The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) offered recommendations to the US Department of Labor (DOL) on issuing guidance regarding appropriate, clean and trusted personal protective equipment (PPE) as US employers begin to plan reopening workplaces.
DOL is hosting a national dialogue, Opening America’s Workplaces Again, about the challenges that may be faced as businesses reopen and how best to help employers and workers safely reopen America’s workplaces. The public was invited to participate in the dialogue through May 7, 2020.
In a letter to the Honorable Eugene Scalia, secretary of DOL, ISEA president Charles Johnson said, “ISEA represents the vast majority of manufacturers who make the PPE that will be required in the workplace to protect American workers from COVID-19 spread.”
ISEA offered the following recommendations:
- OSHA should make clear for employers the various and appropriate sections of CDC’s guidance documents that are appropriate to the reopening of the economy. Small employers do not likely have the time to pore through the numerous CDC guidance documents. In addition, OSHA should point how and where CDC guidance documents fall under OSHA regulations.
- OSHA should follow CDC recommendations on infection control for contract, droplet and airborne exposures. However, if the regulatory requirements for a Respiratory Protection Program are modified for employers in response to the outbreak, those modifications should be clearly communicated.
- OSHA and DOL should encourage employers to obtain PPE from trusted sources. OSHA and DOL should announce to employers the NIOSH site for International Respirator Assessment Request. Under this program, NIOSH will test the filtration efficiency of foreign respirators. This service allows for some level of validation of products before purchases are made.
- OHSA should reference CDC and EPA list N guidance for cleaning and decontaminating PPE. This will assist employers as they seek to keep workplaces free from contact exposure to COVID.
To learn more about ISEAs efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit safetyequipment.org/publichealth-covid19.