
Webinar Recording: Cardiovascular Manifestation & Management strategy of COVID-19 patients:
David Zhang, MD, PhD, FACC | CHI Franciscan | Tacoma, WA
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A recent WSMA survey of physician clinics in our state found that virtually all respondents are being financially impacted by COVID-19, with several having to close their doors altogether.
The federal stimulus package (a.k.a. CARES Act) is intended to provide financial relief to individuals and businesses through a number of programs. The “Paycheck Protection Program” is likely to be of most utility to physician practices, as it provides loans of up to $10 million to qualifying businesses of less than 500 employees that under some circumstances do not need to be repaid.
Intended primarily as a tool for businesses impacted by COVID-19 to cover payroll costs as well as some operational expenses, the PPP loans do not require collateral and can cover up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year, plus an additional 25 percent of that amount (with payroll calculations capped at $100,000 per employee). Provided that the funds are used to primarily cover payroll costs, and that staff and payroll are maintained for the duration of the loan, the loan can be forgiven. Beyond payroll, up to 25 percent of the loan may be used for operational expenses such as rent, interest on mortgages, and utilities.
The PPP launches on Friday, April 3, and given the projected demand for loans, early participation is strongly encouraged. As a first step, consider reaching out to the bank your practice works with as all federally-insured financial institutions are eligible lenders. A fact sheet on the program from the Treasury Department can be found here, and the application form can be found here. Finally, the Association of Washington Business will be hosting a webinar on the program at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 6 – register here.
Free wellness resources for your teams
These are apps that are used for mindfulness and meditation, which may sound hokey to some, but is vitally important in times like this when we’re stressed. they have very short options – 1-3 minute exercises – that are great to do midday or pre-sleep.
www.headspace.com/health-covid-19 (go to website, will need to input NPI number and location then can download app with full account and access)
https://www.tenpercent.com/ (free with code HEALTHCARE)
ACC Accepting Applications for Leadership Academy Cohort IV Through Dec. 2
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Mission of the Washington Chapter of the American College of Cardiology
The Goal of the Washington American College of Cardiology is to improve Cardiovascular health for residents of Washington State through education, care, and advocacy.
The purpose of the Chapter is to contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and to ensure optimal quality of care for individuals with such diseases in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Spokane and other cities in Washington State. In carrying out these purposes, the Chapter functions, in consultation with the leadership of the College, as a source of advice to local and state governmental and professional organizations concerning issues related to cardiovascular disease. The Chapter, in the interest of patients, physicians, and the public in general, maintains a high level of social consciousness and involvement with socioeconomic factors and access to the highest possible quality of cardiovascular health care.
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Leadership and the ACC: Developing leaders to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health
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William Shatner Thanks Cardiologists
[February 28, 2015] William Shatner owes his good health and being able to enjoy his active life to taking advice from good physicians, including his cardiologist. Please share any of the four versions with your friends. The :30, :60 and :90 min. videos are on the California Chapter YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/c/CaaccOrgchapter
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