March-April 2020

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24 PalletCentral • March-April 2020 T he Novel Corona Virus (2019-nCoV – now known as "COVID-19"), which emerged in China in late 2019, reached American shores in early 2020, and was deemed "a public health emergency of international concern." President Trump signed a declaration barring immigrants and non-immigrants from entering the United States if they pose a risk of transmitting the virus. Still, before the illness was present in all 50 states (and all territories except American Samoa, as of April 2020). There are emergency declarations in place in most states as well as, some of which impose limitations on travel, requirements for health testing of workers by employers, or prohibit retaliation against workers. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have been updating their information on the coronavirus for the general public, and guiding employers in essential service sectors who are not covered by the "shelter in place" orders in place in many states. Pallets do "move the world," whether they deliver respirators to hospitals or food products and the elusive toilet paper to markets. Therefore pallet manufacturers and their related logistics and warehousing operations fall into this "critical infrastructure" category. COVID-19 is primarily of concern as a public health issue, and the CDC has useful information on its website ( OSHA also put employers on notice that they have responsibilities to prevent the spread of the illness within the workplace. As news changes rapidly, the agency has already updated guidance repeatedly, and this has created confusion. OSHA published guidance for employers in late January 2020, including a safety and health "topics page" that shares background information, as well as suggested controls and prevention measures, and links to resources. On March 10th, OSHA added a 35-page guide for small businesses that helps to triage the necessary actions depending on the risk level and assessment for the employer's type of work. But since this publication was released, OSHA has already modified its guidelines through a series of documents published in early April 2020. More updates are likely to come, so refer to OSHA's website often. In some industries, individuals may be at elevated risk of person-to-person contact, such as those in the public transportation sector (including delivery of COVID-19: OSHA & DOT Considerations SAFETY By Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP Masks: Coppersmith Photography

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