Covid-19-Updates

Daily Updates: COVID-19 April 10

by Enhesa 10 Apr. 2020

In this blog you will find the newest regulations that our in-house EHS Experts have documented in the last 24 hours around the globe.

 

What is Happening Around the Globe?

With measures changing globally in response to the Covid-19 virus on a daily basis, we acknowledge how difficult it is for the EHS/SHE community to stay up-to-date and on top of regulations. At Enhesa, staying on top of regulations always has been our priority. In this virus pandemic we are gearing up in order to support organizations in the best possible way. That is why we have decided to start distributing all Covid-19 related Regulatory Forecaster Service content as broadly as we possibly can within the community.

Below are the last updates on Coronavirus related developments that the Enhesa's EHS Experts have found around the globe. These updates will help you to keep track of the rapidly changing mandatory and voluntary guidance related to this crisis. Want to have these updates daily pushed to your inbox? Subscribe to the Enhesa Covid-19 newsletter here.

Should you require more guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to Enhesa.

The below Regulatory Forecaster reports have been released on Thursday 9th of April. Each day we will publish new releases. 

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UNITED STATES

FEDERAL

DOL issued a reminder that companies cannot retaliate against workers that report unsafe conditions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Abstract: Companies are reminded that it is illegal to retaliate against workers that report unsafe or unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours

Business Impact: The company is reminded that it cannot retaliate against workers that report unsafe or unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours. This reminder does not impose additional requirements on the company as workers were already protected against this type of retaliation under whistleblower protection provisions in various existing laws.

Analysis: On 8 April 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a reminder that companies cannot retaliate against employees because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Whistleblower regulations protect employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities and tax laws. Acts of retaliation can include terminations, demotions, denials of overtime or promotion, or reductions in pay or hours. More information about OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program can be found online. The OSHA news release can also be found online.blog-divider

UNITED STATES

FEDERAL

EPA denies unregistered disinfectant products from being imported into Honolulu and Guam with unverified claims to kill or repel bacteria or germs

Abstract: On 25 March 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it prevented several shipments of illegal health products from entering the United States under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Unregistered disinfectant products make unverified claims regarding their ability to kill or repel bacteria or germs and will not be allowed to be sold for use in the United States.

Business Impact: If the company manufactures, imports, distributes, or sells disinfectant products in the United States, it must follow federal pesticide laws regarding disinfectant products. Disinfectant products, including those used to kill or repel bacteria or germs related to coronavirus (COVID-19), must be registered with EPA and labeled, in English, with EPA-approved claims. Although this enforcement action does not have a direct impact on the company, it should note that EPA will deny entry and sale in the United States of any unregistered disinfectant products. 

Analysis: On 25 March 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prevented several shipments of an illegal health product from entering U.S. Pacific ports under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Under FIFRA, products claiming to kill or repel bacteria or germs must be registered with EPA before they are distributed or sold in the United States. EPA will register the product if it determines that the product does not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. Products not registered by EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs. Also, labels, including directions for use, must be in English. EPA, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), denied entry to an illegal product, which was imported from Japan and Hong Kong through U.S. ports in Honolulu and Guam. EPA and CBP will continue monitoring for products with illegal pesticidal claims. In addition, EPA has reached out to certain online retailers to remove the product from their online marketplace, and those retailers have taken this step.

More Information The notice of the shipment prevention can be found on EPA's website. EPA also has a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products on its website. Specifically, List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, deals with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. More information on EPA resources regarding COVID-19 is available on EPA's COVID-19 Website. Finally, more information on pesticides is available on EPA's Pesticide Website.

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UNITED STATES

FEDERAL

PHMSA won't temporarily bring enforcement actions against shippers and carriers of hazardous materials for the violation of the recurrent training requirements due to the outbreak of COVID-19

Abstract: As of 25 March 2020, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)will not temporarily bring enforcement actions against employers for failing to comply with the recurrent training requirements under the Hazardous Materials Regulations. This temporary halt will remain in effect until 23 June 2020.  

Business Impact: If the company prepares hazardous materials for shipment by air, highway, rail, or water, or any combination, it should note that the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) will temporarily halt bringing enforcement actions against companies that fail to comply with the recurring training requirements under the federal Hazardous Materials Regulations until 23 June 2020. However, the company must continue to comply with all other obligations under the Hazardous Materials Regulations, such as a requirement for providing initial training to its employees who prepares hazardous materials for transportation or who is responsible for the safety of transporting hazardous material.

Analysis: On 25 March 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Training Requirements that halts PHMSA's enforcement actions pursuant to the training requirements in the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR, 49 CFR Parts 171-180). The purpose of this notice is to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19 and to minimize disruptions in the supply chain for those hazardous materials (hazmat) employers. The notice will remain effective until 23 June 2020, which is 90 days from the issuance date. Background Under the HMR, the hazmat employers that prepares hazardous materials for shipment by air, highway, rail, or water, or any combination thereof must train all employees who directly affect hazardous materials transportation safety. Those employees include all person who loads, unloads, or handles hazardous materials, who prepares hazardous materials for transportation or who is responsible for safety of transporting hazardous material. The training must include: the training that provides familiarity with HMR requirements and enable the employee to recognize and identify hazardous materials consistent with the standards; function-specific training concerning requirements of the HMR that are specifically applicable to the roles the employee performs; and safety training covering, for example, emergency response, procedures to avoid accident, and measures to protect employees from hazmat hazardous in the workplace. The HMR requires employers to provide recurrent training at least once every 3 years. If the security plan for which training is required is revised, recurrent training must be provided within 90 days of the implementation of the revised plan. Notice of Enforcement Policy Regarding Training Requirements The notice only temporarily suspends PHMSA's enforcement actions that arise from the violation of the recurrent training requirements found in 49 CFR 172.704(c)(2), which requires employers to provide the refresher training at least once every 3 years. This notice does not keep PHMSA from enforcing the initial training portion of the training requirements and record keeping requirements. The company must comply with all other obligations under the HMR. The notice also encourages companies to utilize any of the virtual training methods to provide appropriate recurrent training to its hazmat employees. More Information More Information of this notice is available on PHMSA's website.blog-divider

CHINA

ZHEJIANG

Further measures adopted to control the imported cases of COVID-19

Abstract: As of 25 March 2020, companies in Zhejiang are required to keep track of employees' travel history, in order to prevent and control the imported cases of COVID-19. In the case of identifying employees who have traveled to the countries (regions) with severe epidemics, the company must report to the local community immediately.

Business Impact: The company must be aware that in Zhejiang, further measures are adopted to prevent and control the imported cases of COVID-19. As a result, the company is required to keep track of its employees' travel history. In the case of identifying employees who have traveled to the countries (regions) with severe epidemics, the company must report to the local community immediately. However, the countries (regions) with severe epidemics are not specified. Moreover, if the company has employees traveling to Zhejiang, it should be aware of the measures on natural persons such as reporting of personal information and centralized medical observation.

Analysis: On 25 March 2020, the Zhejiang Notice on Further Strengthening the Prevention and Control of Oversea Epidemic Importation (hereafter the "Notice": 浙江省关于进一步加强境外疫情输入防控工作的通告) was published. Currently, the local epidemic in Zhejiang has been contained. Citizens are gradually back to normal life and companies and facilities are resuming their operations. However, due to the worldwide pandemic, Zhejiang faces pressure on the control of the imported cases of COVID-19 from other countries. According to the Notice, persons, regardless of nationality, entering Zhejiang must:
fill in their personal information in advance through the Zhejiang Provincial Entry Information Pre-declaration Platform (浙江省入境信息预申报平台) (the QC code of the platform is provided in the Notice); if already entered Zhejiang, report their personal information to the local community;
in case of having COVID-19 symptoms when entering, accept the provided treatment;
if the person is from or visited the countries (regions) with severe epidemics in the past 14 days, cooperate with the local prevention rules on centralized transporting and 14 days of centralized medical observation; the person must pay for the fees of transport and medical observation;
if the person is not from or didn't visit the countries (regions) with severe epidemics in the past 14 days, after arrived their destination, notify the local community within 1 hour and report the local community his physical conditions (such as temperature) on a daily basis; and
obtain a "health QR code (international version)" through the methods provided in the Notice.
However, the Notice does not specify the countries (regions) with severe epidemics. Moreover, companies are required to keep track of their employees' travel history or itinerary history to ensure if they have traveled to the countries (regions) with severe epidemics. In the case of identifying its employees who have traveled to those countries (regions), the company must report to the local community immediately. The Notice is effective until the end of the epidemic.     

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CHINA

HUNAN

Special equipment inspection can be postponed, and the validity of the existing certification and permits can be extended to 3 months after the COVID-19 period

Abstract: As of 8 February 2020, companies using special equipment (including boilers, pressure vessels, pressure pipes, and elevators) can apply for a postponement of inspections on such special equipment, if it cannot inspect a special equipment regularly or on schedule due to the impact of the epidemic situation, according to the Notice on Responding to Epidemic Services and Supporting the Development of Market. In addition, the Notice regulates to extend the validity of the existing certification and permits to 3 months after the COVID-19 period.

Business Impact: If the company uses special equipment such as boilers, pressure vessels, pressure pipes, and elevators in Hunan can apply for a postponement of inspections on such special equipment, if it cannot inspect a special equipment regularly or on schedule due to the impact of the epidemic situation, according to the Notice on Responding to Epidemic Services and Supporting the Development of Market. In addition, the Notice regulates to extend the validity of the existing certification and permits to 3 months after the COVID-19 period. If the company produces special equipment such as boilers, pressure vessels, pressure pipes, and elevators, it is encouraged to adopt self-declaration commitments to exempt assessments and renew certificates. If the validity period of the license for special equipment production is less than six months, the license can be extended.

Analysis: On 8 February 2020, the Hunan Market Regulation Bureau issued the Notice on Responding to Epidemic Services and Supporting the Development of Market (关于应对疫情服务支持市场主体发展的通知) (hereafter “the Notice”) to optimize the special equipment product license replacement procedures, simplify the inspection and testing workflow of special equipment, and extend the validity of the existing certifications and permits for another 3 months until the COVID-19 period is over. Simplify the inspection and testing workflow of special equipment If a company uses special equipment, such as boilers, pressure vessels, pressure pipes, and elevators, it can: - declare the inspection to the inspection and testing agency by telephone; - send relevant paper materials to the inspection agency for review by post; and - make an agreement on inspection time by telephone. The inspection reports and other relevant materials will be sent by the inspection agency for free. If a company cannot carry out inspections on a special equipment regularly or on schedule due to the impact of the epidemic situation, it must submit a written application report to the inspection and testing agency to explain the situation. The inspection can be postponed under the 2 conditions: - confirmation by the main person in charge of the company; and - obtainment the consent of the inspection agency and filing with the registration authority. In addition, the Notice requires companies using special equipment to take effective monitoring and emergency management measures to ensure the safe operation of special equipment. Reasonably maintain the validation of certifications and permits The Notice regulates to extend the validity of the existing certification and permits to 3 months until the COVID-19 period is over. However, the Notice does not provide a full list of applicable certifications and permits. Optimize the special equipment product license replacement procedures If a company produces special equipment such as boilers, pressure vessels, pressure pipes, and elevators, it is encouraged to adopt self-declaration commitments to exempt assessments and renew certificates. If the validity period of the license for special equipment production is less than 6 months, the license can be extended. However, the extension period is not defined in the Notice. If a company cannot apply for the renewal of production licenses for special equipment due to the impact of the epidemic situation, it can apply for renewal after the COVID-19 period. Definition The full list of special equipment can be referred tothe http://www.ehsmonitor.com/legislation/China/2014/08_ProcSafety/30_Oct_14_AQSIQ.doc List of Special Equipment (特种设备目录).

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CHILE

Companies must send weekly reports regarding the status of their operations to the Superintendency of Environment (SMA) during the COVID-19 emergency

Abstract: As of 24 March 2020, companies holding an environmental qualification resolution or subject to an environmental instrument, must send reports to the Superintendency of Environment (SMA) regarding the status of the operational status of their activities and to take all precautions so that projects and activities continue to develop with care for the environment and human health.This follows from Exempt Resolution No.497 of 2020.

Business Impact: If the company holds environmental qualification resolutions, it must submit a weekly report of the operational status of its activities to the Superintendency of Environment (SMA) and to keep its data updated in the SMA systems during the emergency situation crated by the COVID-19. If the company is subjectto an environmental instrument (such as environmental standards or environmental impact studies), it must take all precautions so its projects and activities continue to develop with care for the environment and human health and to keep its data updated in the SMA systems during the emergency situation crated by the COVID-19.

Analysis: On 24 March of 2020, Exempt resolution No. 497 of 2020, that introduces requirements on companies under the supervision of the Superintendency of Environment (SMA) was published. The exempt resolution is addressed to companies holding an environmental qualification resolution or subject to an environmental instrument. According to the resolution, companies holding environmental qualification resolutions (authorizations given by the Environmental Assessment Service-SEA, are administrative documents that are obtained once the evaluation process of an Environmental Impact Study-EIA or Environmental Impact Statement-DIA are completed) must submit a weekly report of the operational status of their activities to the SMA. The reports must contain how the emergency situation created by the COVID-19 could affect their functioning and any plan, action or measure that the company had to implement to maintain its functioning. The reports must be submitted through the Environmental Qualification Resolution System (RCA) of the SMA available at: http://www.sma.gob.cl. In addition, these companies must keep their data updated in the SMA systems, including the description of the project, its operational status and the corresponding contingency and/or emergency plans. The resolution, requests companies that are under an environmental instrument (such as environmental standards or environmental impact studies), to take all precautions so their projects and activities continue to develop with care for the environment and human health during the emergency situation crated by the COVID-19. In addition, the resolution requires these companies to keep their data updated, including their contact details, in the SMA systems. The SMA will sanction companies that do not comply with the above provisions. These requirements will remain in force until the SMA determines so.

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COLOMBIA

Environmental permits and procedures must be conducted online during the COVID-19 sanitary emergency (i.e., until 30 May 2020)

Abstract: Until 30 May 2020, companies must conduct their procedures with the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (for instance, the request of environmental permits, or the presentation of environmental reports) online. This is due to Resolution 0319 of 2020 that establishes online procedures and servicesduring the COVID-19 sanitary emergency, which has been declared until 30 May 2020.

Business Impact: If the company needs to obtain an environmental permit or to submit records or reports to the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, it submits its application, reports or records online at: servicioalciudadano@minambiente.gov.co, until the end of the sanitary emergency (i.e., 30 May 2020). The company must attach a digital copy of the documents required by the environmental regulation, and, in case the original versions are required, it will have to attach them after 30 May 2020. If the company has initiated a procedure before the declaration of the sanitary crisis, the Ministry will decide whether it is possible to continue with the procedure digitally or not.

Analysis: On 1 April 2020, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible) published Resolution 0319 of 2020, which mandates companies to conduct all the procedures with the Ministry (for instance, complaints, request of environmental permits, and report presentations) digitally until 30 May 2020. The COVID-19 sanitary emergency has been declared until 30 May 2020 by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social) through Resolution 385 of 2020, which, among others, cancels massive events, and suspends the international maritime traffic. Additionally, the Colombian government published Decree 457/2020, declaring the complete lockdown of the country from 25 March until 13 April 2020. During the complete lockdown people must stay at home and only essential activities (such as health services and agricultural activities) are allowed. The obligation to conduct procedures digitally follows the declaration of sanitary emergency and, therefore, lasts until 30 May 2020. Main aspects Companies requesting environmental permits must submit the documentation required by the environmental regulation (for instance, impact studies, emission reports, contingency plans) digitally. Once companies have started the procedure and submitted the information, the Ministry will decide whether it is possible to continue the procedure digitally, or not. In this regard, if any of the petitions or requests require necessarily a technical inspection of the facility, the Ministry would postpone the procedure until the end of the sanitary emergency (i.e., until 30 May 2020). For procedures requiring the presentation of the original documents, companies must submit a digital copy of them and attach to the file the original documents once the sanitary emergency has finished. For requests started before the declaration of the sanitary emergency, the Ministry will evaluate the cases in which the technical inspections have already taken place, and continue the procedure digitally. Otherwise, in the cases in which the technical inspections have not taken place yet, the authority can decide to postpone the procedures until the end of the sanitary emergency. Regarding environmental supervision and monitoring, the Ministry will only continue them in a documentary modality, and the authority will not inspect facilities unless there is a serious risk involved. Companies must continue to submit records, reports, and environmental information digitally to the email addresses of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development (servicioalciudadano@minambiente.gov.co). Resolution 0319 of 2020, establishing that procedures with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development must be conducted online is available online in Spanish.

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ALGERIA NATIONAL

Provisions to fight the spread of the coronavirus extended until 19 April 2020

Abstract: Companies must continue the implementation of the enforced measures for the fight against the coronavirus until at least 19 April 2020.

Business Impact: Companies operating in Algeria must continue compliance with the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus until at least 19 April 2020.

Analysis: Executive Decree No. 20-86, issued on 2 April 2020, extends the provisions regarding the prevention measures against the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19). extends the provisions set out in the above-mentioned previous decrees until 19 April 2020. The Decree extends the provisions set out in Executive Decree No. 20-69 on Prevention Measures and the Fight against the Spread of Coronavirus Covid-19 and Executive Decree No. 20-70 specifying Additional Measures for the Prevention and fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) until 19 April 2020. As previously reported, such measures include, for example, providing exceptional paid leave to 50% of employees and obtaining exceptional work permits for the companies allowed to continue their activities. Under the Decree, measures can also be further extended past 19 April 2020. Executive Decree No. 20-86 extending the provisions regarding the prevention measures against the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) is available online in Arabic.

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SWITZERLAND

CANTON AARGAU

Companies should be aware that cantonal authorities could request documents handed in and inspected electronically

Abstract: As of 2 April 2020, companies must adapt to digital rules on submitting public files and inspection of files introduced by the Government Council of Aargau. Moreover, companies should note that statutory time limits in proceedings before administrative authorities in canton Aargau are temporarily suspended.

Business Impact: The Special Ordinance 1 for dealing with public order and security disturbances and social emergencies caused by coronavirus does not establish direct requirements for the company. However, the company should be aware, that if requested by the authority in canton Aargau, it must submit public files both in paper form and electronically. Furthermore, if the authority orders, a digital inspection of files must be conducted and an on-site inspection can only be held in justified cases. Above that, the company should know that statutory time limits in proceedings before administrative authorities are suspended from 2 April 2020 until 20 April 2020.  

Analysis: As laid down in Special Ordinance 1 for dealing with public order and security disturbances and social emergencies caused by coronavirus, statutory time limits (gesetzliche Fristen) in proceedings before administrative authorities are suspended from 2 April 2020 until 20 April 2020. Furthermore, the legislator has also introduced procedural changes in construction and environment related procedures. The competent authority (for example the Department of Construction, Transport and Environment) can require, on a case-by-case basis, that public files (öffentlich aufzulegenden Akten) are submitted both in paper form and electronically. Additionally, the competent authority can also order the digital inspection of files in individual cases and that on-site inspection may only be granted in justified cases after prior consultation. Special Ordinance 1 entered into force on 2 April 2020 and it applies for a period of 6 months. The Government Council will repeal it in whole or in part as soon as the measures are no longer necessary.

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GERMANY

HANSEATIC CITY OF HAMBURG 

Companies have to comply with hygiene rules and minimum distance in their facilities

Abstract: Contact restrictions and restrictions for shops and facilities continue with the new Ordinance to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2. The Ordinance strengthens the obligation to keep a distance from one another in all public places and also the requirement for companies to comply with hygiene rules in their facilities and especially in areas with public access.

Business Impact: Companies with points of sale open for the public should be aware of the requirement to guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between all customers. If the company has facilities with canteens, they should be mindful that the canteen can only remain open if it is necessary for the maintenance of operations and that they have to comply with hygiene rules. Companies should be up-to-date on all regulations and measures in their local community concerning the coronavirus, as they might differ from the state regulations.

Analysis: Since 2 April 2020, the Ordinance to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2, which is based on the Federal Infection Protection Act (IfSG), summarizes all regulations in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg that have been passed to contain the coronavirus. Although this Ordinance is binding for all citizens of Hamburg, the local communities can pass even stricter regulations, which is why it is essential always to be up-to-date about the latest Decrees passed by the local community. The most important aspects of this Ordinance, among others, are:
In all companies and especially those with public traffic, it is crucial to comply with the hygiene regulations and to implement adequate protective measures for employees and visitors;
Points of sale have to guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between all customers at all time;
Citizens have to reduce contact with other people outside of their household to a necessary minimum;
Restaurants have to be closed, whereas canteens of facilities can stay open, if they have no public access and if they are considered essential for the maintenance of operations. If they remain open, they have to comply with all hygiene regulations and guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between all employees.
The Ordinance will be valid until 19 April 2020 with the possibility of an extension. Federal and state governments have agreed to decide on how to proceed after the 19 April 2020 on a meeting after the 14 April 2020, depending on the infection rate numbers.

 

Summary

Keep in mind that the above information is constantly developing and that employers must continue to check local authorities for the most up to date information. If you want more information on our forecaster service, please contact us below.

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