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Rhode Island Provides Guidelines to Reopen – Is Your Business Ready?

COVID-19 continues to have a major negative impact on the nation’s economy. Many businesses continue to struggle. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the U.S. economy lost over 20 million jobs in April with the unemployment rate spiking to 14.7 percent, the worst since the Great Depression.

The New York Times provides an interactive guide showing each state’s stage of opening and reported more than half the states have started to reopen their economies in some meaningful way or have plans to do so soon, raising concerns among public health experts about a possible surge in new infections and deaths.

The guide reveals that businesses in many states are reopening but under restrictions, such as allowing fewer customers, adding social distancing measures, and requiring workers and customers to wear masks.

Rhode Island’s 3 Phase Plan to Reopen

Many states are currently working on guidelines to assist businessowners and residents safely open their business and begin to return to some form of normalcy.

Rhode Island recently released its comprehensive plan – REOPENING RI: CHARTING THE COURSE

The plan consists of three phases to weather the storm and begin to reopen the economy. Here are some highlights from the plan:

Phase 1: Testing the Water

The stay at home order is lifted, but social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Older adults (65+) and those with underlying health conditions can go to work and go out for food or medicine. But in accordance with federal public health guidance, vulnerable individuals are strongly encouraged to otherwise stay home.

Phase 2: Navigating Our Way

In the second phase, more businesses are reopening, and restrictions are further relaxed. Expanded childcare options will be available under strict public health guidelines. More restaurants, retail and close-contact businesses like hair and nail salons may open. Additional recreational options will likely return including more parks and beaches, but restrictions remain. Social gathering limits increase to 15 people.

Phase 3: Picking Up Speed

Schools begin reopening with restrictions. Offices, restaurants, retail and other businesses will lift some of the tightest restrictions to allow more people in at one time but will need to operate under long-term safety guidelines. Social gatherings are limited to 50 people. Older adults (65+) and those with underlying health conditions are no longer strongly encouraged to stay home.

In all phases, masks, vigilant hand-washing and increased cleaning must remain in place. And everyone who can work from home should still work from home. All activities must account for strong social distancing guidelines of remaining 6-feet apart.

Phase I: General Business Guideline Highlights

New measures are being put into place for businesses to reopen in Rhode Island. They are asking businesses to develop a plan to keep their workers, customers, and visitors safe, which includes:

COVID-19 Control Plan
All businesses, including those that are currently operating, develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how their workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Businesses may obtain a template for the COVID-19 Control Plan here

Access Screening
Businesses must screen all entrants for self-reported symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and other COVID-19 risk factors upon entering the building. Screenings can be conducted verbally, by app, by phone, or by another method of the employer’s choosing.

Additional Information and Guidelines

Below are important links on guidelines for businesses and organizations to begin reopening in Rhode Island:

General Workplace Guidelines

General business highlights and explanations

General business guidelines

COVID-19 control plan template

Compliance attestation poster

Employer visual poster

Employee poster

Retail Stores

Non-critical retail checklist and sign

Non-critical retail guidance

Garden center guidance

Critical retail and grocers guidelines

We Can Help You Reopen Safely

Our bundled COVID 19 /Coronavirus services system allows for quickly screening and detecting individuals with an elevated temperature. Utilizing a thermal thermometer in conjunction with our mobile app, we provide a solution that will alert employers and the workforce when a scanned person’s temperature exceeds a predetermined threshold, allowing for immediate intervention and protective measures.

We have furthered our efforts by creating a COVID 19 Training Webinars. We offer Open Enrollment Classes and Private Company Sponsored Classes made available at your convenience.

If you need assistance in your plan to reopen your business, please contact us today to learn more.

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NUCARI Membership Dinner

Join Us for the March for the NUCARI Membership Dinner

Tuesday, March 17
6:00 pm
Bravo Bistro
123 Empire Street, Providence, RI

Join NUCARI and Congressman David Ciccilline as he shares how RI and neighboring MA and CT will benefit from the recent unveiling of a $760 billion Infrastructure Plan. The RI Infrastructure Bank will be joining us, as well. This is our opportunity to learn more about the infrastructure spending, and to ensure the inclusion of funding for utility infrastructure. 

 Come spend your St. Patrick’s Day networking with your industry peers over a green beer and a nice meal!  Please return this form via mail or email to reserve your seat. Checks may be sent to the address included below. Payment must be received in advance of the event. 

Win Two Red Sox Tickets!

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, we will be awarding TWO RED SOX TICKETS to the dinner attendee with the most Irish outfit. Bring out your wool sweaters and your green! 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program Step 7: Compliance

OSHA was created in 1970 as a response to public outcry against rising injury and death rates in the workplace. OSHA sets legal guidelines for businesses across all industries, which help to prevent injuries by eliminating hazards and educating both employees and employers. Compliance with OSHA standards should be one of the highest priorities in creating your own workplace health and safety program. 

OSHA regulations can be found at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs

Some industries have their own specific set of standards, while others fall under the “General Industry” category. These regulations outline safety standards regarding things like:

  • Walking surfaces 
  • Exit routes and emergency planning
  • Noise exposure
  • Chemical exposure
  • Protective gear
  • Sanitation
  • Fire safety

The topics listed above barely scrape the surface of OSHA regulations, which even detail the safe use of industry-specific machinery. They also require employers to train employees on a variety of safety standards. The law requires you to comply with OSHA regulations and they perform inspections periodically. An employee complaint could also trigger an inspection. If you are cited with a violation, your business could face serious fines. 

The best solution is prevention. Professional occupational health and safety training will ensure that your workplace complies with OSHA standards. United Alliance Services provides an extensive variety of workplace health and safety training as well as OSHA compliance consulting for businesses across all industries. Contact us today to find out how we can help your business comply with OSHA standards and develop a stronger internal health and safety program. 

 

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Developing an Effective Health and Safety Program: Step 1: Leadership

An effective workplace health and safety program works to eliminate hazards, protect workers, and prevent illness/injury as much as possible. Such a program has to start at the management level. It is management’s responsibility to communicate and demonstrate policies, allocate necessary resources, and set good examples for employees. In this post, we’ll offer actionable tips that people in leadership positions can implement to create a healthier, safer workplace.

  1. Communicating Your Commitment

The first step is to establish a written policy that communicates health and safety as primary goals of your organization- right up there with profitability, customer service, etc. Let your employees know that health and safety are of the utmost importance to you and to the success of the company. Use this written policy to guide ALL business decisions. Always follow the same safety procedures that you expect your employees to follow; lead by example for the best results.

  1. Define and Communicate Program Goals

Establish specific, achievable objectives for your health and safety program. Your program goals should emphasize injury and illness prevention and should be backed by real plans to make them happen. That includes assigning safety-related tasks to qualified employees, identifying resource needs, etc.

  1. Allocate Resources

All effective health and safety programs require resources of some kind. Equipment, supplies, and professional training sessions need to be included in your company’s budget. Staff time should also be allocated for safety training and meetings.

  1. Keep the Conversation Open

Oftentimes, employees are able to identify more potential workplace hazards than management can on their own. That’s why it’s important to create a culture of open communication between staff and management, especially when it comes to health and safety. Give your employees opportunities to make suggestions and give feedback on policies/procedures.

Implement these 4 steps to start improving your workplace health and safety program today. United Alliance Services offers online and on-site safety training as well as other workplace health/safety-related services. Learn more here: Safety Training

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Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

Assisting Mass Municipal Agencies in Preparing for the 2019 OSHA Requirements

Updated OSHA Compliance with MGL has begun!

Here is a simple one-pager on how United Alliance Services can help get you into compliance!

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities & Schools

Beginning February 2019, public employees are required to provide OSHA safety training and maintain OSHA compliance with job sites and safety training.

OSHA – UASC Training for MUNICIPALITIES:

  • Address the OSHA training requirements specific to each department
  • Training standards help municipalities perform jobs safely reducing worker comp, medical leave times, and injuries on the job.
  • Choose up to six electives that best suits your team members.
  • We maintain copies of all training’s, so if your system is compromised, we have a backup.
  • We’ll notify you when refreshers need to be renewed, so it’s one less thing to fall through the cracks.
  • We have developed the training programs allowing you to focus on your area of expertise

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities!

OSHA – UASC Training for SCHOOLS:

  • Experienced OSHA safety regulations instructors
  • Help school employees perform their jobs safely by outlining first-hand, real-life scenarios
  • You choose the sessions that best suit your team members as you know them best
  • We maintain backup copies of all training documentation
  • Notifications when refreshers need to be renewed
  • We have developed the training programs, which is our area of expertise, to allow you to focus on your area of expertise – running an efficient school system.

Click here for OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools!

Record Keeping

Prior to the new law, the public sector was exempt from maintaining an OSHA 300 log. The MA Department of Labor Standards (DLS) now states that you only need to provide your OSHA 300 log when an inspector or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests to see it.

The best practice is to maintain an OSHA 300 log.

OSHA 300 Log for MA Public Sector

An OSHA 300 log is used by private sector employers with more than 10 employees to maintain a record of injuries and illnesses that took place and are referred to as a “recordable”.

All of the recordables are documented, but each record also needs a form 301 completed, which details the injury/illness.

A recordable includes any work-related illness and/or injury that results in:

• Fatality
• loss of consciousness, missed work, restricted work, transfer to a lower-risk job
• medical treatment beyond first aid
• diagnosis of a work-related cancer, chronic irreversible disease, fractured or cracked bones/teeth, and punctured eardrums
• any drugs being prescribed or taken at prescription strength

Needle-sticks and sharps injuries, medical removal, hearing loss, and tuberculosis have special recording criteria.

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Choosing The Right High-Visibility Safety Apparel For Your Employees

If your employees work near traffic or heavy equipment, they are constantly exposed to vehicle and equipment hazards. Construction workers, warehouse workers, road surveyors, tow truck drivers, event security staff, etc. are at risk of being injured or killed by moving traffic or heavy equipment. If your employees face these risks, the best way to combat them is to make your employees visible to motorists and equipment operators. High-visibility safety apparel significantly reduces the risk of incident by making you distinctly visible, day or night and in various weather conditions.

What Does High-Visibility Safety Apparel Look Like?

High-visibility apparel is made with either fluorescent yellow/green or fluorescent orange/red material. These colors make a worker stand out from the background behind them. They also feature reflective strips, which reflect light at night.

Who Needs High-Visibility Safety Apparel?

There are many occupations that require high-vis safety apparel. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Construction workers
  • Road workers/surveyors
  • Warehouse employees where forklifts/loading vehicles are present
  • Parking attendants
  • Tow truck drivers and other roadside-service vehicle drivers
  • Crossing guards
  • Railroad workers
  • Movers
  • Emergency responders
  • Shipyard dock workers/stevedores

Here are some tips for choosing the right high-visibility safety apparel:

  1. Choose colors based on the situation: Workers should never be wearing the same color as traffic cones or barrels on site. They also should not be the same color as any nearby vehicles like trucks and construction vehicles. 
  2. Check the class: High-visibility safety apparel is ranked in three classes. Your workers should at least wear Class 2 safety apparel, if not Class 3. If they work around roads with speed limits over 50mph or on any roads at nighttime, Class 3 safety apparel is necessary.
  3. Make sure it is visible from all angles: Workers should be clearly visible from at least 1000 feet away, whether they are seen from the front, back, or side. They should also be visible in various body positions like bending over and squatting.

If you have questions about high-visibility safety apparel or want to consult with workplace safety experts, contact United Alliance Services today. We can help make your workplace safer with a wide range of services.

Man in a hardhat standing inside a warehouse

UASC @ The MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show

To conclude our series of blogs, we are excited to announce our attendance to The MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show 1/18/19 – 1/19/19!

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Blog #2
Blog #3

Updated MGL with OSHA compliance

In correspondence to the updated MGL Chapter 149, section 6 1/2 we are here to answer any questions.

On March 9, 2018, Massachusetts rolled out an updated MGL Chapter 149, section 6 1/2 to include reference to OSHA regulations, updating the law written before OSHA’s inception. It has left public sector employers scrambling to figure out exactly how they are affected and how to quickly get into compliance within the short time frame provided. The updated law helps clarify the responsibilities of public sector employers, which is enforced by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS), while giving everyone less than a year to become in compliance.

The MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show

This the largest regular gathering of Massachusetts local government officials. This show features educational workshops, nationally recognized speakers, awards programs, a large trade show, and an opportunity to network with municipal officials from across the state.

Shortly after this, the new Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards’ safety training mandates on the public sector will be enforceable and United Alliance Services Corporation is ready to connect with you. We have already secured our booth at the tradeshow to answer questions you may have about the new mandate and how your department will be affected. Our consultants have decades of experience with OSHA safety standards and can easily apply them to various departments to ensure the best training is delivered.

Our safety consultants and training department have weeded through the requirements and have pulled together a blog series to shed some light on the changes, help you determine the training you need, and bring your department into compliance.

We have created custom packages for municipalities and schools that are budget-friendly, easy to deliver, and satisfies the requirements:

OSHA Safety Training for MA Schools

OSHA Safety Training for Municipalities

Please stop by our booth #712 to learn more!