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COVID-19 Workplace Operating Plan

July 30, 2020 - The following guidance shall be used by all Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) staff. This document will be updated as needed and as new guidance and direction is given from the State Emergency Operations Center and Governor’s Office.

Note: Please refer to the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) COVID-19 mitigation plan for specific information related to vessel and terminal operations. 

Note: Please refer to the DOT&PF Construction COVID-19 mitigation plan for specific information related to construction sites.

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  • Employee and customer safety comes first;
  • Follow and use public health and safety practices from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS); and
  • Provide essential public services to the people of Alaska.

To apply these principles, we need to implement agency requirements and consistent statewide guidelines that allow adaptability in a safe and responsible manner.  Our goal is to keep our employees and customers safe and healthy while continuing essential public services and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Employees should follow all safety and health practices and standards established by the CDC and the state. Employees will contribute to a healthy workplace, including not knowingly exposing co-workers and the public to conditions that would jeopardize their health or the health of others.

This Guide does not take the place of general health and safety requirements issued by DHSS or other authorizing sources. It is to provide guidance to safeguard our workforce and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Commissioner’s Office – The Commissioner’s office will disseminate the latest information from the Governor’s Office, Department of Administration and the Unified Command. Headquarters and Regional Directors and Managers should not distribute alternative guidance without prior approval from the Commissioner’s Office.

Division Directors and Managers are responsible for ensuring their respective staff are kept apprised of information that they may not otherwise see in a timely manner; this includes employees who rarely read email or may not have immediate access to updated information.

All staff are reminded that under ADA they may not ask about employee’s diagnosis or symptoms, nor may they ask about family members.

Review the CDC guidelines at:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf.

Review OSHA/COVID rules at: 
https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/standards.html

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, office buildings, shops and maintenance stations are limiting access to business purposes only. If your workplace is locked, make sure there is appropriate signage with phone numbers (monitored) for the public to call for assistance. 

Visitor sign-in is required. Visitors must certify the following:

  1. I have not had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Contact is defined as being within 6 feet (2 meters) for more than 10 minutes with a person, or having direct contact with infectious fluids from a person with confirmed COVID-19 (for example being coughed or sneezed on).
  2. I have not had a positive-COVID test for active virus in the past 10 days.

I do not have any of the following symptoms:

Cough
Fatigue
Recent onset of loss of smell or taste
Nausea or vomiting
Fever or chills
Muscle or body aches
Sore throat
Diarrhea
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Headache
Congestion

There is a requirement for face coverings in state office buildings if social distancing cannot be accomplished. Visitors must arrive with a mask in order to gain entry. 

Sample signage:  01-DOTPF-COVID-poster-Exterior-entries-front-desk

Sample visitor log sheet: 03-DOTPF-COVID-visitor-log

Social distancing is the practice of maintaining at least 6 feet from other persons to slow the spread of COVID-19. Review Reopen Alaska Responsibly Phase 3/4 General Guidance at https://covid19.alaska.gov/reopen/.

Elevators, shared meeting facilities, break areas, etc. are limited to the number of staff that may safely enter, allowing for social distancing at all times. Capacity limits should be placed in a visible location outside elevators or entry doors.

  • Encourage frequent hand washing, a minimum of 20 seconds and dry hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear a mask when social distancing cannot be accomplished.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Follow appropriate respiratory etiquette by covering coughs and sneezes and throw used tissues in the trash immediately.
  • Avoid contact greetings, such as handshakes, high-fives, fist bumps, hugs.
  • Discourage use of other staff’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment. 
  • Limit food sharing, and clean up after yourself in break rooms. 
  • Limit meetings to 50% of the room occupancy with 6 feet social distancing.
  • Follow temporary occupancy limits posted near elevators.
  • Notify your administrative contact if your work area is running low on cleaning supplies; they will do their best to locate and procure needed supplies. Please give them advanced warning when supplies are low before you run out.

Sample signage: 02-DOTPF-COVID-poster-Handwashing

Sample signage: 06-DOTPF-COVID-poster-Elevators

Telework is an option for some types of positions in order to reduce potential spread of the virus in department facilities by reducing the number of personnel and therefore increasing spacing. Telework may also be an option for some employees in the event of illness or mandatory quarantine. Supervisors and employees are responsible for following the DOA Telecommute Policy and their Division Director’s instruction regarding situational or routine telework. This means that those positions that are able to work from home should work from home in accordance with the policy. See latest DOA Telecommute Policy. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all telework requirements are followed.

For more resources on manager and supervisor responsibilities, please view the Division of Personnel & Labor Relations website https://doa.alaska.gov/dop/.

Beware of the cleaning products your janitors use.  If they use vinegar – don’t use bleach!
The following procedures and best practices shall be implemented immediately and will remain in effect until further notice. These guidelines do not replace specific cleaning requirements developed for conducting field operations or for construction projects. Sanitization is reducing pathogens to a safe level, disinfection is killing everything on the surface. You sanitize hands and disinfect surfaces.

Cleaning Materials
Reference EPA’s List N, Disinfectants for Use against SARS-CoV-2 https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19, and EPA’s Six Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/six-steps-safe-effective-disinfectant-use.

  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, which reduces the risk of exposure.
  • Disinfection using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce risk.  Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is important.
    • When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternative disinfectants can be used (for example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions). Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfectant products together. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection up to 24 hours.

Office and Work Station

Routine Surface Cleaning

  • Clean all frequently touched surfaces in your personal or shared workspace, at a minimum, at the beginning and end of your shifts.
  • Workstations and workstation surfaces.
  • Computer keyboards and mice – DO NOT spray solutions directly on electronics!
  • Doorknobs and window handles.
  • Phones and keypads.

Common Areas

  • Cleaning common areas is everyone’s responsibility and will not be assigned to one person or position(s). Everyone must play a part; be considerate of your colleagues and ensure this happens.
  • Conference room tables and chair arms should be wiped down before and after each use. If you need to adjust the height/angle of a chair, wipe down the handle before making the adjustment. 
  • Wipe down common touch areas such as light switches, door knobs, copier/scanner buttons, microwave buttons, etc. frequently, and ensure hand sanitizer dispensers are provided in such areas.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently – especially after touching common areas.

Sample signage:  04-DOTPF-COVID-poster-Conference-rooms

Vehicle/Equipment Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures

  • All staff who operate equipment will be responsible for performing equipment cleaning and disinfecting prior to and after use of a vehicle.
  • Plan trips and work days to accommodate the additional time these procedures will take.
  • Before and after operating, use EPA List N, effective against human Coronavirus or SARS-C0V, a 2% bleach in solution, or an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol content to wipe down the following:
    • Control surfaces – including gear shifts, steering wheels, window/door controls, and all other surfaces that an operator may have touched while operating the vehicle.
    • Seats (if they are not cloth).
    • Door panels/arm rests.
    • Dashboard.
    • Seat belts.
    • Visors, and all other surfaces that may have been touched by an operator, which can easily be wiped down.
    • Special attention should be given to electronics or other surfaces which may be damaged by such cleaning products. Avoid spraying any cleaning solution directly onto electronic controls. If this occurs, the operator must immediately notify their supervisor.
    • Passengers who ride in a vehicle are responsible for cleaning all surfaces within their area of contact, as described above.
    • Cleaning of floor mats, foot pedals, and or other items not routinely touched by an operator or passengers’ bare hands is not required.
    • Do not leave trash in any vehicle.
    • Assign the same piece of equipment to the same operator when possible.

Sample signage:  05-DOTPF-COVID-poster-Vehicles

Department of Health and Social Services issued Health Alert-010 regarding wearing cloth face coverings
http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/SiteAssets/Pages/HumanCoV/SOA_04032020_HealthAlert010_ClothFaceCoverings.pdf. Wearing face coverings is required in DOT&PF buildings where six feet social distancing cannot be achieved. 

Recommendations
The following measures are from Health Alert-010 and are highly recommended:

  • Wear a cloth face covering in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Make sure the face covering covers both the nose and mouth.
  • Wash face coverings in hot, soapy water frequently.
  • Do not wear N-95 masks; these are needed by health care workers and first responders.
  • DOT&PF is reserving our stockpile of N95 respirators for required OSHA situations and for our hospitals and medical facilities if needed.
  • General construction site conditions will not warrant the use of N95 respirators, unless evidence exists for exceedance of silica exposure limits and/or total dust exposure.
  • While voluntary use of N95 respirators has been acceptable in the past, air sampling will be required this year to verify that OSHA exceedance levels on dust exposure or silica levels prior to authorizing the use of N95 respirator in the general construction environment. Use of general light duty dust masks is acceptable for the general construction environment.
  • N95 or other respirators are to be worn in the DOT&PF Material Labs and other areas where testing has been done and requires their use.  Situations with silica hazards and total dust exposure are situations where testing may determine their use.

N95 Reuse and Cleaning Instructions (for respirators used for dust and/or silica exposure):

  • N95 respirators should be reused as much as possible to conserve supplies for First Responders.
  • After use, place N95 respirator in paper bag or container with your name on it; this protects it from further contamination.
  • N95s or other respirators should not be cleaned or decontaminated by pressurized air; they should be reused until the filter is fully loaded.
  • Wash your hands after use as they can trap viruses.
  • Do not reuse if respirator is damaged.
  • Hiring managers are encouraged to conduct job interviews telephonically or via other technology platforms such as MS Teams or WebEx.
  • If interviews or job testing must be conducted in-person, follow the Social Distancing, Common Practices and Office Access sections of this document. If a job applicant is unable to participate in interviews or testing in person due to illness, they may be rescheduled when recovered or if not possible, they can choose to withdraw their application at that time.
  • If a job offer is extended and the potential appointee is unable to start work timely due to suspected/confirmed COVID-19, hiring managers may delay the start date to accommodate recovery. Appointees with confirmed COVID will be required to present a release from isolation letter from the Division of Public Health before entering the workplace. 

Staff may not travel if sick - even if illness is known not to be COVID-19 -- or if they have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

  • Staff traveling to a community off the road system will review local requirements prior to requesting travel: https://covid19.alaska.gov/unified-command/press-releases-documents/. If a community has orders more restrictive than the travel plan, consult with your supervisor and Division Director on how to proceed.
  • To protect yourself and others should transmission occur, it is advised to keep a log of where you go, when, and who you meet to assist Division of Public Health in contact tracing.  Keep this information for 4 weeks. While in a community, consider keeping your social circle small: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/bubble.aspx. See guidance in attending social gatherings at http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/PlayEveryDay/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=467.
  • For air travel, check airline pre-travel health requirements.
  • Anticipate travel needs: Pack hand sanitizer and keep in easy reach, bring a cloth face covering, and prep water and nonperishable food in case of reduced inflight service or closed restaurants and stores. For air travel, consider packing sanitizing wipes to disinfect seat, tray table and overhead vent.
  • Follow airport and airline guidelines for cloth face coverings while in airport facilities.
  • Follow Social Distancing and Common Practices sections of this document routinely.
  • If using a contractor-furnished or rental vehicle, follow Vehicle/Equipment Cleaning Procedures in this document. 
  • When using for-hire or ride-share transportation, wear a cloth face covering and sit in the back seat. Avoid rides where other passengers who are picked up do not live or work together. Ask the driver to improve vehicle ventilation if possible, by opening windows or setting air ventilation/air conditioning on fresh air mode. Do not recirculate air. 
  • Lodging in a hotel/inn with a posted COVID-19 sanitation plan is preferable. Consider wearing a cloth face covering in elevators or use stairs as an alternative if possible.
  • Get food via room service, store, take-out or eat only at a restaurant following guidance in https://covid19.alaska.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/05222020-Phase-III-IV-016-Attachment-F-Restaurants-Dine-In-Services.pdf
  • If an employee becomes sick while working in a roadless community, the site supervisor shall:
    • Isolate and return the infected personnel home as quickly as possible.
    • Notify the Project Management Team immediately upon discovering symptoms.

Leave requests which include interstate/international travel may only be approved by a supervisor if the employee has 10 work days (75/80 hours) of accrued personal/annual leave in addition to the requested amount to accommodate for an absence from duty in the event of a positive test upon return to Alaska.  For mandatory quarantine or quarantine while awaiting test results, an employee whose duties permit will be required to telework. If an employee declines to telework in that instance, they must use their own accrued leave. This is not a qualifying condition for COVID leave. For more information, see the COVID-19 Leave Policy at https://doa.alaska.gov/dop/directorsOffice/covid19/#gsc.tab=0.

Follow the guidance established in the COVID-19 Management Plan http://dot.alaska.gov/2020/docs/COVID-19-Mitigation-Response-Plan.pdf

Develop site or activity-specific plans for individual projects and activities as needed. 

Review Reopen Alaska Responsibly Large Gatherings & Community Events Guidance Document at https://covid19.alaska.gov/reopen/

  • If there are people in the workplace who are sick and/or exhibiting COVID-like symptoms - have them cover their mouth and nose with whatever they have on hand and have them leave the location immediately or isolate them until they can return to their residence.
  • Have them contact their health provider.  
  • Notify your supervisor.
  • Employees with confirmed COVID will be required to present a release from isolation letter from the Division of Public Health before returning to the workplace. 
  • Close off areas used by the sick employee but open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. 
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting; if 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Wear disposable gloves and masks for all tasks in the cleaning process including handling trash.
  • Use appropriate materials to clean and sanitize the employee’s workplace and any surfaces they may have come in contact with including offices, common areas, restrooms, and shared equipment like touchscreens, remote controls, etc. 
  • Once the area has been disinfected, it can be reopened. Staff without close contact with the sick employee can return to work immediately after disinfection.
  • If more than 7 days since the sick employee visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routine cleaning and disinfection.
  • The individual will need to complete Employee Report of Occupational Injury form and submit to the regional Safety Officer. Further instructions on additional reporting will come from them. 
  • Employees who have come into close contact (less than 6 feet for more than 10 minutes) with an individual who has tested positive for COVID should immediately get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
  • Whenever possible, employees should be allowed to work from home during quarantine.
  • If telecommuting is not possible, employees should be permitted to take leave in accordance with annual and COVID leave policies.

To ensure continuity of operations of essential functions, CDC advises that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

A potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:

  • Pre-Screen: Employees should monitor their temperature and assess symptoms prior to starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
  • Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor.
  • Wear a Mask: The employee must wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
  • Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
  • Disinfect and Clean work spaces: Disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely. Ensure routine cleaning is followed per this policy.

If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.

More information can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/critical-workers/implementing-safety-practices.html.

Messages from Commissioner MacKinnon