From the TRSA webinars and Roundtable discussions of the contemplated ETS requiring employers of 100 or more to ensure employees are vaccinated or frequently being tested for COVID-19.
OSHA’s webpage on the ETS, including the full regulatory text, fact sheets, reporting requirements for employers and employees, templates for your company policies
From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): options for vaccinating employees, building their confidence, incentives and benefits, best practices, onsite and offsite vaccination, temporary employees and contractors, adverse event reporting, how to require and exempt
Fact sheets, graphics, video resources, web widgets, easy-to-read print material
Minimizing effects of post-vaccination signs and symptoms on the workplace and employees, assessing and responding to their signs and symptoms
Research recommendations from the Institute for Public Relations for vaccine-related messaging, with an emphasis on understanding vaccine hesitancy.
More guidance on vaccine-related messaging from the National Institutes of Health.
Information on the CDC’s efforts to build trust, empower health care personnel and engage communities for vaccine acceptance.
From the Society for Human Resources Management
From McKinsey & Company
A NAM campaign encouraging teams to commit publicly to mask wearing, social distancing and vaccination, setting positive examples for communities and workplaces.
The latest data on the distribution and administration of vaccines across U.S. states, territories and federal entities, providing a snapshot of national vaccine acceptance.
Currently eligible populations by age, occupation, industry
A CDC one-stop resource on the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19, featuring insights from the nation’s most recognized public health authority.
Availability, effectiveness, safety, side effects, impact on variants
Ways to look for vaccination providers near you in the United States, how to handle appointment scheduling, planning to get vaccinated
Answers from Johns Hopkins Medicine experts on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, addressing common concerns and misconceptions.
Ask any question of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) about vaccines
A social media hashtag allowing you to post your vaccination photo, setting an example for your followers as you roll up your sleeve to fight COVID-19.
The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the Internal Revenue Service: updates on credits for paid leave for vaccines, employee retention, and sick/family leave.
TRSA Statement on Industry’s COVID-19 Preparedness (Members Only)
Connecting With Customers in Times of Crisis, McKinsey & Company, April 2020
Hygienically Clean Healthcare Certification
TRSA Healthcare Resources
Joint Statement: Roadmap for Resuming Elective Surgery after COVID-19 Pandemic: for forecasting when hospitals may restart these surgeries after ceasing them
Hygienically Clean Hospitality Certification
TRSA Hospitality/Hotel Resources
American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) SafeStay Cleaning Standards
World Health Organization (WHO) Operational Considerations
TRSA Issues Hospitality Safety Guidance to Governors
Healthcare workers who handle soiled linen every day are tempted to dispose linen saturated with blood or other potentially infectious materials including COVID-19. This 13-minute training video is to provides an overview of the best practices to prevent injury and reduce the spread of infections in handling such materials. Workers and patients will benefit. The six steps (Cover, Collect, Contain, Consolidate, Clean, Cooperate) support improved patient care and promote a safety culture in healthcare facilities.
Provides route associates, soil sorters, loaders and other affected personnel with a step-by-step process for applying Universal Precautions to prevent the spread of infections through safe handling of healthcare textiles throughout processing and delivery.
Employees are stressed by the impacts of the pandemic, personally or professionally, from being isolated, feeling anxious from venturing into the workplace and other reasons. Regardless of the source, employers can address your employees’ anxieties to ensure they feel supported and safe.
In this webinar, you will:
Procedures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for protecting employees and controlling the spread in workplaces.
Illustrated personal practices to control the spread of the virus and stay safe. Posters and blogs from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Department of Human Health and Services (HHS).
Use Masks to Slow the Spread
When You Are Sick (English) | When You Are Sick (Spanish)
How to Protect Yourself and Others (English) | How to Protect Yourself and Others (Spanish)
Recommendations for People with COVID-19 and COVID-19 Close Contacts (English)
COVID-19 Quarantine vs. Isolation (Spanish)
Know the Symptoms (English) | Know the Symptoms (Spanish)
Stop the Spread of Germs (English) | Stop the Spread of Germs (Spanish)
Wash Your Hands the Right Way
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
Exhaled respiratory droplets landed on surfaces (such as textiles) are largely unproven as a COVID-19 contagion source. Research has focused greatly on variations in the path droplets follow from the breath of an infected person to be directly ingested. Scientists agree the virus’ viability on surfaces is likely limited and it appears difficult to transfer from these to human hands, so these possibilities are not being extensively studied. But they remain possibilities, necessitating vigilance to handwashing and not touching your face.
In a study published in 2021, U.K. researchers found that a model coronavirus for COVID-19 survived on 100% polyester fabric for up to 72 hours. On 100% cotton, the virus lasted for 24 hours, while on polycotton, only six hours. The researchers, from De Montfort University, Leicester, concluded that if nurses and healthcare workers take their uniforms home, they could leave traces of the virus on other surfaces. The study also looked at the most reliable wash method for removing the virus from 100% cotton fabric. Water was enough to remove the virus in all of the washing machines tested when it was added in droplets but not when scientists soiled the fabric with an artificial saliva containing the virus. In these cases, detergent and water temperature of 40°C (104°F) or above eliminated the virus. Using temperature alone, 67°C (153°F) was required.
Standard hygienically clean laundering processes kill the COVID-19 virus, preventing it from infecting you or others. When dealing with hard surfaces, a simple disinfectant should suffice-the EPA has posted a list of cleaners that should be effective at sanitizing surfaces after exposure to COVID-19. While the CDC doesn’t specifically outline any changes to your typical laundry routine, they do provide a list of best practices when doing laundry for someone who’s ill:
TRSA does NOT advocate for the incineration of linens. TRSA recommends following CDC and OSHA guidelines for the handling of COVID-19 linens. The directive is to follow Standard and Universal Precautions. Please refer to our video, Six Cs of Handling Soiled Linen in a Healthcare Environment, for guidance on handling soiled healthcare linen. We are closely following updates from the CDC, WHO and others. If this changes, we will certainly provide an update.
Most often people catch COVID-19 by inhaling exhaled droplets from someone who has the virus. These droplets from the nose or mouth can become airborne when a person with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks (exhales). Droplets cause infection when they are inhaled by someone else or are propelled directly to this receiver’s mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth. Less often, droplets land on objects and surfaces around someone else and this person touches these objects or surfaces, then touches their eyes, nose or mouth, and inhale droplets. This reinforces the need to follow OSHA’s requirement for handling contaminated textiles and fabrics with minimum agitation to avoid contamination of air, surfaces, and persons (36, 293, 355, 356). Category IC (OSHA: 29 CFR 1910.1030 § d.4.iv).
Treat all linens as contaminated with the COVID-19 virus. Use standard PPE (gloves and gowns, and bag linen) to protect employees. These linens do not have to be washed separately. According to OSHA standards, normal laundry cycles should be used according to washer and detergent manufacturer recommendations.
For the laundry industry, CDC hasn’t recommended changes in normal laundry handling and processing of textiles. Appropriate time, temperature, chemical and mechanical action will kill the virus. CDC also hasn’t recommended changes in textile handling regarding employee exposure risk in sorting. Viruses usually do not live outside a live host for long periods, especially on porous surfaces like textiles, limiting the potential exposure risk to laundry personnel who will be handling the laundry hours or days after use.
Linen providers who support the healthcare market handle potentially infections materials daily. It’s always been understood that every piece of soiled linen be treated as if it were potentially infectious. In serving other markets, similar precautions like those implemented for the healthcare market are suggested. Also vital to infection control are standard transmission-based precautions (proper hand hygiene, PPE, handle textile and laundry carefully, clean and disinfect environment surfaces, etc.).
Existing OSHA regulations specify that any linen saturated with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) should be placed in impermeable bags. Learn more about what OSHA says about handling contaminated healthcare linen here.
Catalina Dongo, Director of Human Resources for UniFirst Corporation, offers this advice:
“Essentially, we have relaxed our attendance policy so that no absences related to COVID-19 will be counted against the employee. We give employees the option in regard to pay replacement. They are able to select from their PTO banks such sick pay or vacation pay, or unpaid leave if none available or if they prefer.
We work with our managers to implement flexible schedules. Meaning, some employees may not be able to come to work during the day because of school closures. However, they may be able to come in in the evening. Some managers implement second and third shifts in order to get the work done. Other employees have been willing to pick up extra hours, which also helps. We may have employees who experience reduced workloads due to customer closures. For example, sales reps. These employees should be invited to help in areas where we are experiencing high absenteeism.”
You should send home all employees who worked closely with an infected employee to ensure the infection does not spread. Before the infected employee departs, ask them to identify all individuals who worked in close proximity (within six feet) for a prolonged period of time (more than a few minutes) with them in the previous 14 days to ensure you have a full list of those who should be sent home. When sending the employees home, do not identify by name the infected employee or you could risk a violation of confidentiality laws. If you work in a shared office building or area, you should inform building management so they can take whatever precautions they deem necessary. The CDC provides that the employees who worked closely to the infected worker “should then self-monitor for symptoms (i.e., fever, cough, or shortness of breath).”
How long should the employees who worked near the employee stay at home? Those employees should first consult and follow the advice of their healthcare providers or public health department regarding the length of time to stay at home. If those resources are not available, the employee should at least remain at home for three days without a fever (achieved without medication) if they don’t develop any other symptoms. If they develop symptoms, they should remain home for at least seven days from the initial onset of the symptoms, and three days without a fever (achieved without medication).
The CDC also provides the following recommendations for most non-healthcare businesses that have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases:
If employers are using cleaners other than household cleaners with more frequency than an employee would use at home, employers must also ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace and maintain a written program in accordance with OSHA’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). Simply download the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and share with employees as needed, and make sure the cleaners used are on your list of workplace chemicals used as part of the Hazard Communication Program (which almost all employers maintain).
Take the same precautions as noted in Question #15.
Treat the situation as if the suspected case is a confirmed case for purposes of sending home potentially infected employees. Communicate with your affected workers to let them know that the employee has not tested positive for the virus but has been exhibiting symptoms that lead you to believe a positive diagnosis is possible.
No, you do not have to quarantine the entire plant. Consult the CDC guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities.
Operators on our Healthcare Market Sector Call suggested:
The CDC recommends 6 feet for social distancing as that is past how far most respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes travel in the air, typically spreading from 3 feet to 5 feet. Newer research determined that infection can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours and travel further, reaching people who are further than 6 feet from an infected person who is infected or after that person has left the space. In these cases, transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation and sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, while singing or exercising, for example. Available data indicate that it is much more common for the virus that causes COVID-19 to spread through close contact with a person who has COVID-19 than through such airborne transmission.
See links below for documents the TRSA Human Resources Committee received from professionals at UniFirst as well as talking points from the law firm Fisher & Phillips LLC. Stay current by visiting TRSA’s On Demand Learning center under COVID-19 and the Education and Training section of this page.
Employee Health and Temperature Screening Template
UniFirst Daily Team Partner Screening
UniFirst Coronavirus Self-Screening
UniFirst HR COVID-19 Presumptive or Positive Case Intake
Fisher & Phillips LLC Taking Employees’ Temperatures
All Hygienically Clean Certified Facilities MUST follow the transportation guidelines for their specific segments. You may find these recommendations on the HygienicallyClean.org under the market-specific certifications standards.
Below is the recommendation for Healthcare under section 126.96.36.199. Transportation:
Visit here for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on surface transmission in indoor environments.
According to the CDC, coronaviruses like COVID-19 can survive on surfaces anywhere from a few hours to a few days. While it’s more likely to catch COVID-19 from person to person contact and from hard surfaces that are frequently touched, like door knobs or railings, washing your laundry can help clean away COVID-19, preventing it from infecting you or others.
Consult these organizations’ sites for alerts related to COVID-19.
Guidance from U.S. federal and state authorities regarding the Spring 2022 spread of this disease with references to potential impacts on laundry
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
See section on handwashing
California Department of Health
See section on prevention