Fit Testing Respirators

Not only is fit testing required by OSHA, but — when done well — it provides assurance to workers that the employer is properly protecting their health in a potentially hazardous environment. For example, the COVID pandemic created an unprecedented need for healthcare staff to wear respirators during patient care. Entering a room where you… Read more »

Wildfire Smoke Regulations and the COVID Epidemic

One Cal/OSHA COVID-19 regulation (3205) requires employers to maximize outside air ventilation to prevent the spread of the virus. Another Cal/OSHA mandate (5141.1) requires minimum exposure to outside air. Which rule should a facilities manager follow? How can you protect employees from the potentially harmful effects of smoke from wildfire, continue to combat COVID, and… Read more »

Complying with The Joint Commission’s New Water Management Standard

Did you know that on January 1, 2022, The Joint Commission’s new water management standard for healthcare facilities went into effect? This new standard (EC.02.05.02, EPs 1 through 4) supersedes the previous version (EC.02.05.01, EP 14) which “addressed the need for healthcare organizations to minimize pathogenic biological agents in cooling towers, domestic hot- and cold-water… Read more »

Lead Water Testing for Schools: What’s Coming Down the Pipe?

School lead water testing…we did that already, didn’t we? Yes, but there are signs indicating there is more to come. The voluntary program launched by the State Water Resources Control Board in 2017 formally ended in July of 2019. However, recent legislation requires testing lead in water for all licensed Child Care Centers (CCCs) in… Read more »

Construction Site Safety Blind Spots

Projects need to be completed within the budget and on time. That pressure can contribute to overlooking risks and a failure to recognize or correct unsafe conditions. The consequences of succumbing to that pressure are real and can sometimes be catastrophic to the lives of workers and their families. Fatalities in construction occupations rose six… Read more »

Managing Waterborne Pathogen Risks During Hospital Construction

All demolition, construction, and renovation activities in healthcare facilities — whether planned or unplanned — require a pre-construction risk assessment (PCRA). Some guidance documents refer to this procedure as an “Infection Control Risk Assessment” (ICRA). The Joint Commission’s Environment of Care Standard establishes the framework.  Certain concerns tend to get the most attention during renovation… Read more »

Have Schools Forgotten About AHERA?

Here’s an amazing fact: Many people — even those who occupy decision-making positions in school districts — have no idea what AHERA is, what is required of the school district to comply, the current status of their schools’ reports, or how to comply with AHERA in a cost-effective manner.  Chances are high that you’re either… Read more »

Silica in Construction, 3 Years Later: What We’ve Learned

OSHA announced the final rule concerning worker protection from occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica in March of 2016. Enforcement of the standard began in September of 2017.  That rule provides two options for compliance: Employers can either assess exposure and implement controls on a task-by-task basis to ensure exposure falls below the permissible exposure… Read more »

Legionella Treatment: Approaches to Disinfection

Prompted by the abundance of news coverage around COVID-19, a public radio station in Illinois recently broadcast a story about another threat to public health — one that’s often overlooked: 569 cases of Legionnaires’ Disease (Legionellosis) were reported in the state of Illinois alone in 2019. 43 of those patients died. Nationwide, there were almost… Read more »

Cannabis Worker Safety: Equipment and Methods

Why be concerned about cannabis worker safety? There are approximately 211,000 workers legally employed by cannabis operations in the USA and 2018 sales of cannabis products reached almost $12 billion according to the Cannabis Jobs Count report by Leafly and Whitney Economics. A BDS Analytics study says 2027 worldwide sales will reach $57 billion —… Read more »

The Rising Danger of Fentanyl on Campus

What are the biggest threats colleges and universities face today? You might mention rising tuition rates or the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on classroom teaching – but there’s something else creeping onto campuses at an alarming rate.  Much too often, we’re hearing stories like these: The Los Angeles Police Department stepped in during the… Read more »

Protecting the Health of Cannabis Workers

According to the cannabis jobs report (2019), there are more people now working in legal cannabis operations than dental hygienists, coal miners, or textile workers. Jobs within the cannabis industry grew by 44 percent in 2018 over the prior year, pushing the current total cannabis workforce in the U.S. to about 211,000 in 2019. Cannabis… Read more »

Lead in School Drinking Water: Are Students at Risk?

You’re attending an event at a public school, and you’re thirsty. Your choices are to buy a soft drink from the machine or refill your empty water container at the drinking fountain in the hallway. You’d prefer a cold bottle of spring water, but that selection is sold out. Question: Would you have any fear… Read more »

Trends in Multi-Family Property Maintenance During the Pandemic

Multi-family apartment communities have always presented unique challenges to the people who own them, work at them, and live in them, but the COVID-19 pandemic created situational difficulties on a scale most of us have never before witnessed. FACS works with multi-family management teams nationwide, so we’re positioned to not only help staff navigate the… Read more »

Home (Alone?) for the Holidays – Tips for Safer Family Gatherings this Holiday Season – FACS COVID-19 Update #18

While many of us endured the disappointment of significantly limited gatherings over Thanksgiving, the case rates are climbing. We are heading into the holidays where friends and family get-togethers are even more important and are often for extended periods of time. Thanksgiving dinners are usually limited to a few hours together, while Christmas gatherings could… Read more »

When Disasters Collide – FACS COVID-19 Update #17

While in the continued grip of a global pandemic and the need for the public to follow significant preventative measures, the US is faced with the onset of other natural disasters. On the West Coast and along the Continental Divide there are a rash of wildfires that have erupted this month, and on the East… Read more »

Getting a Handle on COVID-19 Case Response – FACS Update #16

As more businesses reopen and the number of cases of COVID-19 climb in the community, organizations are having to navigate the challenges, twists and turns of managing a proper response to a known or suspected case. In this discussion we talk about the fundamentals of case response in non-healthcare settings and some of the lessons… Read more »

Why Six Feet and How Close is Too Close? – FACS Update #14

Physical distancing, also commonly referred to as “social distancing,” is defined as keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice physical distancing, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends staying at least six (6) feet apart from other people. The World Health Organization recommends at least 1 meter… Read more »

COVID-19 Testing in the Workplace: What You Should Know (And Do): FACS Update #10

This week’s COVID-19 Response Update is a featured piece written by our medical consulting partner, Cogency. For more information on medical testing in the workplace to ensure a safe return-to-work program, contact the Cogency team today. Diagnostic and surveillance testing for COVID-19 provide important information for physicians and public health professionals. This includes guiding recommendations… Read more »

Surface Disinfection in the Age of COVID-19: The Good, the Bad and the U…(Underinformed): FACS Update #9

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to spread mainly through direct transmission from person-to-person. However, we are still learning about how it is spread and there are concerns of indirect transmission (person-to-surface-to-person). Because of the anticipated potential for indirect transmission, cleaning and disinfection to reduce risks related to COVID-19 (the illness caused by… Read more »

COVID-19: Leaving the Shelter and Getting Back to Business Safely: FACS Update #7

As we begin looking to lift shelter in place restrictions, organizations are confronted with figuring out how to adjust to the “new normal” of operating safely in the presence of COVID-19. This starts with recognizing the purpose behind the effort: Protect People. Help prevent employees, customers, and other stakeholders from contracting COVID-19, and in doing… Read more »

Maintaining Asbestos & Lead Certifications during COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place” Restrictions

Although the shelter-in-place order is still in effect in the state of California, Cal-OSHA & CDPH will not be extending lead and asbestos certification deadlines. Refresher trainings and renewal applications will still need to be completed before your certifications expire in order to maintain your status. The challenge: how do you complete training with shelter-in-place restrictions? The… Read more »

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions: FACS Update #5

What should employers and building owners/managers be doing to protect employees and other stakeholders from COVID-19? The first thing to do is to be aware of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance. The CDC has specific guidance for businesses and retirement/independent living properties, and other facilities. Secondly, you want to have a written… Read more »

Validating Cleaning Efficacy for Removal of SARS-CoV-2: FACS Update #4

The number of COVID-19 cases in America continues to rise. So have questions regarding keeping families, co-workers and the general public safe. Public health organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide recommendations for cleaning and disinfection related to the virus responsible for COVID-19 infections, SARS-CoV-2. But… Read more »

Key Considerations for Your COVID-19 Safety Plan: FACS Update #2

The COVID-19 pandemic is in full swing, and even with the current emergency public health measures to reduce the spread of the virus, it is expected to be of concern for an extended period of time. Organizations must prepare for the near-term impacts, but also for a “new normal” of how to include protecting their… Read more »

COVID-19 Response: FACS Update

We are providing this communication to inform FACS clients of what we are doing as a company to address the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. It is our plan to provide updates as needed, and at least weekly, during this event. COVID-19 FACS Expert Team We have formed a FACS expert… Read more »

California Lead in Construction Rules Are Changing Soon

These Changes Will Affect Every General Contractor, Trade Contractor, Maintenance Team, and Custodial Crew in California Cal/OSHA has been working for over eight years to revise its Lead in Construction (8 CCR 1532.1) and Lead in General Industry standards (8 CCR 5198).  The current laws were essentially copied from federal regulations and have been in… Read more »