Alaska Occupational Safety and Health working to protect employees, employers and the public from COVID-19
July 8, 2020
JUNEAU, Alaska – Workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is at the forefront of employees’ and employers’ minds. Dr. Tamika L. Ledbetter, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, encourages employers to utilize the resources of the department for information and strategies for the safe reopening of businesses.
“Alaska Occupational Safety and Health (AKOSH) has various resources in place to provide information and guidance to a growing number of questions that we are receiving,” Commissioner Ledbetter said.
Below are services and resources employers and employees may find beneficial.
COVID-19 Safety Plan — Many employers have called the Consultation and Training (C&T) Section asking how to develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan. A COVID-19 Safety Plan Template is located on the AKOSH website. The template is flexible and allows employers to adapt and make changes to their specified establishment. It addresses items such as management and employee responsibilities; employees exhibiting symptoms; job site cleaning and disinfecting; work practice control; personal protective equipment, and much more. Additionally, employers can ask an AKOSH consultant to assist with reviewing their plan. A COVID-19 safety template can be located at: COVID-19 Safety Plan Example Template (Word doc). Employers who are mandated to submit a plan can go to: https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/protective-plans/ for detailed information on where to submit their plans. Instructions on developing a COVID-19 safety plan can also be found at this link.
Consultation Visits — Employers who are interested in having a consultant come to their establishment and consult on workplace safety hazards have the opportunity to seek guidance regarding COVID-19 workplace protocols through C&T. Consultation visits are free to the employer and confidential. To request a visit, complete the Request for Service form located at: https://labor.alaska.gov/lss/forms/consultation_training_form.pdf
Training — Throughout the pandemic, various employers have contacted Consultation asking for training on appropriate worker safety protocol. Consultation provides free training to employers in person, as well as via various forms of virtual platforms. Additionally, to practice use of social distancing methods, in-person training is offered to small groups of ten or less, including the trainer. Interested employers can call (907) 269-4935 to schedule an appointment.
General COVID-19 Guidance on Recordkeeping — AKOSH Consultants are available to answer calls and questions regarding recording and reporting COVID-19 cases to AKOSH. For clarification on when a COVID-19 case is recordable or reportable, go to: https://labor.alaska.gov/lss/training/OSHA_Recording_Reporting_COVID-19.pdf
Webpage Resources — The AKOSH webpage has myriad of links to COVID-19 information to assist employers as they navigate their way through the changing workplace climate. Resources such as training videos, request for services, CDC recommendations, Federal and State COVID-19 information, and much more can be found at: https://labor.alaska.gov/lss/oshhome.htm. For current State of Alaska Health and Social Services COVID-19 information, go to: https://covid19.alaska.gov/
Worker Retaliation — There is protection for employees who report an employer who fails to provide a safe work environment. Employees who make a safety or health complaint ARE protected from employee retaliation. AKOSH investigates complaints and pursues for appropriate corrective action. An employee who has experienced employer retaliation can file a complaint to AKOSH Discrimination by calling (800) 770-4940 or (907) 269-4940. It is important to note a complaint must be filed within 30 days of the adverse action.
Employers can contact the Chief of Consultation and Training to discuss which services are best suited for their establishment at: Elaine.Banda@alaska.gov or call (907) 269-4944.