May 6, 2020

Occupational Health and Safety Experts Announce 'Back to Work Safely' Guidelines and Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Release No. SPR-20-05-06


CONTACT:
Katie Heraty
Account Director,
CS-Effect
773-677-1775

Susan Marchese
, Managing Director,
Communications & Marketing, AIHA
(202) 256-8986

May 6, 2020 (Falls Church, VA) -- COVID-19 has caused businesses in most industries to shut down. As the economy begins to reopen, occupational health and safety experts urge business owners to be aware of the special health considerations that must be made before safely re-opening. To assist employers during this transition, AIHA, a professional association for occupational health and safety science professionals, just introduced the “Back to Work Safely” initiative to help employers and employees get back to work safely with industry sector specific guidelines and resources.

The AIHA’s “Back to Work Safely” initiative to prepare for building re-entry after COVID-19 has launched in conjunction with Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, investor and owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is one of several sports executives serving on the White House’s council to reopen the economy.

Yesterday Mark Cuban posted on his Twitter account (@mcuban): “Before you go back to work, this is one site you should review. The @AIHA, an organization that specializes in corporate and industrial hygiene has put together an amazing safety guide for almost every type of business. Backtoworksafely.org.”

These free guidelines include recommendations on ventilation, personal hygiene, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning. Guidelines are available for the following industries:

  • At-Home Service Providers
  • Construction Guidelines
  • General Office Setting
  • Gyms and Workout Facilities
  • Hair and Nail Salon
  • Retail
  • Restaurant
  • Rideshare, Taxi, Limo and other Passenger Driver-for-Hire

“Owners must not assume that they can walk back into a building that has sat un-used or with low occupancy for weeks or months. Some of the hazards include HVAC systems with mold, and cooling towers and water systems that have developed Legionella bacteria in the water. These hazards could lead to serious illnesses including Legionnaires’ disease, an atypical pneumonia which has symptoms similar to COVID-19,” said AIHA President, Kathleen Murphy. “As professionals committed to preserving and ensuring health and safety in the workplace and community, it is our ethical responsibility to develop science-based recommendations for limiting the transmission of COVID-19 as employers begin to re-open their workplaces.”


All resources are available to download on www.backtoworksafely.org. CDC will feature a link to these guidance documents on their website. Additionally, COVID-19 resources on personal protective equipment (PPE) and re-entry into the workplace hazards can be found at AIHA Media Outreach Center.

“The task force is comprised of over a dozen highly-trained and experienced OHS experts who are dedicated to anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling disease in the workplace, and who represent various business sectors: government, private, higher education and consulting.” Murphy went on to express AIHA’s deepest appreciation for the group’s great effort and rapid response to formulating these resources to help America get back to work safely. “Good health in the workplace leads to a healthier world,” she concluded.

This Back to Work Safely initiative launched by AIHA is the most recent addition to a public relations campaign to clarify misinformation on PPE ventilation and disinfection and to educate employers and consumers about the hazards associated with re-entry into the workplace.

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About AIHA

AIHA is a professional association for occupational health and safety scientists who are committed to preserving and ensuring health and safety in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, network, comprehensive education programs and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed in the industrial, consulting, academic and government sectors. For more information, please visit www.aiha.org.