Hello, everyone --

I hope you are faring well and finding a rhythm in this ever-changing time. I am still fielding lots of calls from you all regarding COVID-19 and protecting your workforce. I am so proud of the proactive approaches and true diligence displayed by our members. This week we have some big news as listed below, but I also have a challenge for each of you. I challenge you to set aside some time for yourself. Do something you love or find a sunny spot to sit and just breathe, and then take a moment to think about what you are grateful for, and then at least one thing you are proud of. I want to thank all of you for your hard work with everything we are facing, and for sharing your ideas and questions and concerns with me. Here’s the safety news of the week:

Tomorrow, April 8 at 10 a.m., we are hosting a Safety Town Hall webinar with compliance and industrial-hygiene representatives from the Department of Labor and Industries. We will have some brief presentations, and then open the floor for questions. Please consider joining us! Register here.

COVID-specific Respiratory Protection Guidelines Update
Federal OSHA, as well as the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, have stated that use of respiratory protection that is certified under other standards than ours (other countries' jurisdictions) can be used here for the protection of our workers. This means that one common alternative (the KN 95 mask), thought not to be allowed in our jurisdiction, is now approved for use during the COVID-19 response. These masks will provide better protection for workers than surgical masks and improvised masks, and are not for use in a healthcare setting, so using them for our work is not going to jeopardize the healthcare supply chain. N95, KN95, or equivalent can be used voluntarily for COVID-19 protection. For voluntary use, employers will need to follow the requirements in Chapter 296-842-11005. Make sure that voluntary use of respirators is safe (click here for rules). However, if employees have other job tasks that require a respirator such as silica, then they would need to follow all the requirements of Chapter 296-842 WAC (Respirators).
For more information on this guidance, you can read the OSHA Enforcement guidance document as well as tuning in to the Town Hall tomorrow for the State level details.

Nationwide Coronavirus Safety Stand-Down
This Thursday, we are honoring the AGC of America Nationwide Coronavirus Safety Stand Down. As our state has shut down most of the construction work, our participation will look differently than many other jurisdictions. We know many of our workers are feeling uncertain and we all are definitely feeling stressed as we adapt to the impacts of this disease. As such, we are encouraging our members to participate in the stand down by simply sharing this Toolbox Talk on stress and coping with your teams (those at work still and those at home).

Mental Health

As we continue to look for ways to cope, I will continue to research content that may be of use to you as safety professionals protecting your workforce, as individuals coping with this unrest, and as parents or loved ones dealing with the isolation. We all want to exhibit a Culture of CARE with our workforce during these times, so continued discussions, using toolbox talks, and regular check ins with employees are great tools to keep mental health as a priority discussion point when we are planning and communicating about COVID safety. Here is another great website full of useful information.
As professionals tasked with caring for your workforce, please don’t forget to include yourself as a part of the workforce you are protecting, and you need care too. If you feel alone, overwhelmed or like you are having a hard time coping, that is the time to step back, take a breath and regroup. Here is an interactive website that offers coping, support and healthy distractions for you to use.

As always, I may not get to see you all (the hardest part for me!) but I am with you in spirit! We are in this together!! I am so incredibly proud of the work you all are doing. Thank you for the opportunity to support you in this effort. Please know that I am sending healthy wishes to you, your teams, and your families!

Very best wishes,


         Mandi Kime, CHST
         Director of Safety
AGC of Washington

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