ReturnSafe Return to Work Newsletter – January 20, 2020

ReturnSafe Return to Work Newsletter – January 20, 2020

As you return to physical workspaces, are you confident in your employee safety program? Does it need to evolve as the new strains and vaccines arrive? Can you make vaccines a requirement? Our resources can help you stay ahead of COVID-19 in 2021 

covid vaccines

Vaccine Program Management Resources for Employers

We curated resources to help you create a COVID-19 vaccine program.
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contact tracing guide

Evaluation Guide for Contact Tracing in the Workplace

Having the right tools to quickly identify positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts reduces transmission and prevents shutdowns. Find out which contact tracing solution is best fit for your organization.
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comply with AB 685

Easily Comply with Cal/OSHA AB 685

Effective January 1, per AB-685, Cal/OSHA can issue orders for the closure of workplaces based on the threat of COVID-19. Keep your doors open with tools to make compliance easy. 
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Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization?
Book a demo with someone on our team to try our tools!

Evaluation Guide for Contact Tracing in the Workplace

Evaluation Guide for Contact Tracing in the Workplace

The objective of this piece is to help employers and administrators find a solution that’s right for their organization. We’ve done the research to help you evaluate the leading contact tracing devices. 

Why do you need contact tracing software?

Businesses are faced with an unprecedented level of responsibility when it comes to employee safety and well-being due to COVID-19. Contact tracing is the process of identifying, monitoring, and supporting individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Contact tracing is often done manually, but is most effective when partnered with technology. Technology ensures the highest level of accuracy and fastest response to a positive test result. 

Having the right tools to quickly identify close contacts stops forward transmission and prevents shutdowns. Minimizing tracing and testing delays are imperative for practical contact tracing in the workplace. This requires a combination of manual and automatic contact tracing software and hardware. When you start contact tracing the day that a positive test result is identified you can decrease forward transmission by 80%.  

rapid response to covid case

Reference: Impact of delays on effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: a modeling study

How does contact tracing help stop the spread of COVID-19?

Once an administrator identifies that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19, their case needs to be managed. Case Management is utilizing contact tracing data to inform Level 1 and 2 contacts of potential exposure and providing quarantine instructions. Level 1 contacts are people that have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Level 2 contacts are people who have been in close contact with level 1 contacts. 

Employees who tested positive for COVID-19 should receive instructions to isolate. These instructions should be informed by organization, state, and local guidelines. Companies should also advise contacts to quarantine and/or get tested. 

How does contact tracing work? 

The first step to prevent transmission is identifying who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. A successful workplace contact tracing solution should allow administrators to:

  • Monitor employees health status and take action when needed
  • See who has been tested for COVID-19 and their results
  • Ensure users are regularly reporting into the symptom checker app to stay ahead of outbreaks

digital automatic and manual contact tracing

Contact tracing is only effective if you are logging each interaction that could be a potential exposure event. There are many different types of digital contact tracing, from manual to automated with hardware wearables. All these contact tracing tools should be easily managed via the administrators digital platform. 

Bluetooth peer to peer, bluetooth triangulation, and bluetooth phone tracking are automated contact tracing methods. They are constantly tracking who is coming into contact with whom throughout the day. Automated contact tracing methods lessens the burden to maintain a record of these interactions. However, there is also the option for employees to manually log contacts via the digital logbook app in our app. 

By implementing a digital process, the need for staff to manage the contact tracing process is reduced, while increasing accuracy. 

Compare the Contact Tracing Methods 

Each method has its strengths, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when integrated effectively. 

digital contact tracing methods

All four contact tracing tools ensure your team is safe and healthy. A holistic approach empowers your team to be confident that they are protected when they come to work. 

Automated Contact Tracing

Bluetooth peer to peer, bluetooth triangulation, and bluetooth phone tracking all automated contact tracing tools. These tools track who employees are coming into contact with while on premises throughout the day. These processes are secure, private, and automated. Compliance with contact tracing is extremely high with our customers because we integrate hardware technology with an easy to use app. 

To enable automatic contact tracing in the workplace, your solution should integrate best of breed bluetooth wearables. These operate via either peer to peer or bluetooth triangulation tracking. Our wearables are available as badges, cards, lanyard tags, or clip-ons. 

Bluetooth Hardware Types and Features 

bluetooth hardware

Manual Contact Logging 

Finally, our fourth method of contact tracing is the digital log book in the employee facing app. In a log book employees can mark who they met with and for how long each day. These manually logged interactions will be pulled into the contact tracing sequence if a positive case is found in your workplace. 

Which contact tracing method should I use?

The method to use depends on: the use case, the type of workplace, accuracy, reliability, and cost.

Use Case

Some of the use cases to consider are:

Do my employees have personal smartphones or employer-supplied smartphones?
With personal smartphones, the employee will likely be unwilling to use the smartphone app based approach for contact tracing.

Do I need a solution for both employees and contractors?
Bluetooth hardware is preferred for contractors as users can be temporarily assigned a tag that is re-assigned later.

Type of Workplace

Some workplaces are very large but have a very few entrance and exit points. In these workplaces peer-to-peer Bluetooth method is preferred over Bluetooth triangulation.

Similarly if the workplace is very large, it will require a lot of Bluetooth gateways making it cost prohibitive.

Workplaces that have special validation requirements (certain factories, clean rooms, labs) require hardware. Any hardware that has to be installed in the area has to undergo a lengthy, expensive validation process. These workplaces are not a good fit for Bluetooth triangulation.

Accuracy, Reliability

In terms of accuracy and reliability, the hardware approaches are better than a smartphone app based tracing. However the app-based tracing does not require installation and management of any new hardware. The log book approach can be very reliable if users adopt and use it consistently and require no new hardware

Cost

The log book and smartphone app approaches are cheaper than the Bluetooth hardware. There are other more expensive hardware approaches like Ultra WideBand (UWB) that are more reliable and accurate than Bluetooth.

Next Steps 

Our Sales and Customer Success team can help you choose the best solution for your situation based on the above factors.

Interested in learning more about our contact tracing software? Book a demo with our team to try our screening, contact tracing, and vaccine management tools!

 

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

 

What do the new CDC guidelines mean for employers?

What do the new CDC guidelines mean for employers?

The new CDC guidelines provide options to reduce COVD-19 quarantine in an effort to increase community compliance (1). This guidance relies on organizations integrating daily health screening and diagnostic testing with their quarantine management program. The CDC recommends a quarantine period of 14 days. The options for reducing quarantine are accepted by the CDC, however, they do carry a risk of post-quarantine transmission.

CDC Quarantine Alternative Options Recap 

The CDC has accepted two options for reduced quarantine of 7 or 10 days. Both options include the continued adoption of preventive health measures. These measures include daily health screening and wearing masks throughout the 14 day quarantine period. 

Option #1: 10 Day Quarantine

Employees can complete quarantine after 10 days without getting tested if the following criteria is met: 

They have no symptoms of COVID-19 which they monitor and report on a daily basis. 

Potential Risk

Like any alternative option that offers to shorten the quarantine period there’s a risk. Residual post-quarantine transmission risk is about 1% with an upper limit of about 10%. 

Option #2: 7 Day Quarantine

Employees can complete quarantine after 7 days if the following criteria are met:

They test negative for COVID-19 AND
They have no symptoms of COVID-19 which they monitor and report on a daily basis.

Potential Risk

This strategy has an increased level of risk. The residual post-quarantine transmission risk is estimated to be about 5% with an upper limit of about 12%.

What tools do you need for effective quarantine management? 

Employers considering changing their quarantine protocol as a result of the CDC guidance should be mindful of the risk. An effective quarantine management solution should equip administrations with tools to evaluate risk amongst their workforce. 

Employee Screening 

Whether you are choosing 7, 10, or 14 day quarantine period users should be reporting their symptoms regularly. Effective employee screening services must include a daily symptom checker where employees can report their health status even while in quarantine.

COVID-19 Test Data Management 

Administrators must have a platform where they can see the number of employees tested for COVID-19 as well as their results. 

Contact Tracing

Although not directly mentioned by the CDC, organizations are taking on the risk of post quarantine transmission. For this reason, we strongly recommend that employers establish a contact tracing plan. Administrators should be able to quickly reach out to employees who were in close contact with positive COVID-19 cases. 

Should your organization adopt the new CDC guidelines? 

For the well-being of you and the employees at your organization the CDC suggests a 14-day quarantine period. However, if your organization must shorten quarantine then this guidance should be followed according to the CDC’s criteria. Employers must have the tools to sustain daily symptom checks and diagnostic testing in order to be successful. We also recommend they implement a contact tracing solution to minimize the risks of adopting a shorter quarantine period. 

Book a demo with our team to try our symptom screening and contact tracing tools!

References:

Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing

ReturnSafe Return to Work Newsletter – December 21, 2020

ReturnSafe Return to Work Newsletter – December 21, 2020

The first approved COVID-19 vaccine hit the market and many are soon to follow. As 2020 comes to a close, has your organization begun to discuss a vaccine management program? Which employees have immunity and which don’t? What is the best way to manage in a mixed immunity environment? It’s time to begin these new conversations. Read our newsletter to see how we can help your organization prepare for the new year. 

covid 19 vaccine

Vaccine Management for Employers: A Guide for 2021

As the COVID-19 vaccines hit the market, what does this mean for employers? Read our blog post to find out how a vaccine management plan will help businesses stay ahead in 2021.
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Higher Education

Case Study: How Madonna University Safely Returned to Campus this Fall

We are excited to help our higher education partners keep students, faculty and staff safe while on campus. Learn why Madonna University chose our solution.
Download the Case Study


property management

Case Study: Why Pennrose Chose ReturnSafe to Protect Their Residents and Staff

Find out how we are helping Pennrose keep 400+ essential workers across 10 states healthy and safe during the pandemic.
Download the case study

Are you looking for screening, contact tracing, testing, and vaccine management tools for your organization?
Book a demo with someone on our team to try our tools!

Spurs and ReturnSafe Partner to Help Safely Reopen and Bring Teams Back to Work and to Play

Spurs and ReturnSafe Partner to Help Safely Reopen and Bring Teams Back to Work and to Play

Spurs Sports & Entertainment today announced a new partnership with ReturnSafe, a mission-driven BioSecurity company focused on workplace health safety, to help safely bring employees back to the corporate offices at the AT&T Center. 

Read the case study.

“We chose ReturnSafe because they provide a single solution to quickly respond to potential risks when speed is critical to keeping our employees, fans, and guests safe,” said Casey Heverling, Vice President and General Manager of the AT&T Center. “With more than one million employees, fans, event attendees, and staff coming through our venues every year, their health and safety has always been our top priority and is more imperative now than ever before. We are excited to be able to reopen our corporate offices and offer our staff the confidence to return to the workplace that a solution like ReturnSafe provides, and eventually bring our fans back to the sporting events and concerts they love.”

The ReturnSafe BioSecurity Platform offers organizations an end-to-end solution that slows the spread of infectious diseases by implementing critical daily screening with a symptoms diary and recommendations governed by HR policies; testing data management for quick notification of a positive test; and Bluetooth contact-tracing via smartphone and hardware wearables at the workplace including a built-in social distancing alarm. 

ReturnSafe is a purpose-built solution that is focused on reducing an organization’s risk and liability by offering a way to help screen, trace and track infectious diseases like COVID-19 in the workplace including event venues,” said Tarun Nimmagadda, Founder and CEO of ReturnSafe. “We recognize the cost to businesses not being able to operate at full or even partial capacity can be devastating and we want to help customers like the Spurs bring back their employees to a safe work environment by working directly with our partners to design a solution that works for all of their needs.” 

Spurs Sports & Entertainment has begun to roll out the ReturnSafe BioSecurity Platform to corporate employees and will introduce event health screening and contact tracing with event staff by the end of 2020 (read case study). ReturnSafe supports businesses in various industries including health and senior care organizations, educational institutions, event venues, non-profits, hospitality, manufacturing, law, real estate, financial services, and more, throughout the United States including Hawaii, Canada, and the United Kingdom. 

About Spurs Sports & Entertainment
Spurs Sports & Entertainment is the premier provider of sports and entertainment in South Texas. SS&E owns and operates the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Austin Spurs (NBA G League), San Antonio FC (USL) and also manages the day-to-day operations of the AT&T Center and Toyota Field. For more information, visit the Spurs.

About ReturnSafe

ReturnSafe is a mission-driven BioSecurity company focused on workplace health safety enabling businesses, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and others to prevent and rapidly respond to biological threats, keeping their communities safe and their doors open. ReturnSafe’s BioSecurity Platform is a human-centric solution that focuses on slowing the spread of infectious diseases by implementing critical daily screening, exposure notification, and contact tracing case management. For more information schedule a meeting and for broadcast broll, please download here.