Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685

Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685

Effective January 1, 2021, California has imposed a new requirement on employers regarding COVID-19 cases in the workplace. This new law (AB-685) adds new employer notification requirements and gives Cal-OSHA expansive authority to close workplaces based on the threat of COVID-19.  They have started issuing citations ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for serious Covid-19-related violations. With the new statute, Cal/OSHA does not have to notify employers fifteen days before issuing the citation. 

The new law includes three key provisions:   

  • Requirement for Employee notification of COVID-19 in the workplace: Under AB 685, the requirement to notify employees who may have been exposed to an infected employee is now mandatory under new Labor Code section 6409.6.  Section 6409.6(a) requires an employer who receives notice of potential exposure to COVID-19 to notify any potentially exposed employees within one business day.   Employers are required under the new law to keep records of the written notices provided to employees for at least three years.
  • Notification of the local public health agency of outbreaks within 48 hours:  If an outbreak occurs in its workplace, an employer must notify the local public health authorities of the names and worksite of “qualifying individuals” within 48 hours.  An “outbreak” is currently defined as: “at least three probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period in people who are linked in the setting, are from different households, and are not identified as close contacts of each other in any other case investigation.” 
  • New expansive authority for Cal-OSHA to close workplaces that constitute an “imminent hazard to employees”:  AB 685 amends Labor Code section 6325 to permit Cal-OSHA to close workplaces that “constitute an imminent hazard to employees” due to COVID-19.  Some of the notice provisions that Cal-OSHA usually must comply with before making this determination have been removed so employers must be prepared to act immediately if they receive notice. 

To meet these new requirements, public and private employers will need to rely on purpose-built technology to automates as much of the employee health status insights, contact tracing, and notification workflows as possible.  That is exactly what ReturnSafe does! 

We provide a comprehensive set of services to enable you to create a healthier workplace.  We have one data set supporting all the services to enable swift and effective action.

This table outlines how our solution simplifies compliance with AB 685. 

ReturnSafe Capability How it works Value to your  business
Daily health screening Mobile app or web app with a daily screening survey based upon CDC guidelines with the ability to customize screening questions for a location or industry-specific need. The survey screens for symptoms, exposure, travel, testing and vaccine status and provides an employee with a “green” building access pass or a “red” stay at home recommendation.   Ensures only employees who meet the “come to work” criteria are at the workplace.  HR gets a centralized dashboard of everyone’s status. 
Testing Status Notification If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, they can use the app to notify HR to trigger the contact tracing process.  No delay in positive case notification 
Vaccine Management Track the vaccination status of employees  Know the immunity status of employees 
Contact Logging During the workday, employee contacts can be logged using both an in-app logbook and automated tracking via Bluetooth wearables.  A pre-populated list of contacts is created on an ongoing basis and is immediately available if someone tests positive or has been exposed to COVID-19.  Employee exposure notifications can begin in minutes of the positive case notification.   
Case Manager A centralized case manager dashboard with isolation and quarantine workflows and notification management.   No delays or dropped balls and data is retained in one place for compliance reporting requirements.  

What happens when you don’t comply?

Cal/OSHA can issue an Order Prohibiting Use (OPU) for the closure of an entire worksite or some portion of it that exposes employees and subcontractors to an imminent hazard related to Covid-19.

In addition, they have started issuing citations ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for serious Covid-19-related violations. With the new statute, Cal/OSHA does not have to notify employers fifteen days before issuing the citation according to the California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 336(c)(1).

Get started with our solution in under 10 minutes via our free trial or meet with us to learn more.

References
California Legislative Information on AB 685
California Employment Law Report

 

ReturnSafe Raises $3.25M to Accelerate Adoption of New Workplace Safety and Infectious Disease Management Solution

ReturnSafe Raises $3.25M to Accelerate Adoption of New Workplace Safety and Infectious Disease Management Solution

World’s first infectious disease management platform for employers helps businesses, universities, healthcare facilities, and sports and entertainment venues reopen and stay open. 

AUSTIN, TEXAS  — December 22, 2020 — ReturnSafe, the company establishing new standards and tools for managing safety, health, and well-being in the workplace, today announced $3.25M in funding led by Fifty Years and Active Capital with additional investments from Necessary Ventures. This additional funding follows a rapid period of growth where the company achieved six-figure monthly recurring revenue and onboarded more than 50 organizations in the first six months of operation.  

ReturnSafe’s solution protects tens of thousands of people spanning across health and senior care organizations, educational institutions, sports and entertainment event venues, non-profits, hospitality businesses, manufacturing facilities, professional services, real estate and construction firms, and more from around the globe.

“COVID-19 upended our world and forced the closure of workplaces, schools, and universities. Efforts to mitigate the devastating toll of the pandemic have created additional challenges such as a spike in unemployment and worse educational outcomes,” said Seth Bannon, founder of Fifty Years. “ReturnSafe allows us to fire up our economic, education, and entertainment engines while keeping everyone safe. From Sesame Street to the San Antonio Spurs to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — world-class organizations are relying on ReturnSafe to bring people back to work safely. ReturnSafe is not only helping companies keep their employees safe from COVID-19, it is setting new standards to prevent future disease outbreaks in the workplace.”

“We’ve been impressed by ReturnSafe’s agility in responding to the challenges of reopening physical spaces. Their speed and expertise are meeting the legal and logistical complexities involved here,” said Neil Devani, founder of Necessary Ventures. “Almost every organization will need a reopening plan. Many believe these issues will subside when COVID-19 subsides. We expect the opposite. ReturnSafe’s focus on prevention will also help avoid backslides to the reactive stances that have been so devastating for so many.”

How it Works
ReturnSafe’s infectious disease management platform has established a new paradigm for safety, health, and well-being by offering organizations an integrated solution that prevents and slows the spread of infectious diseases. Included are:

  • A daily symptoms screening app that documents regulatory compliance and enables real-time risk management based on guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and tailored to company-specific HR policies.
  • A testing dashboard provides rapid notifications of positive test results, a requirement for mitigating contagion in fast-moving environments, especially important when lab responses are slow.
  • High-resolution contact-tracing leveraging wearable devices with built-in social distancing alarms, one of the most needed solutions in active environments.
  • Case manager dashboard with workflows for employee isolation and quarantine management.
  • Vaccine management for employers to oversee workplace immunity without compromising on employee safety and privacy, the most recent addition to the platform.

The Team
“We started ReturnSafe for two main reasons – to keep employees safe and healthy and to ensure business continuity by minimizing disruption in the workplace due to the risk of a disease outbreak. COVID-19 has created massive human resources challenges, and while our initial objective is to slow the spread of COVID-19, we recognize a greater need to help employers manage all forms of infectious disease,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, founder and chief executive officer at ReturnSafe. “To reduce liabilities and keep employees safe, companies must adopt new preventative measures and technologies. With this new funding, we will scale our efforts for infectious disease management with new proactive and reactive capabilities like our vaccine and immunity management.”

The founding team, which consists of doctors and medical professionals, public health experts, and technology leaders, has built multiple hundred-million-dollar enterprise software and health-tech companies, deployed enterprise software solutions in more than 100 countries globally, and experienced numerous prior exits valued at greater than $300 million.

About Fifty Years
Fifty Years is a San Francisco based seed fund that backs entrepreneurs solving the world’s biggest problems with technology. The Fifty Years team consists of former founders supporting founders using business as a force for good. They’ve seeded many technology startups shaping the world for the better — companies like Memphis Meats, Solugen, Substack, and NURX. For more information, visit www.fiftyyears.com.

About Active Capital:
Active Capital is a venture firm designed to lead seed rounds for B2B SaaS companies outside
of Silicon Valley. The firm is founded and run by former B2B SaaS founders with hands-on
experience starting, building, and scaling high growth businesses in underdog cities across America. Active Capital is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and invests in B2B SaaS companies all over. To learn more, please visit https://www.activecapital.com.
About Necessary Ventures
Necessary Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm investing in companies solving the world’s hardest problems. Our portfolio includes companies like Farmer’s Business Network, Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Talkspace, and Vicarious Surgical. We help companies scale rapidly using mission-based narratives to drive tangible, business outcomes. For more information, please visit: www.necessary.vc.
Other references:
3 Return to Work Plans From Industry Leaders

3 Return to Work Plans From Industry Leaders

These businesses have published their extensive coronavirus health & safety protocols

With the world reopening and some semblance of ‘normalcy’ starting to return, companies of all shapes and sizes are beginning to come up with what their ‘return to work’ plan will be. These plans need to be instituted to not only ensure that their facilities, factories and store fronts meet new local, regional and national health and safety standards, but they also need to calm fears amongst their workforce, customer base, vendors and visitors in order to get things up and running again. We rounded up three leaders in the fields of: automotive, hospitality and food processing who have published detailed plans for their new health and safety protocols in the coronavirus world.

The Automotive Coronavirus Return to Work Playbook

tesla return to work plan

Tesla released something called their “Return to Work Playbook” where they outline everything from facilities improvements, employee training, screening, social distancing, and new overall processes for daily life at their California plants. The playbook begins by outlining a set of “readiness checks” for all facilities, including: verifying all indoor and outdoor areas that people may come into contact with have been cleaned and sanitized, checking that air filters are in proper working order, assuring that social distancing is made possible by reduced occupancy across tight areas and enclosed spaces, and generally guaranteeing that all onsite precautions have been made. Next, the playbook goes on to detail about how the workforce will be trained on the new processes in place to best maintain a healthy and safe work environment, including another readiness checklist. Finally, the document moves onto how the team will control access to the campus in order to ensure the maintenance of all other protocols, including: temperature screening, employee self-checks, and a list of processes to go through if someone does test positive for COVID-19.  

How Hotels Will Return to Welcoming Guests

four seasons hospitality return to work plan

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts recently announced a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine International called, Lead With Care. This partnership will provide the guidelines for their reopening across the international brand. Johns Hopkins experts will be validating new Four Seasons health and safety protocols and will provide ongoing guidance as they are implemented. “Along with already-commonplace measures such as more sanitizers, masks and heightened cleaning and hygiene, our collaboration with Johns Hopkins equips our property teams with access to leading international experts and real-time COVID-19 information, enhancing our tools and training to deliver an experience grounded in safety and trust,” says Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The program has two phases: “Review & Validation” and “Ongoing Guidance.” First, they are completing a thorough review of all existing practices at each property and will implement new practices as necessary. Some of these new practices include: installing a “Hygiene Officer” at each hotel, increasing the frequency with which areas are disinfected, and equipping each guest room with a “Lead With Care Kit”, which offers face masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Moreover, according to their initial press release regarding the program, “the ongoing collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine International team [will include] direct access to curated critical updates, relevant COVID-19 research outcomes, and expert advice to ensure real-time adjustments to operating procedures.”

Essential Businesses Remain Proactive While Returning to Work

factory industrial processes return to work coronavirus

Many of the Cargill facilities were deemed essential due to being food processing and industrial platns so their employees and partners haven’t missed a beat since the beginning of the pandemic. And now as we all move into this new phase of the crisis, they have also been working on a set of standards that will be in place going forward to best protect their workforce, customers and partners from airborne diseases. According to a recent statement on the safety of their North American meat processing facilities, “In partnership with the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, OSHA and other national and local health officials, we are proactively putting into place the latest available safety protocols appropriate for the contexts in which we operate.” Some of the new measures they are taking include: implementing a screening survey for anyone entering a plant, temperature screening each day, limiting all unnecessary visitors, increasing the already high level of daily sanitation, installing protective barriers on the production floor and providing appropriate PPE for employees. Beyond the in-plant process updates, they have also put together a set of community-focused guidelines, such as: providing buses that are retrofitted with protective barriers between seats to alleviate the need for carpooling in a safe, sanitary way and a long term focus on building awareness of social distancing best practices inside and outside of work for everyone in their ecosystem. 

Is your business currently working on a ‘return to work’ plan or are you looking for a contact tracing app? If so, we can help you automate the implementation process and advise on how to create a best in class holistic solution so you can hit the ground running in a safe and secure way going forward. We deliver automation, accountability and compliance for businesses reopening after the coronavirus shutdowns. Book a demo with us to find out how we do that! Learn how it works.

ReturnSafe Joins ADP Marketplace to help protect businesses from COVID-19 outbreaks.

ReturnSafe Joins ADP Marketplace to help protect businesses from COVID-19 outbreaks.

ReturnSafe is now a Referral Partner on ADP Marketplace to help businesses prevent and rapidly respond to COVID-19 outbreaks to help keep employees safe and maintain business continuity.

ADP-marketplace-badge

ReturnSafe is the leading BioSecurity company offering COVID-19 screening, testing and contact tracing solutions providing HR and Risk Managers with tools to comply with local, state and federal safety guidelines.  

As a Referral Partner, ReturnSafe is now available on ADP Marketplace, a digital HR storefront offering ADP® clients a curated set of partners that complement and extend the value of their ADP products.

With ReturnSafe, ADP clients can leverage their existing investments in ADP Payroll and Workforce Management solutions to seamlessly and securely configure their organizational structure in ReturnSafe and maintain an up-to-date view as employees are hired, leave or change departments. 

“COVID-19 has established the need for every industry to address Return-to-Work safe protocols.  By offering our solution on ADP Marketplace, we made it simple for our mutual clients to setup and configure their org structure within ReturnSafe, eliminating manual employee data maintenance at initial setup and over time.  Our joint solution provides employees and HR with the tools to ensure their workplace stays safe and that they can quickly respond to keep it that way,” says Tarun Nimmagadda, CEO of ReturnSafe. 

ReturnSafe can help businesses comply with local, state and federal mandates and lower the risk of an outbreak in the workplace.

  • Be in compliance with COVID-19 regulatory requirements and CDC Guidelines for each location with customizable digital screening and policies and procedures.  
  • Lower risk of infectious disease spread in the workplace by implementing a proactive and scalable program using digital screening, testing and contact tracing to prevent and rapidly respond to outbreaks.
  • Make daily health screening quick and easy for employees, decreasing the hassle factor and ensuring the organization stays in compliance. 

Hassle-Free Employees screening in seconds:

Daily screening reminders make it easy for employees to check-in before reporting to work.  Employees record their symptoms in a daily survey and receive a recommendation on whether they should go to work or stay home. The process takes about 5 seconds per day.

At work, social distancing alerts notify employees if they come within 6 feet of a coworker for longer than a minute to provide a gentle reminder.  

HR has the tools to reinforce team compliance and rapidly respond.

The ReturnSafe HR Portal allows organizations to set return to work policies and configure the employee daily survey by location to ensure compliance with changing local guidelines and mandates.

HR can monitor which employees are completing the screening, who is coming into the office, who is working from home, and access a log of COVID-19 exposures when contact tracing is necessary.  Managers can also get a view of their department status as needed. 

ReturnSafe can help keep employees safe and maintain business continuity. Book a demo to see how it works.

Check out our other ReturnSafe integrations. Learn how it works.

The Betsy Hotel Addresses COVID-19 Mandates

The Betsy Hotel Addresses COVID-19 Mandates

Employee daily screening and contact tracing technology key to reopening.

We recently spoke with our customer, Malvin Ortiz-Aponte, the Director of Human Resources at The Betsy Hotel to discuss the role of ReturnSafe contact tracing and screening in maintaining workplace safety and business continuity in the face of COVID-19 mandates. 

malvin-ortiz-aponte

 

 

Malvin Ortiz-Aponte
Director of HR
The Betsy Hotel

“I really like the ease of use of the app for our employees, and HR can quickly see across our organization to monitor exposures and hot spots for rapid incident response.  Without the automation for screening and contact tracing, we would have to test everyone if someone became positive and risk having to shut down to abide by the Miami Beach Reopening Orders and Emergency Measures.”

Miami Beach Mandates

Miami Beach has specific Reopening Orders and Emergency Measures for restaurants and hotels to open for business.   You are allowed to open if you implement employee symptom screening, observe social distancing, wear masks, and have every employee and vendor tested monthly.  If someone tests positive, an employee or a vendor, you have to shut down the affected area, or the entire operation, depending upon the location of the exposure and the general vicinity where that person works.  In order to reopen, you would need to do a thorough cleaning and then you have the option to remain closed for 10 days or incur the discomfort and expense of testing everybody again.

We wanted a solution that would help us keep our community safe and maintain continuous operation without having to test everyone all the time.  We evaluated the options and decided that we needed a software solution for employee screening and contact tracing for rapid response and containment.   

Solution Search

Once we decided that we needed daily screening and contact tracing software, I began a Google search to look around at alternatives.  I looked at a solution from the local hotel association, but it was too expensive.  I continued my search via Google and found ReturnSafe. 

Why we chose ReturnSafe screening and contact tracing

The ReturnSafe team was very responsive; I requested a meeting and was able to schedule it immediately.  I really liked the ease of use of the app.  Employees can check-in and perform their daily symptom survey before reporting to work.   Vendors can check in at Security prior to entering the facility. We can set the policies and recommendations to come to work or stay home based upon local, state and federal guidelines.  The entire screening process takes about 5 seconds per day for our employees. 

It has social distancing and the tracking automation that will allow us to comply with the Miami Beach Mandate.  Without it we would have to continue to rely upon employee adherence by good faith.  ReturnSafe allows HR to monitor which employees are completing the screening (and who is not), who is coming in or staying home.   It will allow us to quickly gain insights across our organization and monitor hot spots and exposures for rapid incident response.  And, with ReturnSafe being  ADPmarketplace solution partner,  the decision was an easy one. 

I really like the background of the company, it started from a nonprofit and is now a Public Benefit B Corp.  They started the company not for profit but to help people.  That was very attractive to me.   But, to be honest, I liked that we could get digital screening, contact tracing and testing all from one organization, and the pricing was also a big motivator for buying ReturnSafe. 

Screening Process without ReturnSafe

Without ReturnSafe, employees have to check-in at the security office and get their temperature taken and answer a few health screening questions and are then told to stay at work or return home.   For managers to know who is coming to work and who isn’t, they had to go down to the security office or call them to get the information.  

With the app, employees can do the health screening from home and receive their work status recommendation immediately and managers can see the status of their team from their desks.  With the automation, we don’t have to staff a person at the security desk, we free up managers’ time and employees know their status prior to commuting to work. 

Without these precautionary steps and without the automated contact tracing we would have to test everyone if someone became positive or risk having to shut down to abide by Miami Beach Mandates for Operation.

The ReturnSafe solution is available on the ADP Marketplace. Learn how it works here. See additional customers here.