Safety & Health

Director: David Mullen

202 -728-6040


September 29, 2020 Updated OSHA Workplace Resources for COVID-19

OSHA has updated its comprehensive document on workplace resources for COVID-19. 
The document is grouped by agency and industry and includes a Table of Content.
To view click on September 29, 2020 OSHA Workplace Resources.     

A Quick Guide for Respirators, Face Masks and Face Shields

Click here to view a chart created by the AFL-CIO that may answer some questions about respirators, face masks and shields.

This document outlines certification requirements, uses and OSHA requirements for different types of respirators, face masks and shields.

NIOSH Fact Sheet on COVID-19  

NIOSH has redone their home web page. Click on "workplace resources" from their home page to get to the COVID-19 fact sheets for different industries and the burn rate calculator, etc....

OSHA Press Release:

U.S. Department of Labor Reminds Employers That They Cannot Retaliate Against Workers Reporting Unsafe Conditions During Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding employers that it is illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours.

“Employees have the right to safe and healthy workplaces,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. “Any worker who believes that their employer is retaliating against them for reporting unsafe working conditions should contact OSHA immediately.”

Workers have the right to file a whistleblower complaint online with OSHA (or 1-800-321-OSHA) if they believe their employer has retaliated against them for exercising their rights under the whistleblower protection laws enforced by the agency.

OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program webpage provides valuable resources on worker rights, including fact sheets on whistleblower protections for employees in various industries and frequently asked questions.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of more than 20 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit the OSHA website.

Department of Transportation Raises 2020 Drug Testing Rates 

On January 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) raised the random drug testing rate for drivers of commercial vehicles requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to 50 percent. The previous random drug testing rate was 25 percent. The minimum annual percentage rate for random alcohol testing will remain at 10 percent.

A minimum testing rate increase is mandated when the positive rate of random drug testing equals or exceeds one percent, which it did in the 2018 FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Survey. 

Employees should understand drug-free workplace policies and the circumstances under which they are subject to testing.

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. The FMCSA is primarily tasked with enforcing safety regulations and strengthening commercial vehicle operating and safety standards. One of the areas the FMCSA oversees is random drug testing for drivers of commercial vehicles. FMCSA controlled substance and alcohol testing regulations are in place to protect the safety of the traveling public.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Coronavirus Disease

Responding to the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed guidance for health care providers, businesses and schools in an effort to stem the spread of the potentially deadly respiratory illness in the United States.

CDC offers several strategies to help prevent workplace exposure:

  • Employees with symptoms of acute respiratory illness are encouraged to use sick leave and stay home.
  • Employees should frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
    or use a sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • The cleaning crews will continue to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs, but you are encouraged to do the same.

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Learn when and how you should wash your hands to stay healthy.

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

·        Before, during, and after preparing food
·        Before eating food
·        Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
·        Before and after treating a cut or wound
·        After using the toilet
·        After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
·        After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
·        After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
·        After handling pet food or pet treats
·        After touching garbage

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

1.     Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2.     Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
        Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3.     Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4.     Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5.     Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. 

Use Hand Sanitizer When You Can’t Use Soap and Water

You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.

Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. However,

·        Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
·        Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
·        Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.

Caution! Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed. Keep it out of reach of young children and supervise their use. 

How to use hand sanitizer

·        Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
·        Rub your hands together.
·        Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

For more information concerning the coronavirus visit the CDC website at

About the IBEW Safety Caucus:

The IBEW convenes an exclusive IBEW only safety caucus annually. The safety caucus provides IBEW members that attend the caucus necessary time to discuss issues that are critical in furthering occupational safety and health for IBEW members.

International President Stephenson continues to affirm the commitment from his office to the future of the caucus, and directs delegates to align their focus toward an advisory role to the international office on safety matters affecting IBEW members.

For more information about the meetings or the NSC, you may contact IBEW Safety Director David Mullen at 202-728-6040 or 

About the Safety & Health Department:

The Safety and Health Department is assigned responsibilities related to safety and health involving all trade jurisdictions of the IBEW. The department’s primary focus is occupational safety, although home, community, and personal safety and health issues frequently require departmental attention.

Local unions are required to report serious lost time accidents and fatalities using the web based accident reporting system.



Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness
Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness