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LM Remains Flexible and Adaptive in Pandemic Response

Q: How is occupational health and safety currently regulated under the new conditions?

CM: Because of the pandemic, we’ve had some reduction in requirements, such as keeping employees’ training current in certain areas like the hazardous waste 8-hour refresher and radiological control certifications. These are just two examples of activities where we were allowed to push the refresher training further than the normal year.

Something that has become normal is working from home. With the majority of our workforce teleworking, we needed to help all of our employees set up their home offices in the best manner possible to provide a comfortable place to work. We sent out an ergonomic workstation self-assessment checklist, along with the link to an ergonomics video to give some modification guidelines. We also have an ergonomist on staff to answer questions from employees.

For the few employees still working at job sites, social distancing protocols were instituted into the ongoing construction projects, along with increased use of personal protective equipment and procedures to achieve social distancing. We’ve included contractual modifications to LM’s support contractor and subcontractors. Access control points were enhanced with screening protocols for health status, recent exposure, and to assess employees’ readiness for work. Cleanings and disinfecting procedures were instituted for construction offices, equipment, and vehicles, and the number of persons in a vehicle and construction equipment were restricted. Additionally, if people had to travel to a job site, local hotel facilities were checked for COVID-19 response activities, such as restriction of social activities and distancing, enhanced cleaning, and reducing lodging to one person per room.

As we return to limited operations, LM is embracing some guidelines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to bring people safely back into the workforce. Meanwhile, employees have to accept that the world has changed, and managment needs to prepare the workforce for how to safely return and social distance, as well as a myriad of other things that come with the controls necessary to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.